Sunday, February 26, 2012

showering with cookies

Who doesn’t want to be showered with cookies?  Sunday afternoon Ella and I headed to a shower in our honor, a cookie shower!  There were cookies of every kind, perfect for me and my girl! 


As usual, I forgot to take good pictures, but the cookie display was amazing and delicious! 

We were showered with presents for sweet E.  She now has a lots of new pink stuff to call her own!  Sippy cups, spoons/forks, PJ’s, sheets, blankets.  Things a 2 year old girl needs to get through the day!  But best of all, a babydoll stroller!


This is by far her favorite gift!  One her brothers are very jealous of.  And poor Wyatt thought it was for him to ride in.


And our friend Salida made Ella her very own play food.  How cute are the cookies?!  And we are new owners of matching aprons.  We are set to bake real or play food now!DSC00544DSC00545

We had a great afternoon visiting with friends and are so thankful for our church family!

wink and smile

I think this might be Ella’s signature smile.  I’ve seen it pop up a few times.  She grins and is over the top happy and then it happens, one of her eyes winks and she laughs and smiles.  I see a future full of these smiles!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

storytime with Wilson

I recently got our China photobook in the mail. A tiny book of highlights from our trip, mostly meeting Ella.  Ella carried it around and was very proud of her new book.  Of course, Will decided he needed to get his baby book out as well.  And then he insisted on telling Ella his story.  The gist of the story was “look at all the people that came to see me when I came home….”. 

And in hindsight, I wish I had taken more pictures of Ella’s visitors when we first came home.  I don’t think I have any pics of her and her visitors!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

mail call

After sitting on our dining room table for a month Ella’s birth announcements finally went in the mail last week.  Hopefully I haven’t ruined the surprise for too many people.  And for those that I don’t have their addresses… is her official introduction. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

Squares for Ella

Back in 2007 I posted this about making a quilt for Ella and collecting squares. We received a TON of response but now that Ella is finally home, and we have made new friends in the last 5 years, we wanted to send out one last call for help.  (That and we’re short a few squares….)

No pressure to participate, and we won’t tell Ella bad stories about you if you choose not to send a square in!  Here is the info below.  And if you want to mail us a square, email me and I will give you our address.  (

And, in case you are wondering, there is a blog for her quilt. 
E's 100 Good Wishes Quilt.

Here is some info from the letter we mailed out in February 2007:

In parts of China, when a baby is born, family and friends donate fabric pieces for a quilt with a wish for the baby to the child's mother. The quilt is called a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes Quilt.  It is said that the luck, energy and good wishes from all of the families and friends who contributed, surround the child when she is wrapped in the quilt. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation. With your help we would like to honor this tradition from our daughter’s homeland.

There are so many good reasons to make this quilt for our daughter, tradition being one of them. We are hoping to find many ways to keep her connected to Chinese culture. Another great reason is that our daughter will to see how much she was thought about and wanted long before she came into our family.

Here’s what we need:
1. Cut one 9” x 9” square of fabric that you like.
2. On a separate piece of paper/card, put a scrap of fabric and include your “good wish card”. Please also include your name.

Your “good wish card” can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. It can be something you wrote, or a favorite bible verse, poem, lyric, quote, or anything that strikes your fancy. If the fabric you choose has special significance, please share its history. Please remember to sign your wish!

Thank you to everyone who wants to help; this means a lot to Chris & I. I know this may take some extra time and effort and we completely understand if you are not able to participate. Please don’t feel obligated.

Here is a site with lots of 100 wishes quilt pictures if you want to see what we hope to make,

So that is it in a nutshell. If you have any questions please leave us a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them.

We hope to turn this pile of fabric into a quilt soon!IMG_0848

Saturday, February 18, 2012

fat lip

Will has his first fight, play fight that is.  He said he and his friend, J, were “play fighting” at school and then he kicked him in the lip.  I told him it didn’t sound like a play fight but he insisted they were playing.  Then he quickly added that right before getting kicked that he (Will) stuck out his elbow and knocked him to the ground, on purpose.  I guess this is the life of boys.

I didn’t make a big deal out of the fight, not wanting to promote it… he is not posing to show off his lip.  I was taking a picture of Ella and her accessories when he posed with his  eye patch.  I just got lucky with the fat lip.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Ella Wei {age 2.5}

Ella turned 2.5 on the 5th and it’s about time for an Ella update!

We went to the doctor last week and she weighed in at 25.5lbs and 34 inches.  It looks like she has gained 1lb since she’s been home.  She’s wearing mostly 12-18 month pants and 18-24 month tops.  She is wearing 6.5 shoes (and has started quite the shoe collection).

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Ella understands about 60% of what we say to her but she’s not using a ton of English words yet.  She can say: more, Ella, Mama, Daddy (though she normally says BaBa), Mimi, Poppy, Wyatt (Whitey) Bye Bye (in a very interesting southern accent).  She has also learned to say Amen.  She loves to be a part of the dinner prayer, she just grins that she’s included in something.

Her favorite shows are Mickey Mouse, she calls him Mo.  And she attempts to pronounce the others.  And thanks to Will she loves Dora, she calls her Oda or Do-da.  And she sings along to “backpack, backpack”.  And she and Wyatt love Yo Gabba Gabba, which she calls Abbaba.

We are still learning what she likes to eat.  She LOVES mandarin oranges.  And loves bananas and apples too.  She is learning to love yogurt too.  And slowly coming around to milk though I have to add chocolate every once in awhile.  She is not a fan of chicken nuggets or mac and cheese yet.  She does love red meat and occasionally chicken if she’s in the mood.  Still working on breakfast choices so far eggs are the only winners.


She can run, jump, go up and down stairs.  And now she can climb on and off the bed (and chairs).  Her favorite toys are anything the boys are holding.  Especially their monster trucks.  She loves to boss the boys around.  It’s like having a second mother, which isn’t always a good thing.  She is a picker-upper.  Not always a good thing when it involves a dirty diaper.  But otherwise she loves picking things up and putting them where they belong.  And she loves pointing out when the boys don’t do that.  She can scream and yell with the best of them.  And between her and the boys they can all get Gus going.  It can get really loud around here.

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She has a love/hate relationship with dolls.  Some days she really loves them and other days she’s pretty mean to them.  Her file said she loved dolls so maybe she’s bitter that she had to leave her dolls behind.  I think she will slowly come around to them. 

She still loves bath time, and more importantly lotion time.  She could use up an entire bottle of lotion after each bath.  I have to cut her off at some point because it could go on for hours.

When she’s falling asleep she runs her fingers along the edge of the sheets and pillowcases.  She loves feeling the hem.  Trying to figure out how to make her a blanket with nothing but hems. 

She still does not love hair accessories.  She will wear a bobby pin for about 5-10 minutes before wanting it out.  Two different days she let me put a pig tail in.  I’m not sure what we are going to do as her bangs grow out.  If you see me out and about with Cousin It, know that I tried my best to pin it back!  (I really don’t want to keep up with another kids bangs so that is why we are growing it out. The boys hair about does me in.)

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I kept this post all about Ella, at age 2.5.  I will be doing a separate post about how we’re attaching/bonding, as soon as I sort out all those thoughts.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

playing on the playground (an ella first)

Another post with old pictures….(just for my memory keeping)
It took about a week for us to have a day nice enough to head outside and play.  Will was begging to visit his playground and finally we had a chance.  Ella’s first chance in the backyard.  She watched the boys slide once or twice before heading up the ladder herself.  She slowly made it to the top and headed down, clearly she had been down a slide before.
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This is her excited face.
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She quickly flipped over.  Apparently sliding the traditional way is boring.
FIRST slide
She always got to the bottom with a genuine smile on her face.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

officially a citizen!

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Ella’s Certificate of Citizenship arrived this weekend.  All this does is prove that Ella was made a US citizen when we landed in Chicago.  More importantly, we can now apply for her US birth certificate and SSN.  And my most favorite reason an added bonus is that we can now get started on our tax returns, claiming her and the adoption tax credit. 

Though before we do that we have to head down to the SSN office and apply for her SSN.  And go thru the re-adoption process for her new birth certificate.  Adoption paperwork never ends. 


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


We celebrated Valentines “quietly” at home, if quietly is defined as three screaming toddlers.


Ella got her first flowers from her Daddy, purple tulips.

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sweet valentines

I didn’t have time to take pics of my 3 little valentines this year.  So here they are from last year.  They look like such babies!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

say what {Wilson, age 3.5}

“It’s alright Ella, that’s just my baby brother.”
Wyatt did something and this was Will’s comment. We had been home several weeks when he said this.

“Oh, yes, I already mentioned that.” “Mention”, I cannot believe he knows how to use that in a sentence correctly!

“Did you see that box?  It had a picture of a girl and a boy.  One boy.  So this toy is for me and Ella, not Wyatt.”

Me: Will, you are a good dancer. 
Will: Yeah, I’m twirly like spaghetti.

“I don’t want to sleep because my toenails will grow.”
No clue about this one, but he says it ALL the time.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thursday, February 09, 2012

one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish

After staying in for over a month I finally got brave and ventured out on my own, with all THREE.  I went to the park, successfully, a few weeks ago so I figured it was time for bigger things.  Monday morning I woke up and got everyone ready to go.  My plan was that if everyone was loaded in the car by 9:30 then we’d head to the aquarium and finally use our annual passes.  If we were running late we’d just head to the store.  It was our lucky day and we were ready to see the fish at exactly 10:00 (which I’m kinda bummed they don’t open earlier…..).  We only had 2 hours before we needed to be back home.  We did the quick visit, only hitting Will’s favorites, and we were finished after 90 minutes!  Will just runs from tank to tank and the rest of us just followed. 

I’ve switched back to our sit and stand stroller and everyone just piled on.  Much better than our side by side stroll.

The best part about getting there when they open is that we had the whole tank to ourselves.  We all watched the giant sea turtle swim by over and over.

The other benefit of early arrival is that the Otters are awake and active.  I think this was the first time Will had seen them before.  Ella didn’t act overly excited about them.

Everyone wanted to know how Ella reacted to all the fish, and well, she didn’t have much of a reaction.  She pointed at them all but I think she was just copying Will & Wyatt.  I wonder if she just thought she was watching a giant TV.  We got up close with the penguins and she seemed pretty unimpressed too.  At the very end we went to see the stingrays and she got very excited when one kept swimming up to her/by her and flipping his wings.  She giggled and giggled. 

This was Wyatt’s first real visit too.  The last time we went he was just 3-4 months old.  But he didn’t act overly excited either.  But he was mostly stuck in the stroller, because I know my limits.  Chasing after TWO toddlers who barely understand English is not something I’m up for yet. 


Daddy’s home

about 4:45 every day I start hearing yells saying “Daddy’s home” or “Baba’s home” and then a stampede to the kitchen waiting for the door to open.  Gus usually joins them in the wait.
Wy and E start fighting for holding time.  And some days they have to share.
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And weekends are spent with loads of laptime! 
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These 3 LOVE their Daddy!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

you are taking a 3 year old? to china?

For those of you who wondered why in the world we drug a 3.5 year old around the globe to meet his new sister, this is why……


Our main reason for taking Will to China was so that he would feel more connected to Ella.  Will is very friendly, occasionally affectionate and definitely moody.  We knew that if we left him at home for 2.5 weeks he would resent Ella for taking us away from him for so long.  (He’s still mad that we left him for 4 days to have Wyatt at the hospital….) But we knew if he went with us he would welcome her with open arms.  And he has.  He is SO concerned about her.  If she cries he (usually) wants to know why.  If we are not around to comfort her, he will do it.  Sunday Chris stepped outside and Ella sat in the window crying, waiting for him to come back.  Will hugged her and told her it would be okay, Daddy would come right back.  And he stayed with her till Chris came in.

That moment, to me, made those first few days in Beijing totally worth it.  To know he accepts her, loves her and is able to comfort her totally wipes out any pain or struggle we had to deal with on our trip.

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