Emma's Gotcha Day Video

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is our first Valentine's Day as a family of 4. It's different to think that this is our first Valentine's Day with Emma but it's her second. On this day that celebrates love, I hope with all my heart Emma knows how much we love her. She is such a funny and precious girl. Her new thing is to take her lips and pooch them together. It's the cutest thing. I love how she calls for Chase when he leaves the room. Today he wasn't exactly being the best big brother and in her not so nice tone, she said Chase as if letting him know to knock it off! She loves "real" food and even points to what we have and says "that." When she does get what we have, she pats her belly and says "Mmm." Bagels are her new favorite snack. I think she loves being able to hold it by herself. What a sweet girl we are blessed with!

For Valentine's Day Ryan got Emma and I these shirts. I love them! What a neat conversation starter for adoption! Thank you sweetheart for the thoughtful gift, I Love You!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Emma's Closet

A blog mom that I follow has a sale of her daughter's clothes after she outgrows them. I thought this was an excellent idea! So I have placed some items from Emma's closet for sale. You can take a peek by clicking here. The password is closet. All items are arranged and you can find a description and price by clicking on the picture. Email me at growingourfamily@gmail.com if you would like to purchase something. Please refer to the item name (Outfit 1, etc) when purchasing. If this goes well, I'll try it again when the season changes. Happy shopping!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Emma's Dol Party

Yesterday we officially celebrated Emma's 1st Birthday with a Korean American Dol Party. She did wonderful and loved all the excitement. I have been planning and preparing for a couple of weeks, hoping to make sure everything was perfect for our sweet girl. I always want to remember her birth culture and incorporate it into our lives. Family and friends joined us for the wonderful celebration of her birthday. There are many traditions associated with a Korean child's first birthday. We tried to include them as well as add some of our own. Here's some pictures of Emma's special day.

The Dol table is generally filled with fruit and stacked with items. This symbolizes prosperity for the child. We stacked fruit, gumballs, gumdrops, and cookies. It was a lot of fun decorating the gumdrop tree. Although I don't know how they get some of the items to stay in Korea. We used hot glue which meant the gumdrop tree wasn't for eating...
The backdrop was a quilt we got for Emma. I have made a tradition to get her a quilt on her birthday and other special occasions. I think quilts are a neat keepsake and she can use them later!

This is made from a styrofoam cone and 7 bags of gumdrop slices... and lots of hot glue!!!

A special thanks to SevenCupcakes for the cupcake toppers. They were adorable!!!

The cake was placed on Emma's great-grandmother's cake stand. I thought it would be neat to include something from each grand-grandmother.

The punch bowl also belonged to one of Emma's great-grandmothers as well as the utensil holders.

Instead of party favors, we decided to have a candy bar with treat bags for the kiddos to enjoy.

This is the Doljabee table. The items in the tray are presented to the birthday child and it is said that whatever she picks will signify what she will be in life.

Some were traditional Korean items...
Thread- long life
Wooden spoon- good cook
Money - wealthy
Book- scholar/excels in academics

And then we added a few of our own:
Bible- ministry
Softball- athletic
Stethoscope- Doctor/Nurse
Apple- Teacher
Lineman tool- Linegirl (this was an item picked out by Uncle Zak)

She choose the microphone during the Doljabee. It doesn't surprise me as she loves music. She dances to music, sings at church, and stops anytime she hears music. That's my girl. The next item she chose was the stethoscope, so it seems she might be a musical doctor! Maybe she will sing for her patients... The softball was the third item, which makes Daddy and big brother proud!

In the Korean culture, it is customary to give our towels as party favors. We made these and gave them to the Doljabee raffle winner. The rest were given to those who answered questions about Korea correctly.

Another component of a Dol is to have a blessing/prayer for the child. We had guests write a blessing or prayer on the photo frame and will put a picture of Emma in her hanbok in the frame and hang it in her room. I thought this was a neat keepsake for her special day.

There is always a picture of the child and the Dol table. Emma was interested in playing with the cake since it was so close!

This head covering is worn at the Dol. She kept it on for a few minutes. Usually they are too big, but Emma is big for her age, so it fit pretty well.

The Dol table

She loved the balloons!

Doesn't she look beautiful!

Mommy and Emma

Our wonderful family. We are so thankful for Emma. She is a blessing to us and we know God has big plans for her!

Her birthday outfit. Running around in her tutu.

We gave her a set of training chopsticks from Korea for her birthday. She liked them...and used them as drumsticks...musical, I think so!

This is Giggles, an asian message doll. I picked this up at a local boutique. She is asian and has a opening on the base to place a note. We wrote Emma a note and she can look at it when she gets older.

Her own cake to destroy...

She didn't know about it at first...but with time she managed to smush it and get it everywhere. It was so sweet, she even shared with Daddy, Chase, and Nana.

This is a day that our family will always remember. I want to thank all those who came and share this special day with Emma. An extra thank you to those who came and helped decorate, made punch, stacked cookies, blew up balloons, donated gumballs, cut up fruit, and helped clean up after. Thanks so much, we love you all!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

147 Million Orphans

That number should bother us. It should keep us awake at night. What can you do to help unite a child with a forever family? Pray, give, raise awareness, adopt...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You're Invited!!!

We would like to invite all of our friends and family for a celebration in honor of Emma. We would love to share this special time with you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Korean Cuisine-Seoul Garden

In celebration of Emma being home 4 months and her first birthday coming soon, we decided to experience part of Emma's heritage by going to an authentic Korean restaurant. A blog friend recommended the Seoul Garden in Nashville. Thanks Bate's mom! We went with my sister-in-law, her husband, and two kiddos. Let's just say it was an experience! My brother-in-law braved all the "appetizers" that came out prior to the meal. We all played it safe by ordering beef and rice. The side dishes were interesting and somewhat spicy. The kids weren't impressed as they sampled the rice and beef.

4 Months Home

Emma has been home for 4 months and in some ways it seems like yesterday when we received the call that she was on her way home to us. I remember that day so vividly. It was Monday and I was teaching reading when my cell phone rang. Of course I don't usually answer my phone during a school day but I knew Emma had gotten her visa the Friday before and that a travel call could happen although not likely on Monday. Little did I know that she was already on a plane to the United States. The weekend and extra 14 hours difference in Seoul made it impossible to let us know any sooner. At that moment, I burst into tears and my second grade students were all cheering and clapping as they knew it was the call I was waiting for. Our agency director informed me that we must go to Detroit that day so we would be there when Emma arrived early the next day. After calling family and scrambling to get our clothes together (Emma's bag was packed that weekend) we drove to Michigan as a family of 3 and came back a family of 4. After arriving around 3 in the morning and getting little sleep, I remember laying awake that night talking to God and thanking Him for the blessing that I know I don't deserve. Love is an amazing thing especially when that love comes from Him. I've been asked by others, "Do you love her the same way you love Chase?" And my answer is of course I do. The love that I have for my children come from God and it's an unconditional love that doesn't considered whether or not they grew under my heart or in it.

Chase said that the time has flown by since she came home. It does seems like it. It also feels like she has always been here. Tomorrow we celebrate her birthday and I can't believe that she will be 1. She's learning so many new things and her personality continues to blossom. She's walking everywhere which means she is getting into everything! We love you Emma!