Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Caitlin and I are spending the holidays in Georgia since Paul is deployed. We are having a wonderful time visiting with our family and friends! Here are some pictures from our Christmas celebrations:

Picture with Santa:

First ballet: the Nutcracker!

Christmas Eve:

Christmas Day:

We wish you all a very merry and blessed Christmas!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Re-adoption Day

Today marks another milestone for us: an official end to four years of paperwork! We had our court appointment to complete Caitlin's re-adoption this afternoon. This was not necessary, but it will give Caitlin an American (California) birth certificate. We felt that was very important for Caitlin and will make life easier for her. This way she won't have to produce a mound of Chinese paperwork and translations, and answer a swarm of questions about why sometimes her Chinese name is written "Jiang Xin Er," and sometimes it's written "Xin Er Jiang" (in China they put the last name first), or sometimes her first and middle name are combined into "Xiner" (things get lost/confused in the translation), every time she applies to a school, or for a passport, or for a drivers license, etc.

So after filling out one last mound of paperwork the past couple of weeks, this afternoon we went to the court to have the judge sign off on our paperwork. I had heard that the visit with the judge was rather anti-climatic, and it was, but it was still pretty neat and very special to us! We were only in court for about 5 minutes; the judge asked us a couple of questions, then we all signed a paper, then everyone clapped, and it was done.

Then the judge asked if we wanted a picture. We stood with her behind the bench, and she asked if I'd like to sit in her chair! Caitlin and I felt very important sitting in such a special seat! We took a few pictures, then it was over.

Yay! No more paperwork!!!

Afterwards we tried out a new Italian restaurant to celebrate.
Caitlin loved her pasta bolognese!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Here are some pictures from Caitlin's first "official" trick-or-treating experience:

Dressed for school:

Trick-or-treating at the mall this afternoon:

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Year a Family!!!


What a difference a year makes! I can't believe an entire year has already gone by since that amazing day when a terrified, confused little girl was first placed in my arms and I became a Mama. How far we've come! Caitlin has grown and changed so much since that day- both inside and out. This year has been both a blessing and a challenge, and I am so thankful for every day of it!

Caitlin has grown 4 inches and gained 6 pounds since we met her. Eating continues to be one of her favorite pastimes, and although she has grown more picky in the things she will eat, she still eats a remarkably healthy diet. Her favorite food (the food that she will usually request, at any time of the day- even for breakfast!) is still chicken soup, but other favorites include squash, brussels sprouts, spinach, yogurt, and pineapple.

She talks non-stop, from the time she wakes up until she goes to sleep- and even sometimes in her sleep! Speech therapy is going very well and she is even trying to put mini-sentences together on her own now. And she is trying to sing more and more; her favorite songs are "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and the "ABCs," but she has also been trying lately to sing along with our favorite CDs in the car and her favorite songs at church.

Caitlin knows all her colors (even silver and gold) and shapes (even octagon- or "apple-gone," as Caitlin calls it!), can count to 12, recognises all the letters, and knows about as many animals as I know- even random ones like "meerkat" and "anemone". Caitlin loves animals so we make frequent trips to the zoo and aquarium! Her doctors, speech therapist, and even strangers we meet out and about are constantly remarking to me about how smart she is. She is extremely observant, and amazes me with the things she picks up.

She is also quite a "girly-girl!" She loves all things pretty, including dresses, flowers, jewelry, bows, etc. She asks for me to braid her hair almost every morning now, and is not satisfied until I put the finishing touch in- the bow. Once her outfit is complete, she will stand in front of the mirror and admire herself- she's not at all modest in her self-confidence!

Caitlin and I celebrated our "Family-versary" today with a trip up to the Wild Animal Park. Paul is out of town, but we will celebrate again with him this weekend. Here are a few pictures from our day:

Here are some more pictures from the past month:
Trip to the park:

After church one Sunday:

Aquarium trip:

Stopping to smell the roses:

Playing dress-up in her ladybug costume:

Little artist (playing at the mall):

Trip to the International Museum, posing with the lucky cats:

Driving Bert and Ernie:

At the Air and Space Museum:

(Sitting in the Captain's chair of a mock aircraft carrier):

Walking along the beach:

Having fun at the Science Museum:

Getting a haircut:

Playing at the Children's Hospital after an appointment:

Trip to the pumpkin patch: