Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Love You

  • Abbey is so incredibly happy and joyful. She has 3 settings: happy, happier, and happiest. Her true north is Happy, and if something temporarily knocks her off, she quickly springs back to her joyful self. I remember all the walks I took up and down a big hill in my neighborhood as I was waiting for her. I would walk and pray for her and I always had the sense of a bubbling little spring coming up out of the ground bringing refreshment and new life. I just knew that's who she was, and it is perfectly true.
  • I love her pearly white little baby teeth. They are adorable.
  • I am fascinated with the way she folds paper up into these perfect little triangles. Where did that come from? And the way she sections off paper with a cross or an x and then makes little marks in each quadrant, like the letter a or circles. It's just fun seeing how she thinks and creates.
  • Hearing her singing, talking, laughing, and giggling in the shower brings me joy.
  • She has a funny way of reworking certain words. She has choir on Friday afternoons, but she always calls it "chord". We have some imaginary animals that live in our bathroom, Patches, the donkey, and Snowball, the horse. She always calls Patches "Patron". She loves to paint pictures for both of them while I am in the shower and hang them up in their stalls, which is either side of the sink. She brings them vitamin water, carrots, and M & M's. And they love her because she is so nice to them. They've never been out of the house before but the other day Snowball was crying because he wanted to go to her birthday party, so we decided that could be his first outing. Today Abbey used the term"woffers" while describing something. It took me a minute to realize she meant "whoppers" which is the word I used yesterday when we were blowing big bubbles. Now that I'm not worried about her speech anymore it's fun to just enjoy the little bits and pieces that are unconventional.
  • She is such a global girl. She is always talking about flying here and there, taking trains, and needing her passport. At first it was around here to Shanghai and Beijing and Hong Kong, but then it branched out to Japan. She kept asking me all the time to explain Japan and what it means if something is Japanese. Then she got zeroed in on Africa and talks about going there all the time. Just as this all came to a peak we had a week long unit at school on other cultures and now she's interested in England, Holland, Australia, France, and Germany. It's a delightful watching her synthesize all this. She definitely has a global mindset. Now she's telling me that she really likes Italy...that's my girl. I spent the two summers there before I got her there and would love to take her back with me.
  • She has such a cute little body. I just look at her in awe and think, that's the way bodies were meant to look.
  • I love the way she loves the stories we read from our most important Book. She has so many questions and loves to act it all out. Everynight we both have to take turns being asleep in the boat in a storm and then being woken up and standing up to say, "Peace, be still!" But she always makes it funny by changing it a little and saying something like, "Peace, hold still!" to the waves. She just loves to go over the stories again and again.
  • I love the way she treasures people that are important to her in her heart.
  • Abbey so readily forgives me when I fall short. Sometimes when things go wrong I say that I am sorry and it was my fault and she always tries to say, no, it was her fault.
  • I LOVE the arch in her eyebrows. The first moment I saw it in my referral pictures I fell in love with it. I have my own baby picture with that same arched brow.
  • Abbey's teachers always talk about how enthusiastic and eager to participate she is. She's been nick-named the Cruise Ship Director (always wanting to make sure that everyone is engaged and having fun), the CEO (thrilled if she gets to issue the marching orders), and the Factory Manager (mobilizing and organizing workers). She is a mover and a shaker and always happens to be front and center, ready to be the first one up to bat.
  • Abbey tells me over and over how much she loves me, how happy she is we are "hooked together", how much she wanted me and was crying for me before I came to China, and how I am her Sugar Pie and the best, best mom in the world. Oh, it is so sweet.
  • Her enthusiasm for learning is contagious. She is just so pumped up to learn anything and everything and is so full of questions. Oh, the questions! I find myself saying more and more, "We'll have to look on the computer and find out."
  • Abbey is no shrinking violet. Although she hasn't needed to follow through yet, I've seen a few times when someone did something wrong to her and she looked capable of punching their lights out. Woe to the person that messes with her. I have to say that somehow I feel good knowing she isn't passive. I have no doubts that she will stand up for herself if needed.
  • I remember being sad when Abbey turned three, I was sure it couldn't be better than two. Well three was so wonderful that I now feel excited that she is turning four. Just when it seems like it can't be any better, it is. I had such dreams of being a mom and having a daughter, but they all pale in comparison to the brilliant reality. I thought my expectations would be too high, but they didn't even scratch the surface of the joy she has brought me. Everyday I feel that I am the happiest and most blessed person in the world. She is the best gift ever.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Fun

We dyed a lot of eggs which were brought home in my backpack across town through the metro and then transported back across town on Sunday. You just don't realize how easy you have it when you can simply drive to a store in the US and pick up recognizable groceries any time you want.

Tons of goodies from Super Mommy. I just loved Abbey's excitement to wake up to these items that we could have never obtained here. Thank you!!
Abbey loves bunnies as I always have. She said these shoes were making her hop around.

She wore the bridal veil headband all day and told me once again that she is going to marry her Laolie.

We had a packed house at our meeting Sunday and I must say the greatest blessing was to walk up to the doors only to be greeted by Ian passing out the programs. He's our Starbucks guy whose life has been transformed in the past few months. Someday I will tell you his awesome story.
Afterwards we had a HUGE potluck with a few hundred people from all over the globe. It was just massive amounts of food, my favorite part being delivered by the Papa John's bikes. It is amazing to me that we have found such a wonderful gathering of family in a place where this holiday is completely unknown. Just like our Christmas experiences, I expected this could be a difficult time for us and instead it was perfect.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


We have the joy, joy, joy over here in Shenzhen and are gearing up to celebrate with those like minded around the world tomorrow. So happy that we had the opportunity to share the true story of Easter with the children and parents here, most of whom have never heard it. I just read it again myself as Abbey is taking her nap and am so moved to the depths by all that He has done for us. Amazing love!
We crossed another invisible barrier today and managed to take the bus and metro to find plastic eggs of all things! I heard from a friend that they were in a store across town and so we made the journey this morning. I have relied a lot on taxi's and rides from friends since we've been here . I've had no problem using the MTR but I thought the buses would be hard for us. After my friend Christy came to visit she explained things to me and it was so easy I can't believe we didn't try this from the beginning. Hooray for an easy way to get to where we want to go. Anyway, we ventured to a mall we've never been to before called Coco Park and found the Jusco store with the plastic eggs. I was hoping for a big Easter table display, but what we found was just a small shelf with a few bags of eggs, but we were thrilled to get them. Abbey also managed to find a bridal headband/veil that she loved. We stuffed alot of eggs and vinegar into my backpack as well. We stopped for some noodles and were able to "share the important message" with an older man who was eating next to us. I had to draw pictures and use hand motions but I think he got it and was happy.
We've had a busy week, in a very good way. One highlight was a special care package that came from one of our blog friends. She sent lots of wonderful princess things that I am saving for Abbey's birthday, coloring books (which we can't find here), and lots of Easter candy and goodies that I can give to Abbey tomorrow. I had once again been feeling a little sad that I couldn't do the fun holiday things we would do in the US when this gift arrived. My heart just soared knowing that He is so good to bless us in this way. When someone does something for your child it just means the world to you, more than anything anyone could do for me personally. And the holidays are a time when you can really feel how far away from home you are. So a big cyber hug to Super Mommy and all of you that have done such kind things for us.

We had a high tea birthday party for our dear Heidi in my friend's rooftop garden.
Hostess and guest of honor.

The view. I don't think I've mentioned the Eiffel Tower behind our apartments. Don't ask why, it's China. (same reason I don't ask why there was a naked man that came out and blocked our car on the freeway in the pouring rain last week)

The gifts, which were all great!

Incredible chocolate chunk scones. This is quite a feat to pull off here - trying to find the ingredients, using a toaster oven, etc., but Heidi managed to do it so I may try too. They were awesome!
Heidi's grandma's picture with her tea cup collection. She went to heaven in December but she was with us in spirit. There was also a great group of women that came, I just didn't get pictures of them.
The birthday girl. What an incredible gift she is to all of us who know her, especially the very fortunate children at Bao An orphanage!

Abbey also got to go to a pary for her friend Yaya. Birthday parties are rare here so this was a big deal. It was at Fundoland which was jam packed on a Saturday. The kids had so much fun eating New York Pizza.

Our school celebrates all the birthdays for that month on the first Thursday so Abbey got to have a little pre-celebration for her birthday which is coming up on April 20. Olivia brought her a princess back pack and she got to wear her princess dress (aka nightgown) to school. She asked for a special dispensation to wear the "make-up" that our friend Kelly sent to her, and I granted it. This involved sparkle lip gloss and glitter gel on her eyelids.
On our way to get the cake we took a peek at Windows of the World, where we will be having a field trip this month.
We went to a special bakery to get a Hello Kitty cake we had seen months before. We didn't want the typical fruit topped cake with cherry tomatos. Abbey has picked up the line, "I will NEVER, EVER eat a tomato!" from her beloved Charlie and Lola dvd's.

She was thrilled to have everyone sing Happy Birthday and blow out the candles. That evening she kept telling me, "Mom, I was not shy!"
Here with adorable Allie and sweet Mabel, her classmates.

On Saturday we went to Starbucks and filled out invitations to Abbey's little princess party which will be coming up soon. We managed to bring a few items like this back from the US when we were home for Chinese New Year. It's very hard to find birthday party things here.
She is talking about her party every day and saying she cannot wait until it's her birthday. So much fun. Later that day she filled all the goodie bags to hand out to her friends and just loved getting everything ready.

Blessings to all of our friends on this very special weekend!