Friday, November 30, 2012

Who's the Wise Guy??

So I leave for ONE morning to run an errand and this is what I come home to! Who put daddy in charge of the wardrobe?!?!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Through the Thanksgiving Holiday

Well, we made it through the first big holiday experiences : ) Over the past few days she has enjoyed:
* Extra time with daddy during his long weekend away from work! She had her first attempt at Wii bowling : )

* A big family gathering with the DeNeal’s where she got to meet the extended family.

* Her first Christmas parade. She was not so sure about the cold, but was thrilled when she saw the alligator mascot that we had seen at an Illini event! She had loved him there - still talking about how he gave her a hug and how he has such big teeth : )


* Putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it!

* Playing with her own Little People nativity set 

* Meeting Great Grandma Ina for the first time

Everything has gone very well! We are excited to get things “back to normal,” though, for the remainder of the week : )

Thursday, November 22, 2012

First Thanksgiving

Annaliese celebrated her first Thanksgiving today!

We began the day by watching a silly video about the pilgrims, which she seemed to like, and then we made ourselves a pilgrim hat and Indian headdresses : )

We kept it on her long enough to take the picture and then she was done with that and on to the next hat : )


Can you read her shirt? It says: "Things I'm Thankful For...Pie, Mom, Dad, Home, Love." Isn't that perfect : )

We then headed to Grandpa Dan & Grandma Gloria’s house for lunch. We ate ham today - we will have turkey on Saturday with the extended family - and she seemed to enjoy this. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing : )

I am positive we end this day with her having no better understanding of what Thanksgiving is, but it was a good day, nonetheless : )

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday School

We tried Sunday school for the first time and she walked in like she owned the place : ) I think she may have even been a little disappointed we came back, as we interrupted her play time with new friends & new toys : )

We really are thankful for her “go with the flow” attitude about trying new things. One step closer to gearing up for school in the spring!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fun with Cousins

Josh & Caleb came over today while Mike & Rachel went to the Illini football game. Annaliese had fun playing with them – enjoying the nice weather outdoors, building a fort, and playing with legos.

Thanks, again, boys for being so good with her : )

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fun Day

Annaliese and I went to Provena this morning to visit my friends & coworkers. They were all so excited to see her and it was nice to see so many of them again : )

Then, this afternoon we went to Tuscola so Annaliese could join Caleb for a gymnastics class. The instructor was kind enough to let her join him to see how she would like it, with the idea that she would join the next session if it went well.

The instructor did a really nice job with her. He was patient and willing to give her a little extra attention, which was much appreciated : )

She participated in about half of the class and just stood back and watched the other half. She was definitely engaged in what the other kids were doing and was very curious.  

We will definitely begin working on some of the skills she did, or watched, tonight; as well as the terminology, and plan to start her in the next session. I think it will be good for her and she will enjoy it. Thanks, Rachel & Caleb, for letting us know about it : )

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Laundry Day

Annaliese helped me with the laundry today. She is determined to do as much of it as she can, so it takes about four times longer to load/unload the washer and dryer than it used to, but she is so pleased with herself when it is all done : )

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First Post-Placement Visit

This morning we had our 30 day post-placement visit with our social worker from Illini Christian Ministries. It is so hard to believe that Annaliese has been home and part of our family for that long!!

The visit went well and it sounds like our transition is going as well as it seems like it is (sometimes you wonder if you are missing something)!!

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Girl After Her Mother's Own Heart

Guess what I discovered today?? Annaliese does not like chocolate. I don’t know about you, but I think she is a pretty smart little girl : )

We made our first batch of chocolate chip cookies, which she enjoyed the process of doing, but wanted nothing to do with the chocolate part of the cookie once they were done. So, I guess Jonathan and our bible study will enjoy them instead : )


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Becoming Part of the Orange & Blue

After church this morning, we went to lunch and then to our first U of I event – a women’s basketball game! We got Annaliese a new Illini shirt, so she fit right in : )

Then for supper we fixed our first homemade pizzas as a family. She was pretty excited about this!!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Real Restaurant

Tonight we went out to dinner with my family for my birthday. We went to Olive Garden, which was Annaliese’s first experience at a real restaurant.

She did really well. She is such a good eater – had multiple helpings of the house salad, breadsticks, pasta, and tried broccoli (that did not take) – and continues to be intrigued by everything in sight.

It was a nice evening out with family and we are so proud of her as she continues to transition into American culture so well.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Big One!

Today was my 30th birthday!

Ever since we began this journey of adoption (July of 2009), I have had a goal of becoming a mother before I turned 30. With many unusual twists & turns along the way – I was able to meet this goal! What a blessing, as many families are experiencing significantly longer wait times than we have ended up experiencing.

This afternoon, though, my mom came to watch Annaliese for a couple of hours and sent me to Tuscola to get a massage!! It was so wonderful – thanks, mom!!

She also watched Annaliese this evening while Jonathan and I went out for a nice dinner. She did well with mom (on both occasions) and seems to enjoy her time with Grandma Jane very much. I can only imagine what she gets spoiled with : )

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Voted

Annaliese utilized her right as an American citizen today – she voted : ) Okay, she really just went in the booth and shook the whole contraption while I voted quickly, but at least she was exposed to it early on! One of the volunteers did give her an “I Voted” sticker, though : )

We also went grocery shopping for the first time this afternoon. She did not seem overwhelmed by anything, just curious. I learned quickly to steer down the middle of aisles when possible, though, because everything must have looked like it needed to be touched – even the bottles of wine!!

We are definitely getting into a routine here. Thanks for your continued thoughts & prayers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

To the Library

Today we went to the Tolono library for the first time - Annaliese now has her very own library card. After enjoying the story time & making a few crafts, she picked out three books to bring home : )

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Back to Church

In continuation with our busy, fun-filled weekend, we attended church for the first time today. It was sooooo good to get back and see our friends again!!!!!

She was so excited to wear her dress and her tights this morning, that once she got dressed and we told her how beautiful she looked, she started putting on her coat, helping Jonathan & I put on our socks and shoes, and constantly asking for the “macina” (which means “car”).

She was excited to go, and people were so excited to see her : )It was great to get to share her with so many of our supporters throughout this process.
It was kind of funny, though, because this week was “baptism Sunday” at our church, which is when those who have never taken the step of obedience to be baptized are challenged to do so. Those that choose to do it, are baptized in a water trough right there on stage. She watched this very intently and I can only imagine what she was thinking. When we got home, she was acting this out, though, and asking about it : )
After lunch, she also got to meet Uncle Brian, Aunt Sarah, and Bode for the first time. She did well and seemed to enjoy this time.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

First 5K

Today was a very special day – our first trip out of the area that was NOT to go to the doctor! We headed south to attend an event for the Highland Compassion Orphan Ministry, which is the ministry that was recently launched at my mom’s church (the one who so graciously hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for us just days before we received our referral)!
They launched their first annual “Run for Orphans,”a 5K that was designed to raise orphan awareness & funds for Life Song. What a blessing to get to have Annaliese be a part of this!! HCC has really gone above & beyond to support our adoption process and MANY individuals in this congregation have been praying for her for months! It was neat to get to introduce her to so many of them : )

Go Grandma Jane!
Go Madonna!
After the 5K, there was a “Fun Run” for the children. At first she was not interested in doing this, but changed her mind after the other kids started running. She completed the first half of it slowly, but then took off for the second half : )

It turned out to be a very nice day and a memory we will treasure for quite some time. Thanks, HCC, for your love and support!!