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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The best part of being woken up early...

is hearing these words... for the FIRST time...

...initiated by HER - not in response to me saying "I Love You" first.

*Obviously, this video is a reenactment, but the memory will stay with me forever :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

A couple short videos to share with our family and friends of the girls...



Can I guess add...Christmas with children is even MORE enjoyable and magical.

Merry Christmas from the Drinkwaters!

And we are a *little* late getting everything into the mail, so these will likely not reach you until New Years, oh well...enjoy! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

What we have been up too lately...

Yes, I have been very lacking on the blog posts lately. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to get everything done, and posting pictures seems to fall at the bottom of the list every time. But, I know how much out family (Hi, Grandma Shirley!) and friends like to check to see new pictures of the girls, so here is a quick recap of our past couple of months.

There have been many, many days playing with leaves in the yard.
Who knew leaves could be so much fun for little girls?  

Although all theses leaves offered hours of entertainment for the girls, they weren't as fun at times for the big people around here. But I don't think Daddy has really much to complain about, he does get to suck most of them up with his lawn tractor after all! 
As the weather turned colder, and snow started to fall - it was time for out new winter jackets and snow pants. Which they of course, also find wildly entertaining to put on INSIDE the house and try running around chasing each other.
And a quick video for the Grandmas and Grandpas of the girls in their snow suits. No idea how to change it so it is not sideways, so just turn your heads ;)

Other things that keep them entertained include building structures or stacking items out of everyday things - because apparently those colorful blocks we bought just aren't sufficient. Thank goodness for Costco.
We also took the girls bowling with friends one evening, to make it even more fun they turn out the lights and turn on the black lights. The girls love bowling and ask regularly to go back, it certainly is a fun way to spend a winter evening inside with good friends.

So there's a quick recap of our last couple of months. Since we are already into the Holiday season, I will try to make it back soon to post some more pictures.

Happy Third Birthday Mary!

Our littlest princess has turned three! This means Cory and I are now parents to two 3 year olds! We feel very lucky that we made it through the second year without any of the "terrible two's" that many parents talk of, hopefully three will be even better!

When looking over the pictures from the past year, we can't believe how much Mary has grown! She has grown over 7 inches and gained more than 10 lbs. She is most definitely a little girl now, but she will always be our baby!

Second Birthday, December 2010

Mary's birthday is also a special time because I share the same birth date with her. So although we thought of having TWO birthday cakes, we decided on having cupcakes instead. Elmo and his various Sesame Street friends are still a big deal in our house, so of course they had to make an appearance.
The two birthday girls before blowing out the candles, which Mary did all on her own (she has come such a long way since her surgery, making Mama and Daddy very proud)!
What are birthdays without a few presents to unwrap? Mary is still trying to understand this whole "birthday" concept, but interestingly enough, caught on pretty quick to "MY birthday present"! Her new stroller by far has been the biggest hit, no more having to take turns with jie jie to walk her "babies" around in the one stroller we already had.

Of course we didn't finish all the cupcakes in one day, so the girls were able to practice blowing out the candles for a couple more days. And eat copious amounts of blue and red food coloring...which the body doesn't digest - just in case you wanted to know ;)

Here is a short video of our birthday girl!
As we take time to celebrate our darling daughter's third birthday, we also take a moment to think of Mary's birth family and in particular birth mother. This too, may be a bittersweet day for her...and we wish that somehow, someway, we could let her know that Mary is doing well, she is happy and healthy and loved.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lions...Tigers...and Halloween fun!

What, it's November already? Where has the time gone? Maybe it is hiding with all our daylight hours...seriously, pitch black dark at 4:50 pm is just not right. Whatever, you know you have been waiting with bated breath to see some Halloween fun had by two little girls! So without further ado...

We attended our first party on the Friday before Halloween. The party was hosted by mom and baby/toddler group we attend on Friday mornings called "Making Connections" at a local church. There is a music class for the first 1/2 hour, followed by a snack and play time for the kiddos while the Moms have coffee and listen to a local guest speaker. The girls both love our Friday morning music class and often ask if it is Friday morning when we wake them up. Luckily the party was indoors, so the girls were able to dress in a lighter costume...

Halloween Party #1 - My little Butterflies/Fairies!
Decorating cookies...
 Eating Cookies...

We also carved pumpkins this year, or to be more accurate - Daddy carved the pumpkins while Mama took pictures (Yes, no pumpkin slimey guts for me!). The girls loved helping Daddy decide what shapes to make the eyes and nose.
And making funny faces at Mama...
The finished product...
Of course Halloween proper rolled around on the 31st. Since it fell on a Monday this year, the girls were at daycare during the day. Apparently they were too excited with all the build up to the big event that they didn't even nap at all! As you can imagine, we needed to have a quick supper as the girls were fading fast and tears were approaching. We bundled up the girls in their outdoor costumes...
And they're off!
Needless to say, both girl's loved going up to our neighbors houses and ringing the door bells. I actually think they enjoyed ringing the bells more than receiving the candy. In fact, there may have been one or two squabbles over whose turn it was to press the button at each house. Oh least they weren't fighting over the candy!

My favorite moment was when we visited with our elderly neighbors Bob & Sue. We see Bob and his little white dog Scooter around the neighborhood when they are out walking in the morning and afternoon, and Bob always lets the kids pet Scooter. When Sue answered the door and called Scooter to come see the girls, Sylvie, after petting the dog asked "Where's Scooter's Daddy?" Sue couldn't stop giggling with that question.

So all in all, Mary's first Halloween was a success. Both girl's have enjoyed their smarties for dessert the days following the 'big night'. Hope you all had a spooktacular time too!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One year ago today...

On a clear, brisk day in Taiyuan, China our small family of three entered the Shanxi Province Foreign Adoption Registration Office...

We waited anxiously to meet our second daughter, our Mei Mei... Mary Dang Yun Dan for the very first time in person...
 Hey, I think her van is here!

Mary Dan Dan, you were so beautiful, so tiny, but oh so scared.
It wouldn't be until we got to know you much better over the days, weeks and months that we learned that you only sucked her fingers when you were feeling very anxious or scared.

We spent the next few days slowly trying to win your trust and help you feel comfortable around us. We made sure there was plenty of food, cuddles and toys.
It was a slow process...(note: hands in mouth still, same clothes)
 But after a few days your ever persistent Jie Jie was the first to get you to smile...
 And over the next days and weeks in China, we began to see more of these!
Our first months home together saw you blossom as you continued to grow stronger and began to let your personality shine!

You have undergone three major surgeries this year, and you have handled them with more grace and determination than the adults around you...

You've opened your heart to allow...
and Jie Jie in...
Your laughter and joie de vie lights up the room every time you enter...

And ever so slowly, patiently, carefully...we have come a long way as a family of four over this past year together.

This hasn't been easy for you, to suddenly leave everything, every sound, every smell, and everyone you know and hold dear. There have been some bumps in the road and your heart is still healing, but you are so very strong. Thank you for choosing to trust. Thank you for choosing to love. Thank you for choosing to allow us to love you. We love you Mary Dan Dan!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

We'll miss you...

Our good friends the "H" family are pulling up stakes and moving back East. Insert sobbing here...
We met S & K several years ago when we took a trans-racial parenting course offered for adopted parents (along with the Rowan's). We hit it off that weekend and discovered we were both hoping to adopt from China through a local adoption agency. Many months later we discovered we were both logged in on the same date March 11, 2008. During our wait we kept in touch, going to see a movie together, having dinners, or grabbing a coffee. Cory and I decided to switch gears and entered the China Waiting Child program and welcomed home our bundle of joy, Sylvie 

S, J, and Cory (July 1, 2009)...of course they can't take a 
nice picture for me - you will soon sense a theme!
A, K & Joyanne (July 1, 2009), notice we are all smiling!
S & K also decided after this time to also switch their application to the Waiting Child program, and we decided to adopt a second child. We both updated our home studies and waited each month for a phone call that would change our lives. S & K's phone call came in late May for beautiful Miss V, and our referral came in July for Mary. We waited together for our LSC's from China and finally our Travel Approvals.

 Late summer picnic while waiting for our LSC's & Travel Approvals (August 2010)

Finally all our paper work arrived and we were invited to travel to China to meet our daughters! Although we used different travel facilitators, we discovered to our great delight that we would both be in China together at the same time, and were in fact on the same international flights. After being logged in together years earlier, it seemed only fitting to share this moment of growing our families together as well!

Waiting during the first leg of our flight...
S & K helped keep our spirits up during our long waits in the airport.
Bumping into the H family at the Jade Factory in Beijing. The first time we get to meet 
their new daughter V, and they get to meet Mary. We had been skyping 
while in different provinces, but this was our first meeting in person. 

After returning home this past year, we have continued our play dates for the kids, gymnastics and music class for the girlies, lunches out for the Mama's, and wing nights for the Baba's.

 Ladies lunch out (January 2011)...

Celebrating St. Paddy's Day...

 Bundled up for the cold during a winter/spring walk (April 2011)...
Miss V and Miss Mary checking out some fishies this past spring (May 2011)...

Hiking the Greenway (June 2011)
The three kidlets...our last evening together (October 2011)...
 The Baba's...FINALLY taking a nice picture for me (October 2011)
 So it is with great regret that we say good bye to our good friends and wish them well on their new adventures out East. We are thankful K has family out here in BC, so there are bound to be visits back West for them. As well the Mama's have plans of taking the families to Disneyland in a few years together! Best Wishes H family! 
Don't cry V, we will see you again in Disneyland!