Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Presley!!


Our sweet baby is TWO years old today! It was exactly 11 months ago today that she came into our lives. Her adoption and transition has been so much better than expected. She has fit right into our family. We love her so much!

Her are some things that we love (and some we don't love so much) about our sweet Presley:

1. She is very BIG!! She is on the 95th percentile for both height and weight. This morning on our bathroom scale she was 30 pounds! I take her to the doctor tomorrow for her "official" measurements and will let everyone know what they say.

2. She loves to eat. She is definitely our best eater.

3. She loves dresses, nightgowns, hats, and sunglasses. She is very much a girly girl!!

4. She LOVES her bath and going swimming. We she first came home she was terrified of the bath. She has only been swimming twice, but her favorite thing is to wear her arm floaties and just float there and doesn't want anybody to touch her! We joined the YMCA and won't be surprised at all if she is swimming this summer.

5. She has very good fine motor skills. She has been an expert with silverware for at least 6 months. And now she refuses to eat with toddler silverware and has to eat with the big ones.

6. She has the best laugh EVER!!

7. She loves to mother her dolls, feed them, put them in bed, cover them up, and give them lots of kisses!

8. Though she is very coordinated, she is also clumsy! People tell me that toddlers that are tall trip a lot. We wouldn't know, our biggest biological child is only on the 15th percentile for height!!

9. She is a daddy's girl! It is great to see because when she came home she wouldn't even look at her daddy for 6 weeks without screaming!

10. She mimics everything people do. She studies them and does the exact arm motions, stance, everything. It is really funny!

11. She has a very strong personality. She will let you know when she isn't happy with what is going on. But I have also learned that once you lay down the law and enforce it, she is VERY good at following the rules. She is quite cooperative once she knows that you aren't going to back down. But until she is done testing your limits, better grab some ear plugs!!

12. I LOVE giving her a time out. Sounds crazy I know. I have only given her about 4 of them and she is so good at them. It is so cute to see her sit in that big chair quietly without complaining. And then when the buzzer goes off she gives the biggest hugs ever!

As all adoptive parents, our thoughts on this day also turn to her birth mother and family. Her birth mom has no way of knowing what has happened to her. I wish I could let her know that she is happy and healthy with a mom, dad, 2 brothers, and a sister that love and cherish her very much. That she will be given every opportunity that she wouldn't have had in China. That she has excellent medical care and her cleft lip has been fixed and will be revised in a few years and won't even be noticeable. I can't even imagine the pain her birth mom feels about not knowing what has happened to her precious girl. I hope that somehow she can just "know" that she is having a wonderful life. I know her birth mother would be so happy that she is in America. The Chinese people consider those babies going to America as very blessed. Her birth mother made the absolute best choice for her daughter. That action of abandoning her (I HATE that word) shows the amount of unconditional love they have for her.

I haven't taken a lot of picture the last couple of weeks (I know it's a shock to most of you)!! But here are a few snapshots of our big 2-year-old!!! Happy Birthday Presley Claire Xue!!! We love you very, very much!!!

Wild pigtails

Carson and Presley

Monday, April 20, 2009

Presley's first time-out and I receive Bad Mother of the Year award

On Friday night Kendall, Presley, and I were watching Supernanny. Presley was very intrigued by these screaming very poor behaved children. During the show Supernanny worked a lot on their time-outs. The next day Presley wouldn't give me something. I can't remember now what it was, but she was putting it behind her back and saying "no!" She can really be a spitfire at times! So I told her if she didn't give it to me she would have a timeout. Again she said "No!" So I picked her up and put her on a chair, told her she was having a timeout and why, and set the timer for 1 minute. Would you believe she sat there the whole time without making a peep!! She knew EXACTLY what was happening. When the timer went off I went over to her and she immediately put her arms around my neck for a hug. She learned from Supernanny and knew that was the step that came next. Amazing!!

Okay, now for the not so amazing moment of the weekend. All of the doors in our house are the type with a long handle that you pull down to open. I hate them because there is no way to childlock them. I was with Presley and Kendall and realized that I hadn't seen Landon in a while. That isn't unusual as he is really good at entertaining himself and we will find him up in his room playing legos or reading books by himself. I ran out to the garage to find a screaming little boy. He was holding onto a cloth diaper that Derek had used to clean up some yard equipment so it was dirty and gross. I took that out of his hands and he screamed, obviously he was using that for comfort. I brought him in and he was very upset for about 10 minutes. I think he might have been in the garage for up to a half an hour!! Kendall had High School Musical music playing in the family room that is right next to the garage, so we couldn't hear him cry. The doorknob going out to the garage is the easy kind, but coming inside is the round kind that he can't open. So from now on we are locking the door going out to the garage all the times!! I felt so awful. I'm the type of mother that has to know where her children are at all times, especially in public. But sometimes I let my guard down a little at home because it is fairly child proofed, they can't get out (even the gate to the yard has a lock on it) and we have a flip lock at the top of our front door so they can't open it. I'm just glad that he was okay and he seems to have forgiven me!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Would you be able to resist??

This morning I woke up at 5:30 and started on my transcription work from yesterday and started tackling last week's laundry, along with the usual feeding, dressing, and attending to every need and want of the small fries. At 1:30 I finally finished my transcription, still had about 5 loads of laundry to wash, needed to fold and put away not only this week's laundry, but the laundry I never folded from the week before! I put the babies down and was completely exhausted. I just wanted to take a nap, but still had tons to do!! Kendall came to me and really wanted to do her Easy Bake Oven. What's a mother to do? With the words to Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Cinderella" running through my head, I poured myself a BIG glass of Diet Pepsi Max and baked a cake!! Then she wanted to make a lot of cakes to take to the park and sell for 10 cents each so she can help earn money since daddy doesn't have a job right now. Very sweet!! Maybe next week.......after the laundry!

The Baker

Friday, April 17, 2009

Presley's Finding Ad

This is Presley's finding ad. This is the only "baby" picture we have of her. In the newspaper they publish all of the babies with their picture in case some of them are looking for a lost child. The date on this paper is October 30, 2007, Presley's birthday is April 30, 2007 and on her ad it says she was found on May 8, 2007. It is really sad to see some of the older children that are on here. One of them has a birthday of 7/5/2002 and found on 4/29/2007. He was almost 5!! A lot of times older children are abandoned when they have a medical condition that needs attention and their family cannot afford the care they need. I could not imagine leaving my Carson (who just turned 6) because he needed some type of surgery. I would hope that I would have the same courage and love to be able to let him go so that he could get better care. That is the ultimate test of a mother's love. I can't imagine how many families in China mourn their children they love so much and chose to give them a better life. They have to walk away and never will know what happens to their children. I have heard of several occasions where a family will adopt a child and they will notice the same person seeming to be whereever they are, obviously making sure that their child or relative is being well taken care of. Since Presley was from Baoji and we received her in Xi'an, her birth family wouldn't have had the chance to do that. I hope that somehow they know in their hearts that she is well taken care of and very, very loved!! Okay, I have to stop thinking about that, it always makes me cry!!

Click on the picture below for a larger view.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mystery solved

I know what the back of the pictures say now! Two say "DangXue before her operation" and the other two say "DangXue after her operation." Nothing I didn't know, but at least I don't have to wonder what they say!! I will assume that the date they were processed is pretty close to the date they were taken. I would think that with so many kids that they would process them fairly quickly.

I posted them on my Facebook and had forgotten that my guide while I was in China was a Facebook friend. Duh!!! Thank you Christine!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Presley's referral pictures

Here are the pictures the orphanage staff gave me when we received Presley. On the backs of the photos are the date they were processed. The first two were processed 03/18/2008 and the next two were processed on 05/23/2008. We received her on 05/30/2008. I have no idea what the Chinese characters on the back say. Does anyone know??? These are the pictures they were getting ready to send to an agency that would find a family for her. But we got to her first!!

Here are some pictures of her orphanage. It looks very clean and bright!! Though I'm not sure how much time she spent here as she was with a foster family.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Very yummy easy chicken recipe!!

In our church we have 4 wards (congregations) that meet in the same building. They start at 8, 10, 12, and 2. This year we have the lovely time of 2-5. The kids are very crabby during church and come home starving!! So there was no fancy Easter dinner this past Sunday. I found this GREAT chicken recipe for the crock pot. It is called "Busy Day Chicken" and I found it at The first time I made it a couple of weeks ago it was really good. This time it was excellent!! I used KC Masterpiece Mesquite BBQ sauce (last time I used Walmart brand) and I poured some inside the chicken (I forgot that step last time).

1 (4 pound) chicken
1 1/2 cups prepared barbeque sauce (I used the whole bottle - 18 oz)

1. Put chicken, legs up, into slow cooker. Pour sauce over and inside the chicken. Cover.

2. Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low setting. It is not a good idea to check it, as steam escapes and it takes a quite a while to reheat.

That's it! I don't think it gets easier than that!! The chicken was incredibly moist and yummy!!

Kendall funny - Kendall and Carson both got a Golden Hawk award on Friday. It is a certificate because they did something well, were kind etc. They weren't there on Friday to get it. Kendall said "I got mine today (Monday) because I was abstinent on Friday." I sure hope so!! I know she has never heard that word. I wouldn't think they are teaching abstinence to 2nd graders!!

Carson funny - "Mom, I don't want to get married at the temple. I want to marry Brenna here so that we can live here. I don't want to leave you." I tried to explain that he could get married at the temple and then he and Brenna can come back here to live. He was very excited about that idea!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter best.......yah right!!

Remember at Christmas when I decided to get a picture of all 4 kids in this window? Well, I tried again and got the same result!! NONE of the pictures turned out. I finally settled with Presley outside (the only one who wouldn't run away) and got some pictures, though the only pictures that turned out were the ones that didn't include her face!! I have a really hard time taking pictures here in Arizona.....too much sun and we don't exactly have an abundance of shade trees!! Oh well!! You can at least see that they looked cute in their Easter Sunday best!!

As good as it gets!!



Passed out

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I Heart Faces - Friends


JUDGES: The whole picture can be found here I am having issues trying to resize my pictures on my blog!! But I'm having someone do a blog makeover for me so it should be better soon! Thanks!

This weeks theme at I Heart Faces is "My Friend and I." I took this picture back in October right before Miss M (the adorable redhead!!) moved to Utah. These are 2 of Kendall's very best friends. We had a fun evening painting pumpkins and of course a girl party wouldn't be complete without singing and dancing to High School Musical!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Presley's Adoption Timeline

  • 8/15/2007 - Received referral for Geneva!
  • 9/13/2007 - Sent LOI (letter of intent) to our agency
  • 9/29/2007 - LOI was sent to China!
  • 10/08/2007 - LOI was delivered to the CCAA in China
  • 10/29/2007 - PA (pre-approval) was issued!!
  • 1/15/2008 - DTC (dossier to China)
  • 1/18/2008 - Dossier delivered to CCAA
  • 1/25/2008 - LID (log-in date)
  • 4/1/2008 - LOA (letter of acceptance)
  • 4/25/2008 - CCAA issues TA (travel approval)
  • 5/22/2008 - Leave for China!!!
  • 5/25/2008 - Met our sweet Lexi!
  • 5/26/2008 - Discovered Lexi had brain damage
  • 5/30/2008 - Met precious Presley!
  • 6/7/2008 - Arrived home

My Family

My Family
My favorite people!!