Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gracie the Animal Lover

My daughter loves animals. She always has. They always make her smile and giggle. The other day we were sitting outside and my parents' two cats got into a fight. She thought it was hilarious! I had to hold her back, she wanted to run over to them.

She loves Ellie, our yorkie. She has always loved to watch Ellie run around, she'd just laugh. Now the more mature, more mobile Gracie has begun to chase Ellie. Ellie bolts under the couch or some other out of the way place to hide. Here's Ellie making a quick getaway.

I hate it for poor Ellie, but it is so funny. Not only does she run around after Ellie, she squeals with delight while she does it. She also likes Ellie's things.

I am hoping that the Department of Human Services doesn't show up on my doorstep, but I had to post this. It's happened before and I try to keep the crate shut all the time. However sometimes I slip up and leave it open.

This is Grace in Ellie's crate. I looked up and she had crawled inside. All you could see was her striped butt. Fortunately the camera was on the table
and I was able to capture the moment. Before you are too disgusted, please know that I change Ellie's pillow very frequently.

I have had several people comment about how long her hair has gotten. Isn't that crazy. She was such a little bald baby when I brought her home. Below are a few recent bathtup shots. Look how long her hair is when it's wet. Compare that to the bald baby bathing in the sink in Vietnam.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Big Girl

Doesn't she look like such a big girl in these pictures? Sometimes I look at her and it amazes me how much she has grown and changed. And jeans always make babies look more grown up.

She looks so calm and serene in this picture.

And then the baby of a million faces emerges...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Miss Personality

What is Miss Personality like these days?

I know this looks strange but this is something Gracie CONSTANTLY does. If you are sitting she will straddle your ankle expecting you to take her for a ride on the "horse." In this photo I was sitting on the couch and she just came up and sat on my foot.

This is Grace with her beloved Leapfrog table. Her new thing is to turn it upside down and just sit on it and rock.

Grace's favorite toy is her Winnie the Pooh car. Here it is standing on end after a crash.
At least she found an inventive use for the piece that fell off.
Her most recent injury.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

She Looks Like a Wild One

Like all of us, Grace doesn't look her best in the morning. She kind of looks like a wild little baby. Doesn't she remind you of Mowgli from the Jungle Book? I think it is the hair. However I absolutely adore that wild look. It makes me think of Saturday mornings. That is when we enjoy lazy mornings in our pjs. We have so little time to just hang out, that is why Saturday mornings are so special.

I love this photo. She looks like she is doing the supermodel pose with her cheeks all sucked in.

This is Grace's favorite toy. Aunt Terri gave her this lovely Winnie the Pooh car for her birthday. It features a nice, loud horn and you can push a button and the Pooh song will play. Grace's favorite road trip starts at the sofa and ends at the window looking onto the front yard.

Barrel rolling - Gracie style

Thursday, October 11, 2007

One year ago today...

I first saw Grace's face. That evening ended two excruciating weeks of uncertainty. Seriously those were the worst two weeks during the entire adoption process. You see Grace was initially referred when her friend Lucy was referred to Kelly and Justin. However Grace was turned down. She was turned down because the position of her body looked awkward in the photo.

The entire time I was aware of what was going on. I knew about the referral, questions about health, and the turn down of the referral. Normally this would not be the case, however because of internet groups I was painfully aware of what was going on with the baby. I had so many questions in my head. Would this little girl be referred? Would they classify her as special needs just because someone thought the photo was weird? Will I ever know what is going to happen to her? I couldn't get that little girl off of my mind. I must have driven my friend Susan nuts. Every night I would talk to her about this baby. She kept telling me "God knows where your baby is, if this is her they will refer her to you." I knew that was my baby. What was the hold up? Finally, after two long weeks, I found out what was in store for that little baby girl.

I had been to my parent's house to have dinner with my mother. Daddy had gone out to eat with his friends - male bonding. When I got home that evening I noticed there was a message on my machine. It was from my agency and it said "I'm going to try your cell. I'm looking at her pictures. I have to talk to you." I live next door to my parents, so I had walked down there with no purse or phone. Who doesn't have their phone AT ALL TIMES when they are so close to their referral. Me, that's who.

I immediately checked my email. Sure enough Grace's pictures were in my in box. I couldn't open them, the moment was too big. I needed someone else to witness it with me. I called my mother. She came flying out of her house and was at my door in no time. My mother and I opened up the pictures and saw nothing awkward about the beautiful in these pictures. We saw a beautiful baby girl who had a little bow of a mouth and big, pink cheeks. So kissable! Within 30 minutes my house was full of family. We couldn't take our eyes off of baby Grace.

Here are the pictures I first saw of her.

I was right. That was my baby. That baby is Olivia Grace Thao and I love her more each day. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with a daughter who is funny, stubborn, loving, nosy, and all the things that she is. I am thankful for her birth mother who wanted this little baby to have a better life. I am thankful for the woman who turned down the referral. Here is Grace's original referral photo.

This is a picture of Gracie today. Everyone has these great pictures of their baby with the referral picture. It is such a cute idea. Grace would immediately put it in her mouth. I don't know how you all got them to hold the picture and smile sweetly at the camera.

I love you Grace. Happy referral day!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Visiting Family

Yesterday was a big day. My mother's entire family got together to wish my cousin well. He, his wife, and four children are going into the foreign mission field. It will probably be about two and half years before we see them again.

They had already decided to take their two kids and become missionaries. And SURPRISE, Keri was pregnant with twins (and I don't think Paul had told her that twins run in my family). The boys are now five months old and ready to go. Here are Peyton (on the left) and Pierce with big sister Kati and mom.

They are soooooooooooo cute and have very expressive faces just like their cousin Gracie. They are about the same size and weight that Grace was when I was in Vietnam. I can barely remember her being that little. Look at my big girl, passed out from the excitement.

Kati has three brothers and was excited to play with a little girl.

Nanny holding one of the twins.

Do you think Grace is a little jealous? She looks so sad.

We love you Paul and Keri. We'll be praying for you.