Archive for the 'Home again' Category

365 days later…………..

September 09th, 2008 | Category: Home again

Well here it is, 1 year ago we were introduced to our lovely Madison for the first time. Hard to believe how quickly that went. Thinking back on it, it was quite a day one year ago. We woke up in Hong Kong on the 9th knowing that at some point later that day, we would be with her. After a 2 hour flight to Nanchang, we arrived in a rainstorm to the Provincial capital city, full of anxiety and excitement. We found out on the bus to the hotel that we would see the babies in 4 hours!!! Holy (you know what!) At 5 pm the orphanage director and his staff brought the girls into the ballroom one by one. We were the second couple called, at that moment, our lives were brightened forever. The balance of that evening was a mixture of tears, laughs and lots of ear to ear grins. Such a relief that the long wait was finally over. We spent the next 6 days doing the necessary rounds of appointments with governmental officials, sightseeing with the other families, and settling into a groove as a family. So many memorable firsts, bottles, baths, smiles, giggles, and even poops!! Funny, the things that you thought may not be that important, really are.

Such an incredible trip that was. China is such an incredibly astounding experience. We were so fortunate to have had the chance to see many of the different “types” of China that we saw and experienced. Trust me when I say that City/Tourist China is dramatically different from rural China. It made no diffence for us, no matter where we were, in the cities (Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Nanchang) or in the rural areas of the Jiangxi Province, it was the people that we remember most. Don’t get me wrong, we saw some incredible sights, and had meals I will always savor and remember (mmmmm……..Peking Duck in Beijing……mmmmmm) but the people and their warmth and hospitality will always stick out. Believe me, if you want to go somewhere were the locals always welcome you with open arms and no request is denied, go to China. I know we will return, sooner than later I hope.

Our Madison is really a treat to enjoy. She has brought so much love and joy to our lives, I cannot even begin to explain it. I think its safe to say that for both Kelly and myself, this (parenting) has been the most rewarding experience of our lives. I am sure there will come a moment or two where there will be challenges and trials, but that too shall pass, and is part of this incredible journey we are now on. Watching a person grow and learn is the most rewarding thing about being a parent. I am constantly reminded, daily, at how precious and wonderous life is, I thank Madison for showing and sharing that with me. She is a beautiful girl, in so many ways. As excited and in awe of all that’s already been experienced, I am really anxious for the next few phases of her growth, more words, conversations and discoveries, and the constant evoloution of that wonderful personality.

We spent today together a a family unit, from breakfast, to a long walk with Yarra, then a picnic at the zoo. Watching and listening to Madison make the animal noises, and seeing her smile and laugh was truly the high point of the day. Tonight we will make Pizza here at home, sort of a recreation of our first night together in Nanchang when our guides from CCAI ordered everyone in the group Pizza Hut, and had it delivered to our rooms. They understood that our minds were elsewhere, and nutrition was needed in some fashion or another. One things for sure, our toppings choices are bit more mild tonight than the options presented in Nanchang. Well, off to roll out dough, and decorate a pie or two with Madison.  One year, truly amazing.


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Family Day

September 08th, 2008 | Category: Home again

Tomorrow (Tuesday 9th September 2008) is Family Day and we have a fun day planned.   We are going to be celebrating the fact that Madison has been with us for a whole year now.   What a change from not being able to crawl to running, dancing, and jumping.  From no English language to holding conversations.   Madison is growing up into a bright and beautiful girl and we are so happy.   More about Family Day when it gets here.

PS.  At 5pm Beijing time, 7pm Melbourne time, 1am Denver time (September 9th 2007) it will be when we all first met as a family.   In about 14 hours from now, it will be one year ago to the hour.     Happy Family Day!


An amazing year

August 16th, 2008 | Category: Home again

This year has been an amazing one.¬† We have seen so many changes and we have been amazed by what our little girl can do.¬†¬† Madi, at 20 months, is now looking like a toddler.¬† She walks, or should I say runs, everywhere.¬† In fact, last night and this morning, while watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Madi was running around the family room, apparently racing against herself.¬† Her Dad would say “Ready, set…” and Madi would finish with “Go!”.¬†¬† She didn’t start running, though, until Daddy played one of her instruments and then she would go.¬†¬† She kept on going and going and going…and going.

We have started learning how to count now.¬† I’ll say “One.¬† What’s after one?”.¬† “Two”.¬† “Right, two.¬† What’s after two?”.¬† “Sree”.¬† “Three, you’re right!”. ¬† “How many shoes do you have?”.¬† “Two shoes”.

We’re also beginning to read the alphabet.¬† “A B B”.¬† “Right, A B C”.¬† “A B B”. ¬† Madi can point out the letters “D” (because D is for Daddy), “G”, “M”, “O”, “S”, and “T”.¬† She puts her arms out like a T. ¬†¬† Madison can also read what’s on the picture above her change table.¬† It’s her name with pictures of fish, seashells, and seahorses around it. ¬† Whenever someone asks her what her name is, she tells them now.¬† She has been saying her name since July 20th.¬† “What’s your name?”.¬† “Mad-i-duh!”.¬† “How old are you?”.¬† “One!” she tells them, with her pointer finger up in the air.

“Daddy.¬† DADDY.¬† D-A-D-D-Y!”¬† “Mummy, MUMMY, M-U-M-M-Y!”¬† “That’s very good, Madison.¬† That was loud.¬† Now can you whisper?” ¬† “Daddy, Mummy” she whispers.¬† “Now that was really good!”

We both love watching her figure things out, seeing what she will do next.   We love it when she is in her carseat and falls asleep.   We love it when she gives us Eskimo kisses, and we love it when she giggles.  It has just been an amazing year so far.  We love it all!



More words and actions

March 06th, 2008 | Category: Home again

Madison has some vocabulary now.¬† She can say baby, bowl, and shoe and can be understood.¬† She is also having fun saying “dude” and “woe” which sound more like “dooooooooooo” and “woooooooooooooh”, apple and grapes which sound like “ad-da” and “ge ge”, and up and down which sound like “uh” and “dooooooon”. ¬† The other day, I asked her if I should make myself a cuppa tea and she said what I think was “cuppajabba”.¬†¬† She is just too cute!¬† She nods vigorously when a question is asked of her that requires yes for an answer.¬† Her sign language vocabulary includes car, eat (breakfast, lunch, dinner), change, book, and many more.¬† Just a while ago, she discovered her belly button and how to blow on food to cool it down.¬†¬†¬† Today, though, she did something that almost blew me away.¬† She was walking around the family room with her sippy cup (which she has just started using this week) and she accidently turned it upside down so a couple of drops spilled onto the floor.¬† I was up in the kitchen and I heard “o, oh”.¬† I looked over the railing to find her holding her cloth and bending over to clean up the spill!¬† I was very impressed!



January 29th, 2008 | Category: Home again

It’s quiet here. Madison is taking her afternoon nap, the dog is snoring, and all of our family has left. I have enjoyed the past few weeks so much.

We had such a great time with Great Grandma Agnes, Jim, Mary, Kaitlin, and Connor, Sally and Keith, Stephanie, and Karsten (shu shu) over from 22nd December through Christmas and up until 29th December when Stephanie headed back to Texas. On the night of the 22nd, we had Kurt and Karsten cooking up a storm in our kitchen. Everyone was here except Kaitlin who was still in Spain at that time. This was the first time that Madison had been able to meet Great Grandma Agnes, so there were a lot of photos and video taken. The next night, we were treated to dinner at the Duffey home. Always delicious and this was no exception! Christmas Eve was back at our place and Kaitlin had flown in that afternoon. Another photo opportunity! Kurt and Karsten prepared our traditional ciopino for dinner that night and Mummy and Daddy wrote a letter to Santa for Madison because she is just a little too young to be able to write one herself this year. We understand that Santa had already flown over Australia so he must have been on his way here by the time Madison went to bed.

On Christmas morning, we woke up to a white Christmas and it didn’t stop snowing all day! Karsten, Stephanie, Sally, Keith, Kurt, Kelly, and Madison all drove over to see Jim, Mary, Kaitlin, Connor, Great Grandma Agnes, Hellie, Jean, and Jonathan at the Duffey household and, amazingly, we found out that Santa had left a lot of presents there for Madison! So many presents that Mummy felt quite overwhelmed helping to open them all! We had a lovely breakfast and basically relaxed for the rest of the day. Christmas dinner was also over at the Duffey’s and it was just lovely to have everyone there together.

On the day that Stephanie headed off, Saturday 29th December 2008, Kelly’s family flew in. They had flown from Australia and spent a few days in San Francisco. Their flight was due in at 6:50pm but with all the excitement, I forgot to check the flight to see if it was on time or not. It wasn’t. There was almost a two hour delay. I had also forgotten to pack Madison’s diaper bag with her formula in it. Well, Daddy did a fantastic job keeping Madison occupied at the airport. She looked adorable all dressed up in her holiday dress with the black stockings that have the red ribbons on them. When it was time, we all waited at the top of the escalator and there they came…Grandma, Grandpa, and cousin Dale. It was their first meeting with Madison and it was very special. That was until we all got in the car and Madison decided to tell everyone that Mummy had forgotten to bring her formula! As soon as we got home, though, and Madison had her drink, she turned back into “Grandma’s treasure girl” as she is now known. Grandma was amazed at how well behaved Madison is and how happy she seems to be. Each morning, Madison and I would go downstairs to give Grandma her breakfast in bed. Madison had a lot of fun playing with Grandma’s hat and gloves, her slippers, the suitcase, Grandpa’s slippers, Tanti Eil’s shoes and Dale’s shaving cream! It wasn’t long before she knew who everyone was and was feeling totally comfortable with all of her family!

We did a lot of things while Grandma, Grandpa, and Dale were here. We went to a couple of Colorado Avalanche hockey games, visited the zoo (Madison’s first visit), we went to the huge antique mall (Grandma really enjoyed that), we saw the Byers-Evans House, the Denver Mint, the State Capitol, we celebrated Grandma and Grandpa’s 44th anniversary by giving them a night at The Oxford Hotel (complete with anniversary cake, champagne, rose petal turndown, and a long stemmed rose as well as a book that Eils, Dale, Kurt, Madison, and I had made for them), we went up to Vail (Kurt and Dale had a day of skiing), we had dinner with friends up in Minturn (also celebrating Grandma and Grandpa’s anniversary), and we went out to dinner a few times (thank you Mum and Dad!).

Madison started walking on the 3rd January 2008 and she hasn’t stopped since!¬† She turned 13 months old on 13th January and had her one year doctor’s checkup the next day.¬† She seemed to enjoy Dr. Gustafson’s stethascope but didn’t enjoy the shots so much.¬† However, now she is all caught up with her shots until her 15 month checkup in March.

I was very sad when everyone had to leave on January 22nd. I still am but Madison is keeping me laughing and Kurt, as always, is my rock. He reminds me that we are now closer to the next time we’ll see everyone. It is very quiet around here, though.



Madison is 1 Year Old!

December 19th, 2007 | Category: Home again

My little girl is one year old! I can’t believe how fast time has flown. Madison just keeps on learning and moving and jibberjabbering and making us laugh. She is almost walking now and can stand on her own for a few seconds at a time. She loves to hold on to our hands and walk along, almost pulling us behind her. Sometimes, she will try to climb the steps one step at a time. Those are some pretty big steps for a little one year old!

Just last Saturday, we had Madison’s first birthday party here at home. Mummy and Daddy were very stressed putting it together. We both wanted it to go just perfectly. Apparently, there was no need to put ourselves through that! It seemed to go off without a hitch. The main thing was that Madison and her little friends had a good time. We had Teaghan, Tybee, Tatum, Lyndsay, Lindsay and Hannah, Mollie, Darragh, and Addison here to help Madison celebrate. We had the play room set up downstairs with all of Madison’s toys to share. Included was the activity table that Mummy and Daddy got her for her birthday, and the beautiful panda rocker that Sally gave her. Both were great hits. Madison also received a lot of beautiful presents (which were not expected!). We had cheerios, goldfish, and jello for the kiddies and for the grown up kids and the parents, we served a 4 1/2 foot long sub sandwich, hot red chili (it was below freezing outside), 2 quiches, and a frittata, and of course, birthday cake. Everyone sung “Happy Birthday” to our special little girl and Mummy led the “Hip, Hip, Hooray!” It was a very big day for everyone and we ALL slept very well that night!

On Madison’s actual birthday, last Thursday, we took plenty of video of her waking up and having her very first birthday cake. Mummy and Daddy surprised their special girl with a cool activity table, a cell phone, and a book for her birthday. She opened her presents when Daddy got home from work that night. You can see photos of the birthday celebrations (both from Thursday and her party on Saturday) in the photos page under Milestones for Madison – 1st Birthday.

Some other things that have happened since Thanksgiving include a visit to see Santa for the very first time (see Holiday Fun – Christmas). Yeah, Santa! Santa even gave Madison a Christmas jigsaw puzzle. He said that she had been a very good girl. Mummy and Daddy already knew that, though! I think that Santa might even visit us and come down our chimney on Christmas Eve because of how good Madison has been!

Mummy and Madison also started a tradition. We two girls went to the Doll’s Tea Party that is held every year at The Oxford Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Lots of little girls get all dressed up and they sit at tables while their Mummys, Grandmas, and/or Aunts sit at tables around them. Madison sat at a table with Mummy, though, because she is too little to sit on her own right now. She was lucky enough to be able to sit next to Kaylee Michna and her Mommy, Maggie. After the tea party (where the girls sipped hot chocolate and nibbled on cookies and cakes, etc.), some ballerinas performed for them all. Madison was fixated on the ballerinas and you can see some pictures of them in the Holiday Fun photos -Thanksgiving.

It has been a fun couple of months.¬† Very hectic.¬† A little stressful.¬† We wouldn’t change anything for the world, though.¬† We are so happy with our little angel.


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23rd, 2007 | Category: Home again

Madison celebrated her very first Thanksgiving yesterday. This is my favourite holiday because we always have so much to be thankful for! Most of the day was spent crawling and playing. Madison has noticed that the sisel rug in the dining room is a little hard on her knees so, whenever she arrives at it, she crawls on her hands and feet instead of her knees. When she gets to the end of that rug, she goes back down onto her knees.

In the afternoon, Kurt took Yarra for a walk. Madison and I stayed home since it was so cold (below freezing). When he arrived back home, Kurt started to cook a couple of side dishes to take over to the Duffey’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. What a meal! Madison even had turkey and rice. I think we all may have eaten way too much but everything looked and tasted so good that it seemed like it would have been wrong to miss anything. There was turkey, of course, and stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed pototoes, butternut squash soup with a chipotle creme fraiche, and a noodle dish topped with candied walnuts. Kurt’s two dishes were brussel sprouts with caramelized shallots and bacon pieces, and a butternut squash casserole with goat cheese. I think I must be the luckiest person on the face of the earth (for a LOT of reasons but Kurt’s cooking is definitely one of them!). There was a pumpkin pie cheese cake and a lemon meringue pie for dessert but only the children had any room for them!

It was so nice to be able to spend Thanksgiving with the Duffey family. We had some nice phone calls during the day from Stephanie and Grandma Agnes in Madison, from Karsten in New York, and from Sally in Indio, California. Of course, our next holiday will be Christmas and New Year everyone is planning on coming to Denver to celebrate for part of the holidays. We are looking forward to having our families here. I, for one, cannot wait!


11 Months Old!

November 17th, 2007 | Category: Home again

Madison celebrated her 11 month birthday on Tuesday 13th November with her friend, Tybee Yamamoto, who came over for a play date. There was some laughing, some crying, some playing with toys, and some sleeping (Madison, not Tybee). I guess we’ll have to brush up on the visitor etiquette! I think you will be able to see some big changes in Madison when you see her 11 month photos. There is one in the Milestones for Madison album and the others are in Favourite Photos.

We’ve learned a new word…tummy.¬† Madison is very happy to be able to show you where her tummy is!

Today (Saturday 17th November 2007), we are taking Madison to not only one birthday party but two! Yes, Mummy overbooked us. First, we will be visiting Tybee for her “Welcome Home/Happy Birthday” party (Tybee’s 1st birthday is tomorrow) and then we’ll be going to see Tatum for her 1st birthday party which is today.

Both parties were great. Madison had a fabulous time playing with Tybee and then with Tatum (and her sister, Lexi, and brothers, Lachlan and Spencer) and Baylee.



November 11th, 2007 | Category: Home again

Now we can see Madison’s top two front teeth clearly. The right one is a little longer than the left but they are both definitely there! Until now, we have only seen her two bottom front teeth when she smiles or giggles. I wonder how this will change the way she looks.

Saturday was the two month anniversary of us becoming a family and this coming Tuesday is Madison’s 11 month birthday. It seems like we have been together much longer (in a very positive way) and we keep wondering what’s next? What new thing will she do, what will she learn. She has become very interested in a couple of things this past week. We have a few pictures in the house with fish in them and she loves to ask “what is that” in her own special way (“eh?”). She has also found the butterflies in her room. She has three butterflies flying up one wall between her two shelves, another couple on her lamp, and one on the tissue box. She even has a couple on one of her blankets and on the bumper around her crib. The butterflies have made going to bed a little easier. For a few days there, we would put her to bed and she didn’t seem to want to go. Since finding the butterflies, she seems to want to go to bed!

I’ve been making fresh veggies and fruit for her rather than use all the store bought baby food. This week it’s been pureed peas, cauliflower, carrots, corn, sweet potatoe, potatoes, apples, and pears. She had scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning.

We went for our usual walk with our puppy dog again tonight but I’m not sure how long we will be able to continue with that. We’re expecting some snow to fall tomorrow, so we’ll just have to see if that happens. Luckily, we have a snow suit for Madison, so she will be able to play if it does snow. I bet she will show us all four of her adorable teeth when she laughs at how much fun it is!



Learning Words

November 05th, 2007 | Category: Home again

It’s been an exciting week with Madison showing us that she has learned more words. She isn’t able to say them yet, but she now understands button, zipper, watch, ring, bangle, pink pig, yellow ball, hello and hi, puppy dog, bird, fish, head, kisses, blanket, and dance. We were very excited to learn that, on Kurt’s birthday (1st November), she also learned how to say her second word in sign language (milk). She was already able to say “more” in sign language. Madison babbles and talks jibber jabber a lot. She is chatting right now as she plays with her toys. It’s exciting to hear that and exciting to see her move around. She crawls from one room to another and can now climb the stairs (up, not down yet). She likes to pull herself up on things and can even stand up by herself for short amounts of time (seconds). Dancing is also one of her favourite passtimes.

Each day, we try to do some different activities: dance, listen to music (including some Chinese childrens’ songs on CDs that we purchased for her in Nanchang), play with toys, read books, walk around either City Park or Wash Park, go to the store, or do some gardening. Each afternoon or evening, we take her puppy dog, Yarra, for a walk with her. Today, it looked like she was interested in the trees, the cars, and the street lights. One of her favourite things to do is to have bathtime. She loves splashing around in the water.

Last night was our first night away from her for a few hours. The Duffey family had kindly offered to watch her and they gave Kurt some hockey tickets for his birthday so we went to see the Colorado Avalanche play the Vancouver Canucks. Every so often, I caught myself thinking about her and I was glad to get back to her. She was sound asleep by that time.

Since our last post, Madison has been able to meet her Uncle Karsten (Shu Shu). She finger painted a pumpkin for Halloween while Karsten carved one. Madison even got dressed up for Halloween – she was a kangaroo with a little joey in her pouch. Too cute! We all went trick or treating together but this year, instead of asking for candy, we were handing it out!

Madison has also had a play date with her friend Tatum. That was fun because there were lots of new toys to play with. We hope to be able to have another play date soon. In the meantime, we’ll see how many new words we can learn!

Love from Kelly.


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