Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Family Day!!!!!!

This is Grace on January 1, 2007. We were still in Danang anxiously waiting to head to Ho Chi Minh City.

Friday was our one year anniversary. It's only been a year, however I really can't remember my life before Grace. It feels like we have always been together. Our celebration was small - just the two of us. We have so little time together so it was very special to celebrate together - just the two of us. We did see Nanny and Pappy for a few minutes in the morning. And what Family Day would be complete without a visit from Aunt Terri who was along for the entire journey. Here's Aunt Terri feeding Grace dinner and helping her perfect her wink. It looks alot like the Elvis face when she winks.

Our G&R was on December 28. The nannies and orphanage director brought the babies to the government building where the ceremony was to take place.

We walked in and there they were dressed in their thick sweaters. It was about 85 degrees outside! The orphanage director was holding Grace. He immediately put her in my arms.

We all went to the room where the G&R would take place. While we were waiting for things to get started. The nannies were having their last moments with the babies. They would come and take them off to another room for a feeding or maybe just some cuddle time. It was so hard for them.

I couldn't believe that it was such a short and simple ceremony. I signed a big book then they asked me you to come up front where they asked me a few general questions about how I will love and care for her. Then they handed me Grace and some papers.

That is the moment we became a family. One year ago.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas! Grace had so much fun with paper and boxes. She got tons of stuff from friends and family. I wondered how she would react to her gifts from Santa on Christmas morning. They were unwrapped, under the tree in the living room. She noticed them immediately, threw down her cup of milk and went from one thing to another. I will post Christmas pictures ASAP. I left my camera at my parent's house today.

I feel so blessed this year, celebrating Christmas at home with Grace. We will soon be celebrating our first anniversary as a family. December 28 is our "Family Day," the day when Grace officially became my daughter. My thoughts are consumed by meeting Grace, Vietnam, and the friends with us on the journey.

At almost this exact time last year I was meeting my daughter for the first time. Our visit to the orphanage was originally supposed to be in the morning, but was pushed back until after lunch. We visited the Hoi An orphanage (where we got to see Debbie meet baby Lily) as planned that morning so we had time to kill until we could go to the Que Son orphanage to meet Grace, Lucy and Khai. I really don't remember much about what we did during that time, I just remember checking my watch constantly. It seemed like 1:00 p.m. would never arrive.

When we finally got to the orphanage Kelly and Terri began shouting "there's Grace, there's Grace." Even though I know it was only a second, it felt like it took me forever to locate her with my own eyes. Suddenly there she was, one of the nannies was on the porch holding her. I immediately flung my camera to Terri and took off. It was like seeing a superstar whose picture was plastered all over my house. It was very surreal. This was the first time I saw her, she took my breath away.

I am so fortunate to have friends like Kelly and Justin. They are wonderful people and we all feel it is important for our girls to always stay in touch. We have been able to get together a couple of times this year and I hope that we can do it again very, very soon. I am dying to see Lucy. I am so thankful that I heard from the other two families during the holidays. I am going to do my best to keep track of these families. I want to see how all the babies grow and change. Here are the mommies and their angels in Hanoi.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grace is Seventeen Months Old

Today Grace is seventeen months old. She is not a baby anymore, she is a little girl. She looks so grown up to me. Last night I was looking at baby pictures. She was such a little chubby thing with big cheeks and no hair. It is funny looking at pictures of her at different ages. I can still see that little baby’s face lurking in the picture, no matter what age she is…just more and more beautiful each day. Grace is such a little individual. She has her own personality and is not afraid to show it. Some things about my little girl:

• She is 33 inches tall, weighs 22 pounds and has 8 teeth.
• Bubba is her word for “play this.” My mother has this doll named Bubba that talks when you squeeze his hand. Therefore any toy that sings, talks, etc. she will bring it to you and say Bubba. That means she wants you to play it.
• Duck is her favorite word. Go figure. I think it must have to do with her love for bathtime and the stuffed duck she carries around.
• She knows how to work the system. She uses the fake cough, fake injuries and fake tears. She takes it all in stride when we call her on it. She will just continue on about her business.
• She had her first haircut on Friday. It looks SO much better. I was so proud of her, she sat on the booster thing they put in the chair just like a big girl.
• I am blessed with an extraordinarily good girl. She sleeps well. After we got home it only took two weeks until she was sleeping through the night. Grace is a happy morning baby. She has always been a good eater. The only thing she won’t eat is Jello. She only cries if she is hurt, sick or faking it.
• Grace gives strangers “the stare.” She will let anyone hold her, but if she doesn’t know them she will stare them down with a solemn face. I get so tired of people saying -“she is such a solemn baby, doesn’t she ever smile?” Grace’s smiles, giggles and belly laughs are reserved for people she knows and things that crack her up. However I truly do hate it that she won’t smile for pictures. She has to be amused by something. Saying cheese and squeaking a toy doesn’t do it with her.
• She melts my heart when she blows me a kiss. It also cracks me up because she not only blows a kiss, but she has to pucker her mouth up like a fish to do it. It is so sweet.
• I think she wants to be a dog like Ellie. If I am not careful she will eat Ellie’s food or crawl into her kennel. I have a hard time keeping her from getting on her hands and knees in the tub and drinking her bath water. It is so disgusting I know. When Ellie growls ferociously out the window at some random dog, Grace does it too.

I could go on and on. I am truly blessed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Break in Routine

My morning routine usually begins the same. Normally when I hear Grace beginning to stir I get out of bed and put on the coffee, let the dog out, fix her milk and fix my cup of coffee. Then I go to her room to get her out of bed and change her diaper. Yesterday my morning was like usual until I got to Grace's room. I opened the door and there she was standing in her crib jumping and talking. When I saw her I died laughing. One of her arms was completely out of her pajama top and she was so happy and smiling. I broke routine and grabbed the camera. Isn't she precious?

Here is Grace in an adorable outfit her Nanny bought for her.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My Little Vietnamese Jumper

Grace loves to jump. She has since the first day I met her. I called my parents from Vietnam and told them to go buy a Jumperoo so she would have it when we got home. Unless you have witnessed it in person there is no way you can imagine what a jumping wild woman she is.

Because of her love for jumping, I thought she might enjoy gymnastics. I found a gym with a toddler class and we tried it out on Saturday. It was very informal and we just sort of played around on things for a while. She loved the spring floor. Her favorite part of the day was playing on the big mats. Her favorite was the huge triangle mat that you could slide down. Here she is sliding down on her tummy.

She jumped on the trampoline and in the big jumper. The big jumper's net sides amazed her. She thought it was so cool that she could lean on them and they would move with her and still keep her from falling.

The big foam cubes were awesome! There was an area filled with spongy, foam cubes that were great! She had a great time playing with them. She was amazed that everything had this bouncy kind of surface.

The day was just as much fun for me as it was for Grace. By the way, I thought the spring floor was way cool too. Maybe next time I will try the uneven bars. Maybe not. I shouldn't get too carried away.