Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1st Gotcha Day Anniversary For Our Baby Boy!

I can’t believe it has already been a year since this day.IMG_1The day they placed Dang Qiao in my arms and he became Samuel Qiao, our son. In a pink puffy coat and purple puffy pants!

I only had the slightest inkling of how our lives were changing. Of how amazing our little boy was. IMG_2Sure, I knew immediately that he was sweet and loving. That he had a personality that attracted you to him. Expressive eyes that spoke what his mouth could not.

But I had no clue about how this small little child from the other side of the world would transform us with just his smile. What he would teach us about resiliency, strength and determination. How much we would love him.

Sam is our little soldier, taking on every challenge in his path with gusto. He’s the child whose cup is always half full. The boy who lights up any room he walks into. He immediately captures the hearts of everyone he meets.

We are the luckiest people in the world because we were chosen to be his parents. Not a day goes by that we don’t praise God for giving us this miracle of a child.

So how did Sam spend his 1st Gotcha Day anniversary?

Well, it started getting bundled up and playing in the season’s 1st snowfall.IMG_9805

And throwing the season’s first snowball!IMG_9807

Big sister Molly joined in all the fun.IMG_9808

Later, Sam moved inside to play with all of his Christmas gifts.IMG_9810This toy might be Sam’s favorite Christmas gift, but my favorite Christmas gift will always be Sam. Sure became ours the day after Christmas in China, but it was still Christmas Day here in the States.

For his Gotcha Day dinner we ordered Chinese food, which Sam still prefers to this day. He gives it his trademark thumbs up…IMG_9811…and wink!IMG_9812

Then it was on to his Gotcha Day present. While in China last year, I purchased a small gift to give him on each anniversary of his adoption.IMG_9816

This year was the tradition Chinese Tiger hat. Perfect for our boy who was born in the year of the tiger.IMG_9818

Sam holding his referral picture. He’s grown up so much!IMG_9820

Then it was time to pose for some obligatory family pictures.

First up, a picture with Dad…IMG_9825

…Then Mom…IMG_9832

…and we can’t forget Sis!IMG_9826

Finally one last picture with both Mom and Dad.IMG_9830Forever in our heart, Forever our Son.

We love you Sam Qiao, and can’t wait to see all the wonderful things that Forever has in store for you!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas With Molly and Sam

Get a cup of coffee. Grab a snack. Sit back and get yourself comfortable. This is gonna be a long one, folks.

Because I am going to be long on pictures, I will try to be short on words. No, really, I’ll give it my best.

But first I need to say just a few words about the kids and Christmas. Now that we have two children, I really I looked forward to  the energy that is created during the holidays. They didn’t disappoint.

Sam, for the most part, didn’t have a clue what was happening. But that didn’t stop him form having a great time. He saw that Molly was excited, so that made him excited, too. He eagerly sucked in all that Christmas had to offer from shredding trough wrapping paper to gorging on Christmas candy.

It was a wonderful holiday knowing that our family is now complete.

Alrighty, let’s get moving. Here are the pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

Christmas morning: The halls were decked, the presents were wrapped….IMG_9735

and even the stocking were hung (and filled) with care. IMG_9742

Two anxious kids peeking over the loft to see if St. Nick had been there!IMG_9744

Molly was the first down stairs (she has longer legs).IMG_9745

Followed ‘shortly’ by Sam.IMG_9746

Checking out the tree full of presents.IMG_9747

Opening their first gift from Santa.IMG_9748

Pillow Pets!IMG_9749

From Grandmom: A cool outdoor game for Molly and a train set for Sam.IMG_9750Both were put into action on Christmas morning. Good thing the outdoor game has a soft ball because it was played in just about every room of the house.

Dear ol’ Santa Claus gave both kids a DVD. Sam got Finding Nemo…IMG_9754

…and Molly got Tinkerbell, Secret of the Wings.IMG_9790

Grandma and Grandpa gave Molly a boxful of puppets.IMG_9751Can’t wait to watch all of the puppet shows from Molly’s creative mind.IMG_9753

Auntie Molly and Uncle Eli gave Sam Chuck the Truck’s Tumble Tower. A bunch of noisy boy-style fun!IMG_9758

Santa brought Molly the Velveteen Rabbit book and stuffed animal. She said, “I didn’t know Santa shopped at Kohls.” Apparently she had seen these on display during a shopping trip. IMG_9756Luckily, she still wants to believe so badly that it made perfect sense to her that Santa would get part of his shopping done at the Kohls. 

Sam hugging his Inkoos, a stuffed animal that you color with magic markers then throw in the washing and color again.IMG_9761

Molly showing off her new books from Aunt Kathy and family.IMG_9760

Sam and Molly ripping into a gift.IMG_9762

What did you get, Sis? Magnaformers from Uncle Jack! A totally awesome present!IMG_9763

Aunt Shell obviously knows what boys like…A fold and carry anywhere Thomas the Tank Engine set.IMG_9764

When Molly sat on Santa’s lap, she only asked for one thing: An Inkoos. Santa did not disappoint.IMG_9767

Santa also came through with a  Doggy Dream Lite for Sam. Way to go Santa. You are one smart dude.IMG_9772

Aunt Shell gave Molly all sorts of outdoor toys: Cup stilts,  jump rope, a jump-and-twist, and sonic foxtail ball. We are going to have a fun spring!IMG_9773

Grandma and Grandpa came through with Tonkas for Sam. A rescue helicopter….IMG_9777and a huge steel dump truck. He was in boy heaven.IMG_9782

Molly was thrilled with her twirling ribbon…IMG_9778

…and her ladybug bath towel both from Auntie Molly and Uncle Eli.IMG_9783

Sam’s eager to read his new books from Aunt Kathy.IMG_9788

Molly shows off her Pathwords game. Mom and Dad are so practical with the educational gifts. IMG_9786

Sam rips into his Marble Run toy from Uncle Jack. Another toy played over and over on all day long.IMG_9792

Mom and Dad also got some presents. Here’s a picture Molly drew for us. So sweet.IMG_9796

And a baby Jesus in the manger that she created out of her own imagination. I thought that was brilliant and so meaningful!IMG_9798

She also made us this ornament as school. Love those special gifts that you get to collect each year. So precious.IMG_9799After all of the presents were opened, we sat down to a big ol’ family breakfast, but soon after the kids were ready to rip into their stockings.

Molly checking out her goodies.IMG_9801

Sam was thrilled with the candy canes sticking out of the top of his stocking.IMG_9802

And even more thrilled when he discovered more things inside.IMG_9804

The rest of the day was spent unpackaging, assembling and playing with all of the wonderful gifts. Every one of them so perfect. Every one of them so appreciated.

Watching our kids enjoy Christmas and enjoy each other was the biggest and best gift of all. It truly was a magical Christmas!