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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Drinkwaters!

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! As you can imagine, Christmas this year was extra special with Sylvie. We began the festivities the weekend before Christmas with Joyanne's family. It was a busy weekend with three younger grandkids running around the house. Sylvie loves playing with her cousins. A short video of Sylvie on what Santa says...

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Hangin' out with my Daddy in Oliver


Why do you keep making me stop opening my presents for pictures Mama?


I learned how to lock the patio door. I even locked Grandpa Cliff outside, hehe!


We then celebrated Christmas Eve with Cory's relatives in Kelowna. We had a wonderful afternoon visiting, snacking and playing before opening our stockings.

Our own Christmas reindeer stopped by for a visit and snack. I guess they couldn't wait for the carrots we put out with Santa's cookies. Sheesh...


My Aunty Kelti likes to play with me!


Attack of the killer tiger by Aunty Kelti!


Again, again Aunty Kelti!


I love this tigger!


I've got my Grandpa Roy wrapped around my finger ;)


I even got him to help me jump on the furniture! Shhhh...don't tell Mama!


Sitting with my Grandma Marjie


Opening stockings on Christmas Eve


Help me open this one Daddy


I have to try my new presents out right away. Look at my new bib and Hello Kitty toothbrush


And just think, last year we were just a family of two. Now...


Merry Christmas!

Seven Super Months!

Merry Christmas everyone!



While the 25th maybe Christmas day, it is also seven months as a family.

Last night as we driving home from Cory's aunt's house after dinner and stockings (see sleepy Sylvie in the above photo), we told Sylvie that the best Christmas gift she could give us would be to sleep in until 7:15 this morning.

Alas, we should have been a little more specific and asked for a later sleep in AND no waking up in the middle of the night...sigh! However, she then slept in until 8:30 - yey! This is very unusual, even if Sylvie stays up later than normal, she is still up first thing in the morning. That makes her parents reconsider staying up too late themselves, otherwise it is a very slow morning until nap time.

We really can't complain however, Sylvie has been (knock on wood) a very, very good sleeper. She hardly ever wakes up during the night, usually goes down quickly at night at 7:00 pm, and sleeps until just before 7:00 am. She is still napping each day, usually around 1:00 for two to two and a half hours. We are hoping this sleeping pattern/routine continues well into the new year :)

When we look back over the last months, we are amazed at how far Sylvie (and us parents) have come. Things Sylvie is doing/loving this month are:

* Eating applesauce with a spoon on her own - yes it is a little messy! (She has already mastered the fork)


*Eating Mandarin oranges! Yey a new fruit has finally been added!


*Look what Daddy taught me to do with the orange slice Mama! Thanks Daddy...sigh...


* Climbing up Daddy's legs and flipping over


*Sylvie finally has a lovey, her teddy bear named coincidentally "Mr. Bear". She takes him around the house for rides in her stroller, gives him gentle touches and lots of hugs and kisses. If Cory and I forget to place him in her arms as we tuck her in at night, when leave her room and check on her from the video baby monitor, we see her sit up and grab Mr. Bear, and lie back down to cuddle with him.



*Making faces...Sylvie loves scrunching up her face and having you copy or giggle at her


*Drinking a banana milk smoothie out of a straw for her afternoon snack

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in China

Some friends and family have asked about Christmas in China, and if (or how) it is celebrated. I found this article online, written by an adotpive mother. Enjoy!

Christmas in China
Feature — By TongguMomma

In 2005, while the husband and I sat in a darkened theater waiting for an acrobat show to start, we couldn’t help but grin as we listened to Christmas carols being piped over the loud speakers. Nor could we help chuckling at the often life-sized Santa posters bedecked with glitter and lights peeking from many storefronts in the old hutong area of Beijing. And we did a triple take when we saw a waitress walk past us wearing a Santa hat.

In late February. In China.

Those memories led me to later investigate the question: “do the Chinese celebrate Christmas in China?” Well, the answer to that is yes and no. A growing number of Chinese, especially young urbanites, celebrate some version of Christmas in China, but the central part of the holiday – the religious celebration of Christ’s birth – is not typically acknowledged nor even known because less than 5% of the 1.3 billion people living in China identify as Christian.

The minority Christian population in China do strive to celebrate Christmas in much the same way that Christians in the Western world celebrate the holiday, but they often face religious persecution. For example, last year, nine women in China’s eastern Henan Province were arrested on Christmas Eve for participating in a nativity play on a public street. Candlelight worships services occur only in church buildings considered “safe,” but Chinese Christians often gather together in small groups in homes to celebrate Christmas Eve together. Typically each attendee receives a special gift bag containing candy (to remind them of the sweetness of God’s gift of Jesus), peanuts (to symbolize the eternal life one receives through Christ) and fruit ( a reminder of the fruits of the Holy Spirit).

For the majority of Chinese, Christmas is a non-religious time of gift-giving, decorations and family gatherings. Chinese businesses definitely contribute to the fast-growing popularity of this very Western holiday: the commercial aspect is quite evident in most large Chinese cities, especially Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. What began in Beijing 25 years ago as a friendly gesture or business ploy to the many 老外, lao wai (foreigners), living in the city is now a common retail marketing scheme aimed at everyone, lao wei and Chinese alike. Advertising campaigns stress the holiday custom of gift-giving, storefront Santas often pass out candies and restaurant waitresses don Santa hats.

Urban Chinese also often adorn their houses with Christmas decorations, most especially lights, lanterns and artificial Christmas trees called “trees of light,” which they decorate with paper chains, paper lanterns and paper flowers. As during Chinese New Year, they will display bowls of oranges and tangerines, symbolizing prosperity and good fortune. Children hang up muslin stockings in the hopes that 圣诞老人, Sheng Dan Lao Ren (Christmas Old Man in Mandarin, referencing Santa Claus), will pay them a visit. On Christmas morning, the children typically receive new clothes and a few toys from their parents, alongside the small gifts that Sheng Dan Lao Ren left in their stockings.

Although most areas of China do not celebrate Christmas as a legal holiday, families often gather together for small celebrations at or around December 25. Some will gather together for caroling parties, although most will not understand the nativity story described in the songs. Large international hotels will host Christmas Eve and Day buffets serving traditional Western favorites such as turkey and stuffing, although most Chinese families will serve food more reminiscent of a traditional Chinese New Year feast. Ta Chiu, a Taoist festival, takes place on December 27th, so many gather together to celebrate that holiday, especially in Hong Kong.

For those families with children adopted from China, it’s fun to incorporate a few Chinese customs into the Christmas holiday. Consider decorating with lanterns as well as lights. Hang paper chains on your Christmas tree. Place a large bowl of oranges and tangerines on your dining room table. Include peanuts and fruits as well as candy in your treat dishes and Christmas stockings. Also be sure to check out Norad’s Santa Tracker, which typically follows Santa as he flies along the Great Wall of China.

And remember to greet others with 欢乐圣诞, Huan Le Sheng Dan (Merry Christmas)!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa Visit...Take One and Take Two




Santa Visit Take One:
Last week, while picking up some presents at the mall, I decided to take Sylvie to go meet Santa. We had practiced all week what we say to Santa "Ho,Ho,Ho". Since is was early in the morning, there was no line up - so I figured we would not have to rush the visit and have a positive experience.

In the ten minutes before Santa arrived Sylvie was waving to the various store clerks and trying to climb through the fence into the miniature North Pole to pet the penguins and reindeer. Once Santa arrived however, it did not go so well. I tried to put Sylvie on the floor in front of Santa (a better plan than sitting her on his knee - or so I thought) but she was having none of that. Much crying ensued, and thus no picture.

Santa Visit Take Two:

Let's try this again Mama...


Today, Cory's Fire hall and their wives put on a kid's Christmas party every year for all the kids of the fire fighters. Santa is the guest of honor and makes an appearance to hand out toys for the kids. We weren't sure how Sylvie would do with Santa's arrival, but she was great.

I think having all the other kids around getting excited and going up to see him was good modelling for her. I took Sylvie up and knelt down in front of Santa with her. She was doing so well with the Jolly Old Guy, that she even gave him a smile and a high five.



Here are a few other pictures from the day...

Hey Daddy... Look - there's Santa!


Kisses for Mama


Group Picture with all the kids and Santa


Cool Present - A kitchen set

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How we know it's Christmas...




For the past few years (about eight) we have celebrated the arrival of the Christmas season with our good friends and their two children. We go to a local church and watch their usually outstanding production of the Nativity Story. In addition to the play, they also have an outdoor mini Bethlehem with animals, soldiers, and shop keepers. It has now become a tradition to go together at the beginning of December, and this usually signifies the start of the Christmas season for us.

We started doing this together before both of their boys were born, and now the oldest is in school and the youngest will be next year. We have always enjoyed going together, and even more so once their boys came along and we could see their excitement over seeing the animals and eating the homemade cookies.

Our Friends and their sons


Now this year, we were finally able to bring our daughter to experience the wonderment of mini Bethlehem, to pet the sheep and cluck at the hens. She did awesome during the play, enjoyed clapping at the end of the different scenes and kept pointing at baby Jesus on stage and repeating "Baby...Shhhhh....".

Sylvie and Daddy waiting outside (it was - 10)


Sylvie and Mama (with cold, pink noses)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jammies From Grammie (a la the three bears...)



Sylvie's Grandma Shirley is a whiz with the needle and thread... So Pyjamas were in store for the first few "Sewing Projects." Now as you can imagine "guessing" the actual size of our munchkin has been a bit of a moving target with trying to find (Let alone sew) clothes has been a bit of a challenge. That's where the three bears come in by the way... :)

The first ones were too big... Easy enough, she will definitely get into them sometime... (Probably faster than we would like given how much she has grown already)

The next ones were too small... (Not really, but she has a big cabbage so they were a little snug going over the noggin)

The last pair are just right... (With that planetoid that she has on her shoulders the "neck adjustments" were taken well into account)



I know that it is quite a science, but when on one hand she has clothes that are 6-12months that are HANGING off her, and at the same time she is bursting at the seams on some 18 month outfits... So there is no harm in a few pairs of comfy pajamas that are pretty close all around... :) (I am not really sure who makes up the sizes, but me thinks that we should be a little more uhh "standard" across the board...)


Cory & Joyanne and Goldilocks
-- It's like an orange on a toothpick...

Thanks Grandma Shirley...kiss from Sylvie for you!



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Our New Canadian Citizen!

We have finally received Sylvie's citizenship card in the mail last week. Cory has spent considerable time on the phone, Internet and in person to ensure this procedure was completed correctly.

Sylvie entered Canada as a Permanent Resident, but now has finally received her Citizenship. We were happy to see that the card arrived with her name spelt correctly and all information accurate. Only took five months! Our next step will be to apply for her passport, hopefully she is able to take a better picture for that one!

The part we liked best on the letter for Citizenship and Immigration Canada was welcoming Sylvie to her new Canadian family:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Six Spectacular Months

Here are a few pictures of Sylvie taken during the last month. Our baby is growing up so fast!

Playing around...


Getting my first hair cut at Beaners. My bangs were too long!


Riding the hippo after my hair cut. This place is pretty cool!


My new fire fighter hat!


Sylvie loves going to gymnastics with her Daddy, but this is what happens on the drive home!


I love doing somersaults!
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Present from Manitoba!

The other day a package arrived for Sylvie on the greyhound. It was a present from Grandpa Irwin and Great Auntie Kay. Grandpa Irwin made Sylvie a little bed for her stuffies (he's a great wood worker). Great Auntie Kay made little sheets, a quilt, pillow, and mini crocheted blanket for the bunny also found in the package (she's a good sewer). As you can see, Sylvie loved the bed, bunny and bedding! Thanks so much Grandpa and Great Auntie!

Bed and bedding made with love...


Loving my bunny stuffie


Wait a second, that bed looks comfy...


Ahhh....that's better!




What else can I do with this bed??? Hmmmm....



What? Beds aren't for standing on?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Post Placement Report - Check!

On Halloween morning we had our Social Worker come over for our first post placement meeting. China requires that two reports are completed after arriving home from China, one at six months and the following at twelve months. In order for the documents to be translated and sent to China for the six month date, our meeting actually took place a little over five months home. Our meeting went very well, although I have to admit I am always nervous leading up to these meetings.

We stated off by talking about Sylvie's physical development, she has grown 8 cm and gained 6 pounds during the past six months. We talked about her physical development (fine/gross motor skills) where she is doing well, and also her emotional development.

We discussed how we are practicing attachment style parenting (only parents hold Sylvie, feed her) and how we feel this is helping us develop a strong base for building trust between Sylvie and us. We also discussed how we "the first time parents" are doing with the adjustment of having a family. When we reflect back on the last few months, we can see how much better we're doing with just learning to relax and sit back and enjoy each other. In the beginning, every time Sylvie sneezed or had a tumble we would be very concerned. Now we know kids do get colds and owwies happen. Luckily our family doctor is very kind and supportive whenever I call or go in, and reassures us (or rather me) that everything is fine.

We look forward to the next time we sit down with our Social Worker to complete the final post placement report. That will be the last paperwork required for Sylvie's adoption from China. We are hoping to still send pictures of Sylvie as she grows to her orphanage for the Director and nannies to see.

Since this meeting took place on Halloween, I thought I would put a couple of pictures of her dressed up in her Tigger costume. We went to our music/art playgroup and had fun singing and decorating cookies with our little friends.





Here is a short video with Sylvie playing with her rhythm sticks while the kids and music teacher are singing about her costume. I was so happy to see that she was watching the other kids and following their actions, she is no longer throwing the sticks - yahoo!
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