Hannah Claire Shi Lin

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Laid Back Summer

Today Hannah saw two of her water bottles on the counter and said, "Mommy!  One, two!"  I was so proud, and ran to her and gave her a big kiss.  Later, I knocked my shin on the edge of the open dishwasher and cried out in pain.  I asked her to kiss my bo-bo, which she did.  I went back to the dishes, and Hannah ran to the bathroom and brought me back a band-aid.  She is such a caring, sensitive person. And so precious.

Hannah's seems to be learning more and more English words.  I believe now that in just a few months, she'll be speaking so much and so clearly, you won't be able to tell she wasn't here in the U.S. all her life.  She recently started to say "hurt" instead of the Chinese word for it, and she says "cow" every time we get in the car.  Speaking of cows, we went out this morning to the farm where we buy our organic eggs and raw milk, and she was making sure the whole way that we were indeed going to see the cows.  She kept saying, "Mommy, cow!"  And I kept reassuring her, "Yes, we are going to see the cows."  Going to the farm has really helped her feel more comfortable around animals, and to learn their names.  While she still doesn't want to pet any of them, she'll actually get down out of my arms and walk around sometimes, until one of the dogs or cats gets too close, and then she's climbing me.  I think a few more trips will take care of that fear.

Miles and Hannah are growing closer and getting along better.  Sometimes I'm so amazed at how quiet it is around here with two kids in the house.  It's not all the time, of course, but those times I find them playing quietly together, or even just side-by-side on their toy laptops is so heartwarming.  I love seeing my children connecting and growing in their sibling bond.

My sister and her family just recently met Hannah a couple of weeks ago.  My sister had her baby while we were flying back from China, and we wanted to play it safe around her and wait until Hannah's blood test results came back.  She has no illnesses, but she did have to get to immunizations, and is still being treated for giardia.  She couldn't keep the antibiotics for it down, so we switched to a natural herbal treatment.  We have two more weeks to go with that, then we'll do more stool samples to see if it did the trick.  Please keep her in your prayers.  As long as she has giardia, it will be hard for her to gain any weight.

We've been enjoying our laid-back summer.  While there's nothing wrong with having lots of activities over the summer, we're loving just mostly staying home, getting to know each other better, settling into a routine.  I'm feeling so much better lately, and am able to focus more on the things that are important, the little things.   Like wrapping up Hannah in a blanket and holding her like a baby and talking to baby talk to her, sometimes even feeding her a water bottle full of milk.  She asks me to do this every day now and LOVES it.  I'm looking at picture books more with her, pointing to pictures and telling her what the objects and animals are called.  And as I've said before, she loves to be in the kitchen with me, and I let her help as much as I can.  All these are little things I just wouldn't have time for if we were scheduled to do activities most days.  I feel so blessed to have this precious time with both of my children, and especially with Hannah, since she has missed out on so much already.

Brother and sister bonding.

At my sister's house with the new baby.
Miles and Hannah with their cousins.
Father's Day
The 4th of July at Mei-Feng Ayi's house.
Meeting one of her cousins.
Another one from the 4th.  Hannah has no shortage of Ayis!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All My Heart

I can honestly say now that I love Hannah so dearly.  Of course, I loved her before, before I even met her.  But after we got her, I was under so much stress and anxiety, and was dealing with depression as well, that it was so hard to feel the love I had for her.  I'm so thankful to feel that love now.

Today was such a nice day.  We stayed home all day, just Hannah, Miles and me.  I got up in a good mood, and decided to make a conscious effort to concentrate on the kids and the house today.  Yes, even though I'm a "stay at home mom," I don't always focus on domestic things, and I don't always spend as much time as I think I should with my kids.  But today was different.  I enjoyed making them a breakfast of scrambled eggs and biscuits.  I did lots of laundry today, and Hannah helped me, which she loves to do.  Later Hannah and I sat on the couch and looked through a couple of her picture books, one about animals and one about the world in general.  It was nice to just take that time out with her and not feel like I needed to get up and go get something done around the house.  After the books, I laid down with Hannah until she fell asleep for her nap.  When she got up, we all three had cookies and milk for an afternoon snack.  Before supper, Hannah asked to clean off the table and chairs, so I handed her my bottle of vinegar and water and a washcloth, and she happily went about her task.  After that, she sat on the counter while I did dishes, then stood on a stool and stirred the food on the stove.

When Chip got home, we ate, then Chip took Miles to the store to spend some of his allowance on silly bands, so Hannah and I got some more one-on-one time together for about 45 minutes.  She was crying when her baba and gege left, but she cheered herself up by brushing her teeth with her new electric Hello Kitty toothbrush.  She probably used it ten times today, she loves that thing so much!

Hannah is learing so many new words lately.  She now says "ok," " I love you, too," and "hurt," in addition to a few others.  She understands so much, it's amazing!  It's fascinating to watch this little girl who had never heard English words before she was 4 years old, now learning this new language, slowly dropping the Chinese words for the new English ones.

Looking at Hannah's face today, I felt so strongly, so clearly that God meant this little girl for us.  To say she is special to me is such an understatement.  She came to me in such a special way, and she has touched me in ways that have no words to be expressed.  She is truly my daughter, and I love her with all my heart.

Friday, July 2, 2010

All About Hannah

I wanted to take a moment to tell everyone about Hannah.  Of couse I've talked about her in previous posts, about how she's doing, etc, but haven't really gone into detail about her personality.  So here goes...

Hannah is one of those kids who rarely sits still.  She can also be loud, really loud at times.  When she gets excited, she loves to scream, those high-pitched kind of screams that feel like their going to pierce my eardrums.  She loves to come and tell me about things she and her ge ge (big brother) are doing, and she has the most adorable way of using hand gestures and mumbling with a few words thrown in to tell me all about it.  As the original description we read of her stated, she does love to be held.  So I hold her as much as I can.  Sometimes on the couch while she watches TV (which usually doesn't last too long, because, as I said before, she rarely sits still), sometimes at the table while she eats, and other times I carry her around as I do things in the kitchen. 

Speaking of the kitchen, she loves to spray my cleaning solution of water and vinegar on the table, and then wipe it down for me.  She also has a little hand broom that she likes to sweep up crumbs from the floor with.  And she loves to stir ingredients when I bake.  Hannah is definitely Mommy's little kitchen companion.  Any time I'm in there, she wants to be there too.  She even sits on the counter next to the sink while I do dishes.

Hannah likes to help me fold laundry, and then she puts up her own clothes!  She also likes to load the washer and dryer.  It's these little things, her helping me in the kitchen and with laundry, that make me look forward to the future when she is older and even more able to help me with things around the house.  It's not only the help, though.  It's the idea that I'll be able to share these with my own daughter, and pass on things I love like cooking and baking.  And most importantly, we'll be building a bond while we do these things together.  I am so blessed to have this little girl in my life.

Whenever Hannah gets hurt, and even if she's not really hurt, she says, "Ow!" and runs straight to me for a kiss on the boo-boo.  I give her the kiss, and she's fine.  It makes me feel so good that she finds comfort in that.  That she knows that I am her mother and can make everything ok.  I'm so thankful she doesn't seem to have any of the bonding issues I've heard of other older children having.  She is now so confident in situations, such as the playground.  She has no problem running off and playing, but every few minutes she comes back to check in with her Mommy.  And she has started to call me "Mommy," instead of the Chinese "Ma-ma," she started out with.  I just love that!

Hannah and Miles are getting along better lately.  It is such a joy to see them play harmoniously together!  One of the sweetest things to see them do is when Hannah asks Miles to hold her.  So he picks her up and carries her for a few steps, then they both fall on the couch laughing.  They repeat this over and over and it's so fun to watch because they're having so much fun!  Of course, there is still fighting at times (Hannah hits Miles now and then), and neither one likes to share their toys with the other.  But these things are just normal sibling issues, so I'm not too worried about them.  I have a good feeling the two of them will grow up to be very close.

While Hannah can be very loud and even whiny at times (what 4-year-old isn't?), she is very sweet.  She tries to sing along when I sing lullabyes at night, and she even makes up her own songs featuring all of our names.  She is such a precious girl.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Days with Hannah

We're all doing even better than last time I posted.  I've been seeing a therapist to deal with my anxiety and according to her, I may have been lightly depressed for many years.  I knew my anxiety was bad, but I was always able to get to a point where I could control it, and didn't really think I suffered from depression.  But I think my therapist may be onto something.  She suggested I go see my doctor and get a prescription for a mild anti-depressant.  I've never taken anything like this in my life, so I was a little skeptical, but was willing to try anything right now to get a handle on my irritability, especially around the kids.  So I did as she suggested, and it has made a huge difference!  Of course, the stress is still there, but I'm able to handle it better than before, losing my cool less and less, which I am so thankful for.

So now that I'm able to put aside some of the anxiety and depression, I'm much more able to enjoy my new life with Hannah. She is so adorable, her sweet little face, the way she moves around when she's in a silly mood, like a little monkey, her baby-Mandarin, and her baby-English. She's such a wonderful little girl, and I'm so thankful I can see it now.

Hannah is learning new words, such as "potty." She used to say the Chinese word for potty, but now she uses the English word. She says "Amen," as soon as she sits down at the table to eat, because she knows we're about to ask the blessing. I'm trying to teach her the alphabet, without much luck yet, but she loves to look at the flashcards I made her. Her progress is slow, but I'm giving her all the time she needs to catch up with other 4-year-olds. Luckily, we homeschool, so I'm able to let her go at her own pace.

Hannah's stool sample results came back and she has giardia, which is an intestinal bacteria which many times goes away on its own, but we're getting a prescription to treat it. We still haven't gotten back her blood results.

Miles and Hannah are getting along better than when we first got home.  They're still learning to share and getting used to having a sibling, but there are times when they play so well together.  They'll even run into their room and close the door, and I can hear them giggle and scream with laughter.  It does my heart so much good to hear that.

My love for Hannah grows every day.  Yesterday, while I was on the couch trying to take a little nap, she came to me, kissed me on the cheek, and said "I love you."  Who couldn't love that.

Here are a few photos from since we've gotten home with Hannah:

The kids love to play between the couch and the wall, you'd think it was a playground!

Hannah is Mommy's little helper.  That girl LOVES to clean!

Hannah with a friend of ours from Taiwan, Hannah's "Mei Feng Ayi".

The above photo is one of my absolute favorites!!!  She reminds me so much of Rainbow Brite's friend, Patty O' Green, with her pigtails, mini-skirt and boots!  For a while she even had band-aids on her knees, just not on that particular day.

I almost don't need words for the next two photos.  I am completely convinced that I have the most beautiful daughter this world has ever seen.  Of course, I know I'm biased, but come on, look at that face!  Gorgeous.