Friday, March 31, 2006

Morning Bath

Both girls love the tub...
...and each other.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Little Piggies

Somewhere under that blanket is a girl... but the only thing showing are her cute little feet!

When I went to get Gwen up from her nap this afternoon she was still sleeping, and had completely covered her head with the blanket. Only toes showed!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Museum Day

Today we did a little museum hopping... along with the rest of the world! Remind me next year that spring break for all the public schools is not the best time for Chicago museums. We had fun despite the crowds... we went for specific exhibits, which allowed us to see what we came for and then go!
We checked out the shoe exhibit at the Field Museum. It has shoes that look quite familiar, and others that look completely unfamiliar. Here is a very tiny (about 5 inches long) pair of women's shoes from China... for bound feet.
These child's straw sandles caught my eye because they were from the Sichuan province of China, where Gwen was born. The placard says they are circa 1950... maybe something her birth mother's mother or father could have worn as a child?
Posing in a bug in the "Underground World" exhibit. While I was taking this picture, someone watching said, "What a cute family!" That made me smile. :-)
Now at the Shedd Aquarium, Madelyn and Nellie take a ride on a sea turtle!
Seth wanted to check out the Gentoo penguins at the aquarium for a presentation he is going to be doing, so we camped out in front of this window for a while.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Interlude Between Clothes and Jammies

Madelyn took these pictures... just a little silly fun!

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I realized recently that I had never taken a picture of the clothes that Gwen was wearing the day she came to us. So I did, and here they are.

The first layer, on the left, are both a soft cotton knit. The socks, which were two times the size of her feet, were pulled up over this first layer of pants. The second layer, in the bright orange and bright green, are both knitted. The green pants are completely split in the crotch, which is common for Chinese babies to make toileting more convenient. The top layer was the pink one, which is a fine corduroy and heavily padded, almost quilted. The cute panda shoes have a squeaker in the heels, as do all of the shoes we bought for her and for gifts while we were in China. She still wears these often.Here we are in our hotel room in Chengdu, just a couple of hours after laying eyes on each other for the first time. She is wearing all three layers of pants, the socks, and the cotton shirt. When I look at this picture I can't believe that it was only 3 1/2 months ago...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Working with Socks

I took these pictures about 6 weeks ago and just found them... she is getting much better at her sock work these days! Thought the series was too cute to leave out, though!

Hmmm... what do I do to get these things where they belong?Will this work?

I think I need to start over!
I guess I'll keep on trying!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Liptak Weekend

Last weekend we all gathered at Scott's parents to celebrate Aunt Joy and Uncle Eric's marriage and renewal of vows ceremony. Gwen got to meet her aunts and uncles for the first time. She did amazingly well with all the new faces. Here she is riding on Uncle Justin's back with Madelyn.
The whole crew, minus Uncle Andrew and cousins Meredyth and Maggi, who live in Atlanta.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gwen is 2!

Can't believe our girl has been with us only three months now. Today we celebrated her second birthday. I couldn't help thinking of the new Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas song as we sang to her, the one with the little boy singing of his wish for a family, a family who will "sing me Happy Birthday for the next one hundred years." Well, we sang Happy Birthday to Gwen at least ten times tonight. We sang, and she danced. Every time we came to the end of the song, she'd start nodding her head "yes" for us to do it again. We did, and she danced again. Here she is loving Daddy's singing and moving to the music!
We did some loud cheering tonight, the kind where we all yell "Yeah!" and put our hands in the air. Gwen loves this game!
New bike! She doesn't quite have the hang of pedaling yet, but she is so coordinated in other areas, I think she will figure it out quickly. She was very excited to try it!

It has been an amazing thing to have God add Gwen to our family. It has been an amazing journey~ spiritually, emotionally, and geographically. It has been an amazing adjustment to have a toddler in the house... an amazing amount of work! It continues to amaze us as we watch our older children care for Gwen so unselfishly. It is amazing how God worked out the finances of her adoption. It is amazing how well Gwen has settled into our family. Amazing how she is learning to speak English, how she has learned to play in the playpen, how she sleeps so well and plays so hard. We are amazed that God chose us to be her parents, that He gave us this privilege of knowing and loving her. And somewhere in China, there is another mother who gave birth to her two years ago... she did an amazingly courageous thing, to give her daughter the chance for a different life.

Thank you. I want you to know that our girl had a very Happy Birthday.

Swinging With Seth

Last week we had some warm days... I had just found a swing for Gwen and put it up in the tree in our backyard... swinging is the thing to do on warm days. She is content to stay in it for quite a while, just looking around at all that is outside, things that we haven't been seeing a lot of until now. Seth came up with a fun and ingenious way to push her... from up in the tree!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Girl in White

I know, it's a lot of pictures of the same girl in the same dress... but you should see how many I took and didn't post! She just looked so lovely, I couldn't help myself.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Gwen's Dedication

Yesterday was a special day for our family. It was Gwen's dedication day, which is a time when we publically dedicate her to God and ask for His blessing on her life. She was prayed for in our church service, both at the microphone by the senior pastor, and by our friend Josh, who held her during the dedication and is also a pastor at our church. Josh prayed for Scott and I as Gwen's parents, that God would cause us to be the kind of mother and father that she needs. He thanked Him for her life and for bringing us together. The senior pastor prayed that when questions come later, that God would give us the words to answer them. Gwen was given a little pink Bible with her name in it along with a rose and a dedication certificate. She wore a dress that my mom made for all the granddaughters to wear for their dedications... Madelyn wore it when she was 3 months old~ amazingly Gwen was able to fit into it! She looked so beautiful in it!

Later in the day we had some friends over to celebrate with us. We used the placemat and chopstick sets we had bought in China for the meal, and served wine Scott bought in Yibin, the city where the orphanage Gwen lived in is. Gwen and Madelyn wore their matching Chinese dresses. It was a really fun evening, topped off with a special cake for Gwen and then a group picture. Several families joined us in praying for her again at the end of the evening. We all sat around on the floor in the family room. Gwen was just kind of playing around us. When we closed our eyes to pray, I peeked and watched her walk around and look at everyone, peering into their faces. She kissed me several times and also several of our friends! It was so sweet! I think she felt comfortable kissing them because their eyes were closed! It was a neat time of prayer... such a blessing to have friends join us in that.
Look at this... I wonder what it tastes like!
Pretty yummy!

You try some, Daddy!
Whole group!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Last Weekend... One More Picture

Here we are with the little people around us! I miss you, Sarah... I wish we didn't live so far apart. Thanks for a wonderful weekend! I love you.
Love, Your Sister

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cooking Cousins

We attempted a little baking over the weekend. Gwen and Caden each stood on a stool on either side of me, and helped put together the ingredients for homemade biscuits. It was quite a trick to keep them both engaged without spilling oil or milk on the floor, or flinging flour up to the cupboards. They both wanted to help at once, and their help was... well, not very helpful. Sarah tried to lean over the edge of the counter to take pictures of the whole process... this is the best she could come up with. The biscuits turned out light and delicious, despite their somewhat precarious beginnings!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cousins share... sometimes

Caden and Gwen are quite a pair. Just six weeks apart and almost two, there were a few sharing struggles this past weekend. Sarah, my sister, kept saying, "Sharing is fun!", but I'm not sure the kids believed her. We had to do a little forced sharing at times! One thing they loved to share was drinks... doesn't it just figure?! Taking turns drinking from the same straw was lots of fun. Sharing a toy car... well, that was another thing altogether! Here they are sharing a snack... kind of. They were both eating bananas. That counts, right?!