Monday, January 26, 2009

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Happy New Year - Year of the Ox

Today we celebrated the Vietnamese New Year, Tet. Tet is the most important holiday for the Vietnamese people and a very important holiday to our family as well :o) We enjoy celebrating Vietnamese holidays with an American Twist :o) We started preparing for the holiday this weekend by cleaning the house and paying bills. It is believed to be wise to start the new year with a clean home and being debt-free. I wish the latter part was possible :o)We settled for paying our monthly bills...haha! Another tradition is buying new clothes for your children so they can wear new clothes on Tet. So this morning I dressed the girls in their new clothes. Gymboree gym buck redemption time was last week, perfect timing!

This morning I took Sophie Le to Gymboree class and her Daddy joined us. It was his first time attending one of Le's classes. She was soooooo excited to see her Daddy walk through the door. After class, I brought Le home for a nap and afterwards we went to pick up Hillary Ashton from school. The girls & I then stopped by Gymboree for "free play" time. It is a great place to take them to play on a cold afternoon. Then it was time to come home and decorate for our party.

The girls loved decorating with the red and gold decorations. We tried a few "new to us" Vietnamese treats for tonight's "feast." We had Coconut juice, Asian pears and bamboo shoots (măng). Of course, Sophie Le LOVED everything. Hillary Ashton said she didn't like eating bamboo, she just wanted to eat the "American strawberries." We also had one of our favorite treats, Yan Yans. They aren't Vietnamese, I think they are Japanese. We would have LOVED to have some dragon fruit, but by the time the fruit gets to Central Arkansas, it is...not so good.

Another tradition is giving lucky money to children. The girls opened their red envelopes and were happy to find chocolate coins inside. Just as they were opening their coins, I remembered reading something about chocolate coins being recalled because they contained poison. The girls weren't very excited about giving up their lucky coins, but we didn't want to take any chances. So, turns out the coins were not very lucky! Not sure how that affects our new year :o) After dinner, we had a parade around the house. The girls carried their balloons and dragon bells and shouted things like, "We love Vietnam" "Happy Tet" and "Whoo Hoo Vietnam."

We finished up the party festivities by reading Ten Mice for Tet and The Year of the Dog (Sophie Le was born in the year of the Dog). Although, I wouldn't say I believe in the Chinese Zodiac, Sophie Le definitely posseses the stubborn and loyal traits attributed to people born in the year of the Dog :o) Sophie Le spent much of the day (like many days lately) crawling around panting and barking like a puppy...very appropriate for today :o) It is the cutest thing when we sticks out her little tongue and gleefully exclaims, "I puppy, mama!"

Here are the girls dressed up in their Ao Dais we bought while in Vietnam. They LOOOOOOVE getting dressed up in the "Vietnam clothes."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Week 29

If I counted correctly, we are at week 29. When we started this adoption, I never dreamed we would still be waiting for a referral in mid-January. In fact, I honestly thought we would would have already traveled to Ethiopia and be back home by now. International adoption seems to have a way of stretching out the months, at least in our experience :o) However, there has been a HUGE difference waiting on this referral verses waiting on Sophie Le's referral. With Sophie Le's, we (I think it was "we," maybe just "I") were anxious...everyday. We felt like it would never happen. Every delay was so frustrating. We couldn't understand why we were called to adopt, but we were just WAITING.

With this adoption, we have the benefit of hindsight. We KNOW that there is a perfect child (or children) for our family. We KNOW God will show us their faces when the time is right. We were called to adopt, but not according to some predetermined schedule or timeline. It WILL happen, IN HIS TIME. It is so nice giving the control completely to God. There were times during the wait for Sophie Le that I WANTED the call to come that day. There were kids that I saw referred to other families that I THOUGHT would be great in our family. There were kids on Rainbowkids that we thought would fit into our family. It wasn't until we saw Sophie Le's picture and held her for the first time that we really realized that we hadn't received "the call" yet because OUR CHILD wasn't ready yet. All of those referral calls that we wished were for us came before Sophie Le was even born. God put the fire to adopt in our hearts so Sophie Le could be a part of our family not so we could complete an adoption in a certain number of months. Sophie Le has been such a blessing to our family, a true gift from God. I feel so thankful knowing that God is holding our next child in His arms and will make that child known to us in HIS perfect timing. We are here, waiting for His plan to become clear to us. That being said, I HOPE and PRAY that "the call" comes soon :o)

We had a quick getaway to Texas last weekend. We had so much fun!. The girls LOVE staying at hotels. There is nothing better in this world to Hillary Ashton than a pull out sofa! Sophie Le loves that everyone stays in the same room. Here are a few pictures of the girls enjoying the beautiful weather...

Daddy explaining how to do the monkey bars...haha!
And one of Le after her bath. I just love a sweet, clean baby :o)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A video about Abby...

Here is a video Abby's dad made last night...

Monday, January 12, 2009


Abby was adopted from Guatemala. At three years old, she was diagnosed with a high-risk, aggressive form of Leukemia. Certain genetic complications have put her chance of surviving the treatment at about 20%.
"Hell”… that is the word Abby’s doctor used to describe the 60 days of treatment that starts on Wednesday. As Christians, we cringe a little to compare anything in this life to the real Biblical Hell, but we understand what the Doctor is trying to communicate. This is a life-threatening, miserable time of suffering for Abby. Her smallest chance of survival will come during this phase of chemotherapy, and if she does get through it, she may have to do it twice.

Over the next few days leading up to her first treatment, we’ll be asking you to consider various ways to prayer, and ways to include more people in Abby’s prayer support. Here are a couple for today:

**Would you remember to pray for Abby on Wednesday, the 14th as she begins this new phase?
**Add Abby to any prayer lists, prayer chains or websites you have access to.

I am praying for her and her family. Would you pray for them too?
Please feel free to copy the above message to your blog, it was written by Abby's parents.

You can find more about Abby here, on her family blog.
You can add a Praying for Abby button (like the one below) to your blog. Just visit Abby's website and copy the code. It is super easy and could lead to others praying for this little girl that is fighting for her life.

I KNOW God can and does perform miracles...
pray for a miracle for this sweet family!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

My sweet baby...

Here is the video of Sophie Le I mentioned in the last post.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Jenna!

Sunday we had the pleasure of celebrating Jenna's second birthday with her. Her mommy planned a super cute princess party, perfect for Miss Jenna!

Beautiful Birthday girl, love her!!

Sophie Le's favorite part of the party were the petit fours...she ate hers and Hillary Ashton's! She then hopped out of her chair and proceeded to start eating the crumbs that had fallen on the floor...I swear she only got a couple in her mouth before I stopped her!

Hillary Ashton's favorite part was the lip gloss and blue eyeshadow!

Seriously, in ten years or so we will be in big trouble!


Sophie Le was having so much fun that she forgot to go to the potty hence the Britney Spears look!

Could they be any sweeter?

Sophie Le kinda looks like a pageant girl in this one :o)

Best Friends

She has been very insistent on getting her picture taken a lot lately. She has also been a video hog as well, I will share a cute video of her telling her adoption story soon.

Baby girl...soon to be a big sister!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Merry Christmas baby!

Tomorrow is Christmas Day in Ethiopia.
I pray next Christmas baby will be home with us!
Hopefully big sister Le Le won't scare her
stories of that big man at the mall in red!

Surprisingly, the only thing Sophie Le says when she sees this picture is, "My shoe popped off." That child cracks me up!

Here is an Ethiopian Christmas song...celebrating the birth of baby Jesus. It is so awesome that we live in such different worlds, but serve the same awesome God!


Thanks to Heather (whose son is from Le's orphanage and her son has the coolest name...Rocco Jase) for the suggestions! Very pretty names. No thanks to the rest of you! Haha, just kidding.

Click here to read a cute story about a three year old and a seven year old that just came home from Ethiopia and their name quest...very cute story. They mention the Wolfe family in the post, if you are curious click here for their blog...very inspiring family. It is one of my favorite blogs!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Any ideas???

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
Proverbs 22:1
The mere thought of naming a child sends me into a mini panic. It is such a HUGE job. The name you choose will stay with the child for the rest of their lives, unless of course they decide to change it one day! It is a word that you will say countless times in a day. It is the name that will be associated with the most precious people in your life. It is a gift that you give your child that they will always have.
When choosing each of the girl's names, the most important factor to us was the meaning of the name. We picked names with qualities that we hoped our girls would possess. Secondly, we wanted names that have a pleasant sound and that are unique, but not weird. I think we defintely scored on the uniqueness factor. I hightly doubt either of our girls will ever have to worry about having another child in their class with their name!
We are having a hard time coming up with a short list for our next child (ren). We will not make a definite decision until we see a photo, but we would really like to have a few real possibilities. We will defintely include part of her Ethiopian name and there is a possibility that we will use her given name. We have agreed on about 15-20 girl names since we are expecting to receive a girl referral, but none of the names really jump out as a favorite. Any ideas????
A little background about our girls names...
Hillary means "happy, cheerful." As our baby has grown into a little girl and her personality has blossomed, I cannot imagine a more perfect name for her. Her middle name is Ashton which means "ash tree." The meaning of that name obviously wasn't as important to us. I have always liked names that could be used as boy names or girl names and I just love the way Ashton sounds with Hillary. We decided when Hillary Ashton was a few months old to call her by both her first and middle name. So, there you have Hillary Ashton. It fits her perfectly.
Sophie Le's name was a little more difficult for us. Sophie was on our short list because we thought the meaning, "wisdom" was perfect. We felt that her birthmother had great wisdom in choosing to birth Sophie Le and make an adoption plan for her. I can't imagine how hard the decision was for her to make. However, we didn't like how common it has become. When we went to our agency to receive her referral and saw her Vietnamese for the first time, we knew instantly that we would name her Sophie Le. Le is our daughter's Vietnamese last name. We love using part of her Vietnamese name as the name we call her daily. It is a daily reminder of her heritage and history. Her middle name is Thiet. Thiet was the name her birthmother gave her. It means "to care for, to suffer a loss, real, true." The name Thiet is so precious to us. Thiet is usually not considered a name in Vietnam. However, I couldn't imagine a more perfect name to embody the love her birthmother had for Sophie Le.
Anyways, we would love any suggestions you might have!!! I will share our list soon...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sophie Le has something to say...

I'm potty trained!!


Celebrating the holidays...part three

Happy New Year!!! We are praying that this is the year that we see our next child (ren)'s face and travel to Ethiopia to meet her and bring her home to meet her sweet sisters! We can hardly wait! Today marks SEVEN (not sure on the weeks) months on the list so we are hoping that "the call" comes soon!

Last night, we had a New Year's Eve party. We made the tomato and cheese and cinnamon bun pizzas out of the latest Rachel Ray magazine....yummy! After dinner, we popped off party poppers in the driveway and finished the night up watching the countdown to the new year on YouTube. Luckily the girls didn't mind at all that the countdown was for 2008 and it was only 7:00 p.m.! They couldn't have been more excited or blowed their horns any louder if it had been 12:00 a.m.! We feel so thankful for all of the blessings of 2008!


Enjoying party poppers for the first time! Please disregard the messy garage...maybe that should be a new years resolution! Haha!


Today, Ally Grace and Brennan came to visit (with Mimi and Papa). We finally got a picture of the four kids together without Sophie Le crying. This picture is a year and a half in the making!


And one last picture...Hillary Ashton watching cartoons in our bed with her new robe and head towel :o)


Celebrating the holidays...part two

Papa & Ganny spent the night with us Christmas Eve night. On Christmas morning we had birthday pancakes for Jesus's birthday. The girls loved blowing out the candle after we sang happy birthday. In fact, that might have been even better than opening presents. The probably relit and blew out their candles ten times! After breakfast they opened presents. We slid by without too many questions about Santa visiting again this year. We have really tried to downplay the whole Santa aspect (expect for the yearly picture at the mall) of Christmas as much as possible so the girls could relate the celebration with the real reason for the season, our Savior. Hillary Ashton has definitely asked a lot more questions this year, but luckily the standard "I'm not sure" or "You'll have to ask Daddy later" responses have satisfied her this year. Sophie Le has been easy, she knows it is Jesus's birthday and has no desire to include Santa in her Christmas! Anyways, the girls had a blast opening presents before heading the Paragould to celebrate with the Arnold's. I wish I would have taken more pictures!

Christmas morning in their Christmas pjs. They open a pair of pjs and house shoes every year on Christmas Eve.


Here is their new Big Girl's bedroom they got for Christmas. We decided not to stack the bunk beds. I love how it turned out! Btw, they are doing great sleeping in the same room now! Praise the Lord!!


Sophie Le opening presents Christmas night.


Hillary Ashton opening up her cross necklace. The picture doesn't do her reaction justice. She loved it! You can also kinda see the little diamond ring we got her on her left hand. She has been wanting one just likes mommy's :o)



The next morning we went to the movies! We go to the movies about once a year so it was a big treat for the girls. I wish I had a pictures of Le, but she fell asleep about half way through the movie and didn't wake up when I put her in the car.


Sweet baby with her daddy.


Celebrating the holidays...part one

We had a wonderful holiday season. Our computer has been slowly taking it's last breaths over the last few weeks and therefore, I have not been able to blog very much. The "blue screen of death" is about to drive me CRAZY!! I have the laptop going now so I can share a few pictures of my angels celebrating Christmas and New Years.

Yearly tradition of eating candy out of little bowls...oh wait, I mean decorating a gingerbread house :o)




We also went to the mall to see Santa. We talked to Sophie Le all morning about sitting on Santa's lap and smiling. She was excited and ready. We knew she wasn't ready last year, but we thought we had a chance of getting the pic this year. We stood in line for about 45 minutes and she was still up for the adventure when it was finally our turn...until Santa looked at her. It was all over. The picture turned out pretty cute, I need to scan it in so you can see it. Pretty funny stuff.

Hillary Ashton was one of the four rag dolls at the 12 days of Christmas children's choir program at church. Here are the super cute rag dolls. These sweet girls are also Hillary Ashton's schoolmates.

Hill is the second from the right.


And the one of the left. As you can imagine she was so excited to be on stage!


We also spent several fun nights driving around looking at Christmas lights in our pjs. Our favorite lights were at the Burn's Park drive through light show.

I personally thought the razorbacks should have been chasing the alligators. Oh well!


Little town of Bethlehem.


On Christmas Eve we went to our church's Christmas Eve candlelight service. Hillary Ashton was so excited to get to hold her own candle this year! The rest of our family wore jeans to the service, but in true Hillary Ashton fashion, she had to dress up and have her hair curled. I can only imagine this child in about ten years!! She did look sweet though!