Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cousins at the Park

We took a walk on Saturday to a little playground a few blocks from my sister's house. Caden and Gwen loved the slide! Over and over they went up the stairs, through the blue tunnel, and down the slide. After many rounds, we moved them over to follow Madelyn onto the tire swing. All three rode together for a few minutes, amid many giggles and grins, until Gwen slipped down through the middle onto her back on the ground. The party of three broke up after that, with Caden and Madelyn moving on to the next attraction, but Gwen gave it another go on her own.

You can see from her grin that her fall did not lower her opinion of tire swings!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Kissing Cousins

Gwen, Madelyn and I returned home today from a long weekend visit in Philadelphia to meet my new niece and their new cousin, Alyssa Jane. Gwen couldm't get enough of Alyssa... she was constantly puckering up to kiss her! She was also quite distressed whenever she heard her fuss or cry. Several times she started crying herself when Lyssa was crying! She would point to her and make sure we all knew that Alyssa was in distress. More pictures to come!See Gwen's lips are all ready for another kiss!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Two Favorite Girls

I remember when Seth was born... boy, does it seem like a long time ago now... Caleb had been Scott's "favorite boy" and he often called him that. Seth's birth required a shift to "my two favorite boys", and Scott put the saying to a little tune that he used to sing to them all the time.

Now we have a second set of favorites!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Here I Am!

Another picture from our friend Michael...

Monday, February 20, 2006

After Bath and Before Bed

I have a couple of clean and cozy girls at my house!

At Shedd Aquarium

Saturday we went to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We had some friends visiting for the weekend with their children, and it was a cold day, so passing the time at one of the best aquariums in the country was the Thing To Do. Gwen absolutely loved it! She pointed and marveled at every fish and swimming creature she saw. She gazed in wonder at the beluga whales, the penguins, the sting rays. After the dolphin show and lunch, she conked out in the stroller for the rest of our time there. As we were getting ready to leave, putting coats on the other kids and leaving her to slumber in the stroller until the last possible minute, I glanced down at her. She was sleeping so completely peacefully, her little rosebud lips parted slightly. She had on one of my favorite outfits, with matching green squeaker shoes, and had her big Shedd Aquarium Member sticker on the front of her pale green fleece top. Suddenly I was overwhelmed at how far she's come... from how geographically far away she's come, how far we traveled to bring her home, and how many worlds apart in experiences her life will be and already is from what it would have been if she'd stayed at the Yibin Social Welfare Institute in the Sichuan province. I stood in the lobby of Shedd Aquarium and cried. I cried tears of joy and love and gratitude for God's marvelous plan for her and for us. How did a little girl from China become a member not only of Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, but also of our family? It seems like a one in a million chance.

It seems to me, as I think of it now, that Gwen coming to us is not so dissimilar from us coming to Christ. We were separated by so great a divide... and yet, in His perfect plan of salvation, we are drawn by His Spirit to the family of God.

Friday, February 17, 2006


I'll tell you what, I'm doing everything around here! First it was the laundry......then my brother makes me take over the vacuuming, too!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Two in Yellow

Daddy has another girl! This is (obviously!) another one of Michael's amazing pictures.

What a Difference a Year Makes

Future drivers check out the Mini Cooper... not quite enough space for all of us!
Last Valentine's Day we were celebrating because our dossier had been sent to China on that day. We knew then that we had a long wait a head of us... turned out to be seven months until we got Gwen's referral, and then another two until we traveled to get her. Now here we are on the other side of it already! Yesterday was Valentine's Day again... I was in the Social Security Administration office in the afternoon, waiting for two hours to apply for Gwen's social security number. Fortunately she was not with me, but was home napping with her brothers as babysitters. Then last night we all went to the auto show in Chicago. Gwen had a grand time running around in her squeaky shoes, attracting lots of attention. She joined her brothers and sister getting in all the cars. On the way home, Scott and I marveled at the changes in our family over the past year... we are SO very thankful for this little person God has given to all of us!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I can almost see...

...if I stand on my tiptoes on the stool!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Gwen's Short Program

Olympic figure skating began tonight with the couples' short program... Gwen joined right in with her own version of sit spins, triple axels and toe loops. She earned high marks from the judges for her energentic performance. Ta-da!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Gwen has a strange fear of toy alligators. We seem to have several around our house... maybe as many as four. The first one she saw was one that we keep with the bath toys. I put the basket of bath toys in the tub with her one of the first nights she was home with us. She pointed and scooted away from that alligator. She wanted it out. When she saw it in the bathroom at any other time, she would point and back away, a concerned look on her face and making her all purpose noise- "Uh, uh."

Since then I've noticed that she has this same reaction with the other various alligators around our house. She will be happily playing in the basement, when suddenly she spots one. Points, backs away, concerned look, "Uh, uh." I put it out of sight and she's fine.

Yesterday we were all in basement. We were working on picking up the toys, that never ending task. I was putting away Playmobil. Now, we have a good variety of Playmobil animals. Gwen was playing with something nearby, so I decided to test her plastic animal fear. How about the tiger? One of the scarier animals, as scary animals go. I showed it to her- nothing. No problem. Okay, how about the bison? We have a Playmobil bison. A large animal. No reaction from Gwen but mild interest. What about the bear? Another scary one. I even made it growl at her. She smiled. Then came the Playmobil alligator. I don't think she had ever seen the Playmobil alligator. The ones she had pointed at and backed away with her concerned look have not been this one. Maybe this one is fine. I bring it into view. "Gwen, look." Uh oh. Concerned look, backing away.

Gwen does not like toy alligators.


This soup looks really yummy!I have an idea for how to get it in my mouth fast!
I got most of it in my mouth... delicious!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I found it! It was at the children's museum, like we hoped it would be. Scott was able to get it Friday. Whew!

Pet Shop

Last night Scott was working late and I had had quite enough of the day by the time dinner was over, so I decided it would be best for all of our sanity if we left the house. Anyone else ever feel that way?

I had a few things to get at Sam's Club, and there happens to be a pet store in the same plaza, so we went over to it after the errands were done. Seth is in the market for a parakeet, so he went right to the big circular enclosure where they are housed, and he was able to get some questions answered about parakeet care. Madelyn loves anything soft and cuddley, and Gwen seems to as well. First we held a bunny. Madelyn wanted to hold it too, and the bunny was small enough that she was able to easily. Gwen wanted to hug the bunny... a little too hard, so I had to be careful to moniter her advances. When she wasn't trying to hug the bunny, she was leaning down in it's face, making kiss noises and saying, "Ha, ha", which is her version of "hi". Next we asked to hold a little chihuahua puppy. We took it into a little playroom. Gwen made her kiss noises again. Madelyn declared, "I want this puppy more than diamonds... more than jewels or gems or crystals!" Oh my, what love!

It was a nice way to pass a little time. Fortunately we were able to get out the the pet store empty handed, although it's possible that a parakeet is in our future.

Another picture

Mommy and Gwen

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Letter From The President

Gwen's certificate of citizenship arrived in the mail yesterday. We've been waiting for this. When Scott brought the mail in, I spotted the big yellow envelope with "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration" in the return address.

"It's here!"

We tore into it and looked first at the actual certificate, an impressive looking document with an original photo on it, one that was taken in China when we'd had Gwen only about a week. Her lips are pouty (she has beautiful lips!) and her eyes wide. She's wearing an aqua hooded sweatshirt and has a pink bow in her tiny ponytail on top of her head. Her bangs are noticibly shorter than they are now. The picture had been taken to be used on her U.S. visa, so we'd seen it before and thought it was so cute then! The document states the following, in many more words than this~

"Be it known that Gwendolyn Yu Sarah Liptak... became a citizen of the United States of America on December 22, 2005 and is now in the United States".

The document is cool to look at, but the accompanying letter from George W. Bush is what brought us to tears. The second paragraph is what did it.

"Americans are united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals. The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, and that no insignificant person was ever born."

When Gwen was born in China, her immediate future was uncertain. In China, she would not be given a chance. She was not allowed to belong to the family that she arrived into.

But God had other plans for Gwen, and I believe He guided the woman who gave birth to her. He gave her the strength and courage to do what seems to us unthinkable... abandon her baby. But she knew she was providing Gwen with a chance at a way out, a chance for a better life. Somehow, by the hand of God, Gwen was found and chosen for us, chosen to be in our family and thus, be an American.

Thank you, America, for receiving our daughter with open arms. We pray that she will find acceptance and love here always. Thank you, Jesus, for leading us to find each other!

What else can I say about this? She's beautiful!

Our friend Michael and his wife and daughter came over last night. Michael is a photographer... a really good one. He took lots of pictures for us as a welcome home gift for Gwen, and then he and Tricia fixed us a delicious dinner! I think the pictures are brilliant. It didn't hurt that he had some pretty good looking kids to work with! I'll post more of the pictures in future posts. Thank you, Michael and Tricia! If you'd like to see more of Michael's work, go to picsbymichael.com.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Me (seth) and Gwen

Hi its Seth
Im Lynne's son.
I just wanted to tell you about what I did with Gwen today.
Well I just got a sound/afects book and I learned how to imatate a dog.
And Gwen loves dogs so I imatated a dog and tryed to tickle her and she laughed and laughed and laughed the end. ROOF ROOF

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Don't Have Time

I don't seem to have time these days to write about all the things I'd like to. Topics I'd like to muse about and record for posterity, for Gwen to read later, pop into my mind from time to time, but I can't seem to get enough minutes together to actually get them on paper... I mean type them into my blog.

Topics like how Gwen clapped and clapped during the State of the Union address the other night. Every time there was applause, she joined in. Scott's comment was, "You have no idea, Little Girl." She's an American now... amazing.

Things like the wonderful kisses Gwen's been giving me. She gets her little arms so tightly wrapped around my neck and plants very wet kisses right on my lips, over and over.

Times when she eggs Scott on to chase her by pushing on his chest a little and then backing up, like she's saying "Come and get me, Dad!"

How she has her own little abbrieviated sign language, where she tries to combine the signs for "help" and "please" and it turns into a quick hand clap and chest tap.

About our first foray into celebrating Chinese New Year. We gave our kids their allowances in the traditional red envelopes that Chinese New Year gifts of money are presented in. Thank you, Jo-Ann, for bringing me the free red envelopes your bank was handing out! We went out for Chinese food. Then tonight we went to the Children's Museum at Navy Peir in downtown Chicago for their Chinese festival. We all explored the Monkey King activity area. Caleb took a Chinese calligraphy class and did really well trying his hand at Chinese characters. Seth and Madelyn did some Chinese painting that they made into lanterns, and we all watched some traditional Chinese dances. A nice little peek into Chinese culture.

I'd like to write about how Gwen really likes the quilt I made her. We always tuck it around her at naps and bedtime. This afternoon at naptime I added a second blanket on top of the quilt. She pushed it away. Then I tried to just lay it over her legs and feet. Nothing doing. She doesn't want any foreign blankets!

If I had time I'd tell about what a great dad Caleb is going to be. I'd tell how neat it is to watch him with Gwen, playing with her, encouraging her to obey me. I'd comment on how consistant he is with her, and how he reminds me to stay consistant.

So those are a few of the things I've thought of recently but don't have time to write about. No, I haven't any time. And now, my camera is lost so I don't have any pictures to post either. I think I left it at the Children's Museum at Navy Pier.

Oh well. Maybe this weekend I'll have a little time.