Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baseball is in the Air!!!!

The Super Bowl has not been played yet!!!  The air temperature is 17 degrees.  There is still snow on the ground.....but there is baseball in the air!!  David had his first indoor baseball practice yesterday!!  Just the guys getting together and throwing but oh how it warms this Mom's heart.  Those of you that have been reading for awhile know about how there was no football season this year at David's High School.  Due to a small turn out of players (caused by many factors) David did not get to play quarterback in his senior year.  It was devastating to him and to me too.   Anyway, he loves baseball too and after a long  fall and winter of hunting, ice fishing and working, baseball season has
arrived.  I can't wat until it warms up a little and we can go see him play.  It's pretty neat because his older brother Paul is the Asst. Varsity coach!! Sierra loved going last year even though she hadn't been home that long.  This year she has so much more language and understanding of the world around will be great!!  I have been so proud of David lately and can't wait to go cheer him and his team on!!!!!!!

Baseball Season 2009

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fun night!

On Sunday we went to Jenn's father's restaurant to have a birthdya dinner for Sierra.  It was a blast.  I love when our whole family can get together.  Jenn's Dad Benny and her Mom Nancy Ann are two of the most generous people I know.  And they love Sierra.  After we got done eating Benny asked Sierra if she would like to make her own pizza!!!  He put an apron on her and away they went into the kitchen.  She had so much fun!!  And she got to take it home!! She loved the mermaid outfit that Paul and Jenn got her and the raincoat and umbrella Benny and Nan got her.  SInce it ws raining out we let her wear it home and Scott was able to get those really cute pictures of her in them!!  We dressed Sierra in the Chinese dress that her Dad bought her last year when we were in China.  He said it was her birthday dress for this year!!!!
I also love the group shot.  Thanks Benny and Nan ( and Vincent) for a great night!!!!!
See the pictures in the below post!!!

Birthday Dinner at Benny's!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

First birthday party!!!

These are some pictures of Sierra's birthday.  She loves balloons so we put a bunch of ballons on her floor for the  morning!!!                                                                                               

We had 2 cakes because Sierra had wanted so many people to come that my friend Ellen graciously msde another cake so we would have enough!!! 

I love these photo cakes!!!

We requested that in lieu of gifts for Sierra that people bring craft items that we are sending to Sierra's orphanage. ( But she got a few gifts too!!!!)

Who gets to have their pinata hug up by the fire truck?!!!

And what better way to end a party at the firehouse than a ride in the firetruck driven by big brother Paul!!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Sierra!!!!

I don't know where this year has gone.  A year ago today Sierra woke up in China on her 3rd birthday.  36 hours later she fell asleep in her new bed in the USA and it was still her birthday!! It's actually the 2nd birthday she has spent with us, but the first real birthday celebration for her. It was an awesome day.  I will post more about her party tomorrow,  But I would like to tell you 4 things that I love about Sierra!!

1. She loves people!!  She is outgoing, friendly, confident and really likes to  be around people.  She makes them feel good and she makes us smile!!

2.  Her thirst for learning.  When I read Sierra a book at night , if I read a word and she doesn't know what it means, she stops me and says"Mama.. what does__________ mean??  ANd she remembers for the next time.  Today she was playing with the balloons that we had filled her room with.  And she started counting them.  At that point there was 12.  Some had spilled into her brothers room.  And then she picked one and held it behind her back and said " And what if I took one away.  How many balloons do I have now??"  I mean..... this kid was doing subtraction while she played!!!!!

3. Her appreciation.  Sierra loves everything we do with her.  That is what makes it so fun to take her places.  She thanks us, she tells us how much fun she had, she tells other people how much fun she had and she means it.

4. She loves to dance.  The other night I was tired and a little crabby.  I was trying to get her ready for bed and she was moving at a snails pace when I just wanted to get done.  We were in the bathroom and the shower radio was on.  She stopped to listen to the song.  I said " Come on!!" And she said" Mama, I like this song. I want to dance and I want you to dance with me"  So I looked at this precious girl, who was tired too, but not too tired to dance .  So we twirled and turned together around the bathroom and then I picked her up and held her as we danced together.  And when we spun around she looked at me and giggled and smiled that amazing smile of hers.  And I was so glad that I hadn't missed the chance to dance.

Happy Birthday Sierra...We love you so much!!!! And there isn't  a day that goes by that I don't thank God for sending you to join our family!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Really...... Home!!!

We have spent the last 2 weeks reminiscing about the time we spent in China a year ago. We have nothing ( well except for David getting so sick) but fond memories of our journey across the sea. We knew it would be worthwhile because of the treasure we were bringing home. But nothing could have prepared us for the way that trip changed our lives.  It was truly amazing to witness a culture that was so vastly different than ours.  The customs were different, the food was different, the driving was different(very different) the language was different, but then on a Sunday we went to church.  In that small church packed with standing room only, I realized that we were not so different after all.  They love, they hurt, they work, they play and some love God,  just like we do.  It was an experience I will never forget.  And the people we met...The shop keepers, Hebe, Dong and Jordan(and more) our guides, Susan and Alison, and our travelmates...we will never forget the important role they played in our journey.  A year ago on Saturday Sierra woke up on her 3rd birthday in a hotel room in China.  She went to sleep almost 32 hours later, still on her birthday, in a crib in our house.  And here she will stay..forever with the family that loves her.  She said it best last night.  "Mama, I am sooo glad that lady ( that is you, Dana) found you for me.  I am so glad I have a nice house to live in." Me too baby, me too!!!
Here is the final video of our trip.  It took me almost a year to complete it.  It was Scott's Christmas present this year.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Kuther King Day!

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

These word mean so much more to me now than ever before.  Seeing what I have seen and learning what I have learned has changed me forever.  This week brought it into focus.  On Tuesday we celebrated the joyous occaision of Sierra's one year Forever Family Day!! Yes....... she is home now........ yes she will not know lonliness, or hunger, or abandonment ever again!!  But then on that same day 1000s of miles away, an earthquake has thrown an already desperate society into utter dispair.  We can not ignore it. We all must act in some way. Please pray fot these, men, women, mothers, fathers,  children and babies.  Find a way to help. Right now nothing else matters except helping the people of Haiti. You could almost hear what Martin Luther King Jr. would be saying to us now...if he were here!!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some pictures of a joyful day!!!

This is Sierra waiting patiently for us to go out to dinner.  She all of a sudden likes to pose!!

This is Sierra opening her special gift at the restaurarant.

These last 2 photos are of the special tea party Sierra and I had yesterday.  She just loves her kid sized tea party set from China.  She told us " I love my present.  It is beautiful!!!"  It comes with 6 cups so we will have to have a real tea party soon!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Forever Family Day!!!

Dear Sierra,
In our family this will be a day of great celebration!  This is the  day that we met you and all of our lives changed forever.  I do realize that for you this day one year ago, was a scary, confusing time.  But you were so brave, you walked right over to us.  You accepted Cheerios from us with out a second thought.  And then you realized...and you cried.  I will never forget the scared, lonely sound of your cry when you realized that the caretaker that brought you, was leaving without you.  I will always be sad that you had to go throught that.  But I can't help to want to celebrate this day.  Because it was a new beginning.  It was the day that you became a part of us in every sense of the word.  You had a family now and nothing would be the same for you again.  And nothing was the same for us either.
This past year has been an incredible ride.  You have blossomed and grown and changed before our eyes.  Your serious, solemn face has been replaced by a happy, smiling one.  You have amazed us with your grasping of a language that a year ago was completely foreign to you. You have taught us about bravery and resilience and  trust. You have brought much laughter and joy to this house.  Your brothers adore you and you them. ( Mommy thanks you for that because they stop by a lot more than they used to and I love having this house filled with the sounds of your giggling when they are here.) Your Daddy just thinks you are the most wonderful girl in the world.  You will forever be his first child, the first one who called him Daddy!
Every morning since last year I wake up and thank God for joining us together!! And at night you and I pray for all the other children who don't  yet have their forever family.
And so even though I know that this day for you last year was difficult I hope that we can still each reflect and appreciate all the events that led us to you...  and that we can celebrate this day with all the joy that I feel !!  You are so special, Sierra Christine Weixi Hikade, and I love you more than you could possibly know.  Happy Forever Family Day!!!!

Guangzhou, China January 2009

Home 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

The start of something year later!!!

A year ago right now it was 7:30 in the morning in a hotel room in Guangzhou China. This was the day that we had been waiting so long for. This was day that was the culmination of all the events that God had ochestrated so that we would be in China on this day, at this time. You was the day we were to meet our daughter. The day that we no longer had to look at her picture but would actually be able to touch her and hear her voice. The day we would get to tell her we loved her and would be her family forever! So long we had waited, with family and friends waiting with us. On this day we had our new friends, John and Diane by our side. They too were going to be meeting their daughter. They too had been waiting a long time. So we got up, went to breakfast, found a shop that would do our laundry and realized we still had 4 or more hours to wait. So we decided to explore Shamian Island. What better thing to do when you are waiting than to walk. So Scott, David, John , Diane and I started to walk. We walked from one end of the island to the other. taking in the beautiful buildings, the people, watching the school children play at recess etc. And then it was time to meet in the lobby for our drive to the Civil Affairs Office. The moment had come. If you have not been at a busy civil affairs office during adoption day its almost impossible to describe. There were about 30 or more families there, all waiting to get the first glimpse of their children. It is loud, it is crowded but everyone is filled with joy. At least the parents are, Some one once told might be the happiest day of your life but it won't be your daughter's. So after about a half hour wait out comes Sierra. I will never forget her pink coat, her short hair and her rosy red cheeks ( from all the layers she had on!!!) We fed her Cheerios and she was hooked. I didn't cry as much as I thought I would. I was more worried about how she was and how she felt. But oh, what joy I felt and Scott was grinning from ear to ear and David was smitten!! I replay the video over and over . (Thank you John for capturing that moment in our life!!!) I can't get enough of it!! But that was just the start!!! The start of something so incredible it will be hard for me to put into words. The start of our family as we know it now. The start of being a mother to a preschooler the age of 50...the start of Scott being called Dad...for the first time!!! The start of a bond that would take a long time to cement. The start of Sierra learning what a family is and the start of me learning how to be a Mom to a special little almost 3 year old  who didn't know what one was!!

Our very first moments!!!

A very happy big brother!!

  Click on this link to view the moment we met!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thank you Paul and Jenn!!!

This is Ainsley.Is she not too sweet?!!!  She resided at the same orphange Sierra did.  Right now she is in Foster Care in China.  We help to sponsor her.  Every month we send a check to Pearl River Outreach and the money goes to the care of Ainsley.  (Read about the Bamboo Babies at  Anyway since I am not working I tried to figure out a way to help bring in the 35 dollars a month.  So I started taking our deposit bottles back.  We had just been recycling them.  Then I asked my family to save their's too.  Now in NY that includes small water bottles!!!!  So I was greatly moved the other night whe Paul's girlfriend Jenn showed up at the house.  She handed me some money and said,"Kathie, we brought back two big bag of bottles tonight and it only came to 4 dollars So Paul and I are kicking in the rest for Ainsley.  She handed me 35 dollars!!! It made me cry!!!. How our hearts are now forever changed to the plight of orphans!!! And how proud am I of Paul and Jenn!!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8th 2009 We're leaving on a jet plane....

We were on our way!!  A little nervous but oh so happy!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Up, up, and year later!!!

As I conduct my usual business today I can't help but think about what I was doing a year ago.  Last year on this day we were busily getting all the final items together needed for our trip to China.  You year ago tomorrow we boarded the plane that took us over 6,ooo miles to beijing China.  It does not seem possible that one year has passed already.  But on the other hand I can't remember what our life were like without Sierra in it. 
The thing we were the most afraid of last year at this time was the flight itself.  Scott had NEVER flown and I had only flown short distances and did not love it.  David had flown the Nov. before and had encountered some rough turbulence so he was not too thrilled either.  We had worried about it since the beginning.  I kept remarking that the flight would be our equivalent to labor.  We chose a direct flight so we would only have to take off once and land  once.  We made it to the airport, met two families traveling with our group so that helped pass the time!!! Finally it was time to board...and soon we were in the air.  I admit, the 3 of us did take some medication to calm our nerves and it did the trick.  We had an awesome flight!! We were relaxed, slept some, walked around, Scott met a man named Joe and spent a lot of time talking with him,flew over the North Pole,  and in seemingly no time we were there.  Now that kind of labor I like!!! It was not bad at all!!!!
I will be posting some thoughts as we go through this anniversary period.  It brings such emotions to the surface....being in China, meeting Sierra, making life long friends, learning about her culture, so much happened in 15 short days.  Come along for the ride!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weekend Catch Up!!!

Yesterday my brother, his girlfriend and my niece stopped over for a visit.  My niece Jamie and Sierra just love each other.  Jamie has been the only girl cousin on both sides of her family for a long time!!  She says she loves having a girl cousin now!!!

Crib waiting to be taken downstairs.          New toddler bed

On Saturday we dismantled Sierra's crib and moved her into her toddler bed. She has stayed in her crib a long time as she is small for almost 4 and she liked it. She was excited but could not fall asleep and at 10:45 that night she said to me with tears running down her cheek " But Mama, I want my old bed.  I don't like this new bed.  So I sat in the rocking chair in her room until she fell asleep.  She was fine all night and the next problem.  But it did break my heart when she said it.  The pains of growing up!!!