Bree Mei age 4yr

Bree Mei    age 4yr







Saturday, November 7, 2009


Many of you know that I lost my father over 8 years ago. It was and has been the lost of a lifetime for my mother and brother and I. But, our God is an awesome God and He has blessed my mother with another partner in life. On October 31st, my mother was married to John Smith. My sister in law and I were matron of honors, my brother gave her away and all of her grandchildren were bridesmaids and groomsmen. Bree was the flowergirl or should I say "leaf" girl. She walked down the aisle tossing silk leaves with complete preciseness. When she reached the front of the church she stopped, looked into her basket and saw a few more leaves and proceeded to dump the basket upside down to completely empty it- it was so adorable. What a beautiful Fall day it was for this event. We followed with a luncheon reception and then most of the out of town family congregated at my mother and John's new home. Bill and I took our children to his house however so we could ready them for trick or treating!

Mom and John and their wedding cake

Our Family & Bill's Family
My girls and Our family "Vampire" picture


Wow-I have been way behind on this blog so I am going to attempt to catch up! October was a busy month, culminating with Halloween and my mother's wedding! Brynn and Brooke finished up a very successful first grading period at school. Brynn finished out her first season of volleyball. Bree has been thriving in preschool. Her vocabulary is immense, we just are working on articulation. She is getting weekly PT and OT at school. Her newest accomplishment is being able to climb the stairs holding on with only one hand! Here are some fall pictures .....

Brooke's class party and Bree's class party.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


walking to class with her "packback"

The one thing about Bree is that she never wants to miss a good time! Any occassion she has to play with other children, she just jumps right in-something that Doug and I are grateful for with her disabilities. We enrolled Bree in the special needs preschool through our district. It is four half days a week and she absolutely could not wait to start (especially since her sisters began before her). There sure wasn't any case of jitters or seperation anxiety on that first day - "bye mom, bye dad, see ya yater". When we arrived two and half hours later to pick her up she didn't want to leave. "No want to go home, not fair". We didn't realize we had been so boring for her!!

Friday, August 21, 2009


The following poem was sent to us by a dear friend.


Once there were two women
Who never new each other.
One you do not remember
The other you call Mother.

Two different lives
Shaped to make you one.
One became your guiding star
The other became your sun.

The first one gave you life
And the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love
The second was there to give it.

One gave you nationality
The other gave you a name.
One gave you talent
The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears.
One heard your first sweet cry
The other dried your tears.

One sought for you a home
That she could not provide.
The other prayed for a child
And her hope was not denied.

And now you ask me through your tears
The age old question unanswered through the years.
Heridity or environment
Which are you a product of?
Neither my darling, neither
Just two different kinds of Love.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GOTCHA DAY !!!!!!!

One year ago today, thousands of miles away in China, a little girl was placed into our forever arms and made our family complete. We thank our Lord for His blessing and we say a prayer for Mei Qiu Qi's birth parents, that they have peace in their decision and know in their hearts that she is so incredibly loved and healthy.
A special hello to the Dancy family who were are companions on that long two week stay in China, developing a friendship that will last forever.

Friday, August 14, 2009


A couple of weekends ago we joined some friends of ours at the annual Dragon Boat Festival downtown. Pictured is Bree's friend Lily who is also 3. Lily was adopted from China at 9 months and we came to know her family when she came to my office as a patient. Her parents, Patrick and Donna, were instrumental in keeping us connected to home while we were in China as they had lent us their Panda phone to use. It is such a blessing for Bree to have this little friend her age to play with and grow up with-we hope it is a lifelong friendship!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We stocked our pond about 5 years ago and it is amazing how big our fish are now. So big, that the girls lines end up snapping while reeling a fish in. It is a guarantee though that you will catch a fish on our pond, especially when you entice the fish with some fish food! The girls went out the other night and Bree got to fish for the first time. Poor daddy spent his time baiting hooks and fixing broke lines. Of course we return any fish they can get even bigger and keep mommy out of the pond for swimming (eeek).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Our 4 generation picture

Last Sunday as we were returning from Chicago we learned that my dear and loving grandmother had gone home to be with our Lord. Grandma was 88 years old and lived a fulfilled life. She was the girls last surviving great grandparent and I pray that at least Brynn and Brooke will have wonderful memories of her. This past winter she stayed with my mother in Xenia. We were so blessed to be able to spend so much time with GG this past year because of this. We drove to upstate New York this past Wednesday through Friday for her services. Some of my most cherished childhood memories involved my Grandma. At her funeral the pastor asked many times if anyone would like to say something-I didn't and I should have now I am going to say in this blog what I should have stood and said at the funeral but just couldn't begin to say in words at the time.

These are the sweetest memories of my Grandma:

Her unbelievable tenderhearted nature
Her ability to never say anything mean
Her devotion to daily Bible reading
Her soft and silky white hair (that I loved to style for any event growing up)
Her incredibly soft, satin hands (that she always said was from doing dishes for 80 years!)
Her cute little giggle when she laughed
Her favorite color being pink (even had the farm house painted pink for a time!)
Her sometimes hard of hearing when watching TV, but then the ability to hear what you
didn't want her to from three rooms away.
Her fierce independence that she developed after my Grandfather died 18 years ago.
The stink she would put up if we wanted her to travel and stay with family for extended periods
of time as she would miss too many of her club meetings and parties with friends!
Her always waiting to order her dinner when eating out after everyone else and then getting
something someone else had ordered instead of what she really wanted (my dad caught
onto that eventually and then made her order first!)
All of the summers as a child that I would spend at the farm for a month at a time
Her saving of every plastic container that any food item came in (definitely from living through
the depression)
Her being the mother of four very successful children who then raised her eight grandchildren
who in turn are raising her twelve great- grandchildren.

My mom awoke the night before GG had died to see her with her arm and hand stretched out before her. When she asked her what she was doing she replied "I'm trying to reach that angels hand"-what an incredible ending!

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth......but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven....For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" Matthew 6:19-21

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Last year we had gorgeous weather, this year it was supposed to be gorgeous but as we are definitely used to in Toledo, the weather in the great midwest can change on a dime. The sun was shining but with the wind off Lake Michigan it was a bit nippy at times. We started off our day with The American Girl store, 9 a.m. sharp! Since the older girls had gotten their first dolls last year while here and Bree had gotten a Bitty Baby from her Aunt Riki and Uncle Bill, this trip was for clothes shopping and doll "pampering". Bree was more interested in pushing the sample dolls around in strollers then actually picking out outfits, but when she spotted the potty seat ensemble (with Brynn's help)-she was all over that! Since she has been potty trained, she loves Brooke's and her doll getting a new hairdo.

to do this to her dolls at home.
After American girl had tired us out, it was time for some shopping on Michigan Avenue and then a trip down to the Navy Pier. We had lots of fun at the Children's Museum and riding all the
The girls jammin it up on stage and then building a sailboat

Of course the Navy Pier wouldn't be complete without a Build A Bear store. Now, I am far from a fan of stuffed animals, but have seemed to have lost that battle in my house. Brynn and Brooke have been saying that Bree needs her own-so no time like the present. When we walked in she looked at all the choices and the one she decided to go with was the Panda Bear! We had a stuffed panda bear sent to her at the orphanage when we sent her a care package over a year ago. So it was interesting that she chose this as her animal (the panda we sent to her came with her on our gotcha day and has been packed away with other memorabilia from her orphanage).
Bree definitely got a kick out of creating this special bear for herself.

We had dinner at this awesome Italian restaurant called Maggiano's-they served family style so two entrees were more than enough to feed all of us. It sure is a good thing you do a lot of walking in Chicago................

Friday, July 3, 2009


Last July 4th weekend we traveled to Chicago for our first time as a family. We had so much fun that we decided to repeat our trip this year. I worked a half day and we headed out arriving around 5 pm. Last year we stayed at the Doubletree-very nice, but this year I had a difficult time finding a hotel that would cater to a family of 5 without having to get two rooms. Everyone said "just tell them 4", but I couldn't do that in good conscious and didn't want to be cramped in a hotel room. So with prayer I just kept calling around and checking and finally stumbled upon the Hilton Suites which would accomodate 5 in a decent size room that actually slept six. The rate when I first checked was a bit steep so I sat on it for a while and sure enough it dropped $30! So FYI for anyone with more than 4 in their family-you can get this room called an Alcove suite without having to "sneak" one of your children in!

We ate dinner tonight at the Cheesecake Factory--yummy! Dougs favorite dessert is strawberry cheesecake, so that was a nice finish. Me-I prefer anything chocolate so the girls and I ordered this Giardelli brownie/ice cream dessert. The waiter came back to our table after placing our order to tell us that someone had left all the ice cream out this morning and therefore they had no ice cream desserts available-bummer....I will make up for it tomorrow that is for sure!


Last weekend we had the cousins spend the night-total of 6 girls ranging from ages 6-11 years. I never got to grow up seeing my first cousins on a regular basis, so getting our girls together with theirs has always been a priority. They all get along so well -it is such a joy to watch and listen to them interact. It is also so wonderful to see how they have adapted to Bree and just love to play with her as if she had been with us since birth. On Saturday we awoke to beautiful weather-not too hot, nice cooler breeze so we decided to play in the water. The pond was a bit cloudy due to the recent rain so we did the pools and waterslide instead. As you can see by the pictures they all had a blast!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


This was not Bree's first trip to a waterpark-but it was her first trip without casts! The last visit was for a conference I was attending so Mema came along to occupy Bree while her sisters had all the fun. This weekend, Bree got to enjoy the water activities and oh boy did she have fun! AGAIN and MORE were all we heard for three hours straight. Brynn even had her going under water without fear. When we took a break for dinner and were headed back to our room, Bree looked at me and said "thank you mommy for waterpark"-wow-what a precious statement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


It was quite clear to us in China that Bree's favorite food was yogurt. In China the yogurt they have is very runny and they use straws to sip it. Transitioning to all the ways that yogurt comes in the U.S. was not a problem for Bree though. She literally will eat up to 5 gogurts a day if we would let her (thank goodness for Costco bulk!). Now with these new crush cups neither a spoon or straw is needed-even better for Bree! Never much of a milk drinker, although getting better, she gets most of her calcium from yogurt and cheese. Vegetables have not been her thing as well, so I have tried to supplement those in the form of V8 Fusion. Last week I tried a new flavor -blueberry pomengrant. Bree reached into the fridge, pulled out her sippy cup, took a swig and then with the sourest look on her face replied "ewwww mommy, that nasty"-so I guess we'll go back to the peach/mango flavor! This child certainly is giving her pediatrician mommy more of run of it with her nutrition-but I am slowly gaining the upper hand.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Since I had taken five weeks off last summer for Bree's arrival, my vacation time was exhausted to say the least. We were so overdue for a break that we decided to go all out and do a Carribean cruise. What a wonderful vacation and what beautiful weather. We did a four night trip with the first stop being Key West, then on to Cozumel and then a glorious day at sea. Bree got to experience many firsts on this trip and she adjusted very well. Her primary mode of transportation is walking now and she is doing fantastic.
Every day she makes improvements in her gait. It is a whole new world for her. The other morning Doug her the chinking of the candy dish glass in the living room. It is set up rather high on a couch table. He peeked around the corner to see her pulling the dish towards her, taking off the lid and grabbing a handful of jelly beans. When she saw him-she had the biggest grin knowing that she could now reach it. Anyway, back to the cruise-lots of sun and swimming (ship even had waterslides), miniature golf and unlimited food. We give thanks to our Lord for providing us this blessing of a vacation.


Easter baskets from Mema

Easter weekend was busy for us. We had Bree's family birthday party on Good Friday. Saturday we went to church for a 20,000 egg drop from a helicopter! Very cool and fun for the kids. Easter Sunday we went to the later Mass and then over to the Hoffman's for Easter dinner and a big egg hunt. I think Bree is very happy that her birthday falls so close to Easter-every day has been "presents"! Easter night we headed up to Detroit to stay overnight at the Westin Hotel for our early flight out to Miami Monday am for our CRUISE!!!!!!!!!!!
Dear Family and Friends
We are so happy to share with you this wonderful journey we are taking to bring home our daughter

Those beautiful rosebud lips!