Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Adoption Day and Merry Christmas!

Wow - how time changes things, and what blessings we've found in this year's changes. Hannah has grown and flourished in ways too many to list since our first Christmas as a family of four in 2006. She came to us with smiles and laughter, and has since that time brought us incredible joy. She is an amazing daughter and a precious little sister. We love her more than we could ever express. Thank you, Lord, for the former Feng Fu Er, Miss Hannah Li Fowlkes.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Celebrating "Gotcha Day" With Our Little Duckies




Christmas Eve marked a very special anniversary, as it was the first anniversary of our meeting Hannah Li. In honor of the occasion, her daddy cooked Beijing (aka Peking) Duck, which was really delicious, despite the disgusting looking preparation process (shown above). We shared our meal with the Cosby crew - parents, siblings, siblings-in-law, and nieces - and thanked God heartily for all the joys we've experienced as a family over the past year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Greeting Cards Have All Been Sent...

....except from the Fowlkes Family of Four. Ours won't likely go into the mail until tonight or tomorrow, even though I've had them for over a week (and the postage, as well). I also didn't order enough for all of our friends and family, and I'm certain I'll be using Christmas stamps far into the New Year. Oh, well; 'tis the season!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not So Picture Perfect

Here's when a picture (series) is worth a thousand (plus) words. Not long ago, we got the girls cute, matching "Santa's Favorite" pajamas so we could take traditional night-before-Christmas style pics under the Christmas tree. Jaycie, my tactile-sensitive gal, gets hers on and promptly decides that they are itchy and immediately wants to take them off. Ugh - what's a mother to do? Why shoot away, of course!

The following photo montage documents the variety of emotions and actions that ensued. Suffice it to say that this photo session did not yield a postcard-worthy picture, but it does make for a somewhat humorous retelling:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Following in the footsteps (or should I say dance steps) of several silly friends, we, too, were elfed! Jaycie had too much holiday shopping today, so she turned into Scrooge!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Trimming the Tree

Basta Pasta

My girls really know how to use their noodles! In our house, pasta is one of the four (or is it five) major food groups. Long live carbs!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Travel: Chinese Style

This video (not filmed by us, by the way), is a hilarious reminder of some of our travel experiences in China a year ago. Even though our group - because of its large size - traveled largely by bus, the crazy traffic as depicted in the video was very noticeable and somewhat disconcerting. Had we been in a smaller vehicle, I would have worried much more than I did speeding down the highways and zig-zagging down the byways of Nanchang with a 7 year old and baby in tow.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Now and Then; Then and Now

Then, we were freshly home from China, adjusting to our transformation into a family of four. Now, we're managing quite happily and comfortably - albeit incredibly more actively - as a family quartet.

Then, we had no idea where God would take us in a year. Now, we're living those times.

Then, we were asking, seeking, and knocking. Now, we are asking, seeking, and knocking.

Then, several doors remained closed. Now, several have opened.

Then, I was a stay-at-home mom. Now, I am preparing to trade places with Lee to work full time outside the home.

Then, Lee was one of the older full-time youth ministers of the bunch. Now, he's planning to stay at home and work part-time, something we've always considered but never been able to do - until now.

Then, we loved our church family. Now, we love our church family.

Then, we were blessed. Now, we are blessed. Please pray for us as we make this transition.

Mommy Loves that Hannah Loves Barney & Elmo

If only the life of adults could be as simple as the lives of children. We'd listen to happy songs all day long and take care of all of our loved ones with yummy animal crackers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cumberland Mountain Collage 2 & Visiting Santa

More pics from our fun with the cousins at Cumberland Mt. State Park:

Also here's a pic from Hannah's trial run with Santa; it went well, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cumberland Mountain Collage and Confessional Part One

This past weekend we shared a wonderful time with family at Cumberland Mountain State Park. Lee's family and the Stanton and McInteer families have shared times like this since some time in the 1950s. We love getting together with the extended crew, and we have lots of special cousins' time as well.

On another note, Kate tagged me, which leads me to the first of several confessions:
Confession #1: I'm addicted to blogging, but I stink at responding to other folk's blog requests. I was tagged awhile back, but I've not yet gotten to it (sorry, Beth & Sarah). However, since this is Kate's request and she's never been tagged (or tagged others), here goes.

Here are the rules:
1) Each player starts with five random facts/habits/stories about their child(ren).
2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their five things) and post these rules.
3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose a few people to get tagged and list their names.
4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
  • My sweet daughters:
    1. I let Jaycie dress herself and seldom intervene, except when it comes to prohibiting belly-showing shirts (a hard task since she's lean and tall), but I really want to step in on days when she says that pink and red match.
    2. Hannah's head is shaped like an almond, likely because she spent too much time lying down her first year of life. I can't imagine anyone other than a hairstylist ever noticing it, and I hope she's never teased. I think she's still perfect.
    3. I think my eldest daughter looks more like my sister than I do; she certainly shares her emotional makeup. They even have matching birthmarks. Spooky.
    4. Hannah won't let me sit down to rock her to sleep, so I have to stand up and rock/sway for 5 to 15 minutes a night and at nap times before she'll settle down. This seems to be the most effective calorie-burning / muscle-building activity of my adult life.
    5. Jaycie and Hannah have a special language game they play - Jaycie imitates a particularly hilarious gutteral sound that Hannah makes, then Hannah repeats her, they both get tickled, and it goes back and forth forever.
I tag these folks:
  • Beth R.
  • Terri C.
  • Gina (Eden's mom)
  • Gina (Maci's mom)
And as far as the confessing thing goes, here's my Confession #2:
I never finished the thank you notes for Hannah's shower gifts; for that I feel incredibly guilty, but I continue to lack the incentive to get them done. I may try to send Christmas cards to those to whom I didn't send thank you cards to assuage my guilt. We'll see.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chilly Little Pumpkins

We finally visited Jackson's Orchard this past week - in the freezing cold, I might add. I don't remember why we weren't able to visit earlier in the season, but at least we got in before all the pumpkins were gone (the scarecrows, however, had already disappeared for the season - go figure). This is one of my favorite places to visit; the photo ops here abound! These are just a few of the fun shots we were able to get in before the wind chilled us to our bones.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

HU Gatherings: 15 Years Later

This past weekend was our 15 year reunion at Harding University. The funny thing about a reunion that falls mid-decade is that - except maybe for the 25th one - few people attend! We had a great time anyway, even though the only folks there from our "era" were our close friends whom we planned to meet ahead of time. We had fun at the Piper's 20th anniversary show (I was the oldest Piper there), the family picnic, the student center, the Harding House, dinner, and the Homecoming Musical. I even got to see my two favorite professors, and the weekend's weather was perfect, so -- despite the icky conditions at our should-have-been-remodeled-ten-years-ago hotel -- the weekend was wonderful.

Past roomies:
Future roomies?

Friday, November 2, 2007

The First Time Ever We Saw Her Face

Today is the one year anniversary of the first time we laid eyes on Hannah. We first saw her picture online, a fuzzy, black and white faxed image, her eyes looking at the camera with a hint of hesitation and surprise. Perhaps it was her first photo and the flash scared her; perhaps she was in a quick-in, quick-out assembly line of babies. I'm afraid we'll never know. Regardless, it was love at first sight, followed lots of joy and excitement which only grew until we saw her in person. The next day we received not one but three beautiful photos. We made lots of copies, and even taped them to the light switch frames, a cool idea supplied to us by our good friend Nan. So much has happened in the past year, and we are thankful for the journey that led us to our beautiful daughter.

Note: The video below was taken last year - my/our "delivery" of the wonderful news of Hannah Li Fowlkes.
video
P.S. The music in the background is the same music (Happy Anniversary Charlie Brown, music by Vince Giraldi) that was playing when Jaycie was born. Also, sorry for the buzzing sound, it was the cell phone interference.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

My leopard princesses had tons of fun tonight at Greenwood Park's "Trunk-or-Treat." They were sugared up and running on full tilt by the end of the evening with all the other costumed characters. (I plan to post a collage of all the ghouls and guys soon, but I couldn't wait to get this post up.) The only damper to the evening's event was having to say a final "good-bye" to Kate and Cole after the devo. We are really going to miss them and Gilbert, but we may be able to resume our weekend-away-with-friends during Labor Day weekend in West Lafayette, like those we had years ago with our friends Jen & Scott White. We'll miss you, Kerrigans, but you'll still be close in heart.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gettin' Wiggy With It

The Cosby crew is never at a loss for things to do, no matter where we are. This montage shows how much fun my brother and nieces and Jaycie had with some of my mom's old hairdos.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Long Time No Blog

The last few weeks have been incredibly full for the Fowlkes family. During that time, we have moved into our new house; had our first night(s) away from Hannah (thanks, Coggins!); gotten chigger-bit (Lee); endured strep throat and an allergic reaction to penicillin, missing almost a week of school (poor Jaycie); gone to Louisiana and back; unpacked, organized and decorated; and thoroughly enjoyed a two week fall break. Whew! Here's a few pics from our most recent "adventures." More will come in the upcoming days.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Playing Together Can Be Fun



...and playing together can be frustrating.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Someday I Want to Fly

I would absolutely love to be able to soar above Bowling Green like this (particularly over my new neighborhood). Maybe someday I will.


P.S. This video was created by the Bowling Green's Park City Daily News, and I thought it was cool, so I posted it from their site. Gotta give credit where credit is due!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hannah's BIG Boo-Boo

My sweet Hannah had a kind of minor, somewhat major mishap in the parking lot after church on Wednesday night. She and Jaycie were walking ahead of us to the car, and they were out of my eyesight on one side of the van, when all of a sudden I heard this terrible wailing cry. Hannah was screaming her head off, and Jaycie said that she'd just fallen down. I could tell that she'd scraped her knee, and I dabbed it with a wet wipe, but when I got her in the car, I noticed a big drop of blood dripping from the side of her nose. It was dark, so it was hard to see, and I thought it may have been from an internal nose bleed. When we got home, I realized it was much worse and that she'd actually scraped what looked like every layer of skin off the side of her little nose. She also has a few scrapes under her eye, too. I've no idea how a child can fall and scrape her nose at this angle, but apparently mine can. Jaycie said that Hannah had been stepping up high like she was marching and lost her balance and fell on the concrete. It was a nasty spill, and it looks even more terrible than the picture shows. Half of her nose looks like Rudolph, and it's going to take quite a while to heal, I'm afraid. I'm sure it hurt incredibly, and I feel very sorry for her. That spill plus her four little new teeth coming in has made for a fairly grumpy little gal around here. However, hurts heal, and there's always popsicles to distract her from the pain! (By the way, we're almost out of popsicles.)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

So Sweet

I love this photo - the girls look so sweet, and they were having lots of fun when I snapped this photo. But the other reason I like it so much, was that while Hannah was growing in my heart during our long wait to adopt, I spent some time baby-sitting Allison. I enjoyed getting to see her develop through stages that I knew I'd never be able to observe Hannah in. Those were a dear, precious moments, and they make the bond that these two little friends share all the more sweet.

Below is a picture of Allison when I was keeping her - things have surely changed since then!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sister, Sister

My two girls love hamming it up - can you tell?

Hannah in Pigtails, Hannah on the Phone

Hair up,
hair down,
happy,
sad,
cute abounds!

On the phone
saying, "Hey."
Push the buttons,
now let's play!

Our New Place

Come September 21, this lovely house will become our home, and we will bid adieu to apartment living. I am most looking forward to the backyard patio, and when fall begins I'll be out there praising God for cool breezes and seasons of change. I will thank Him, too, that Hannah will finally have a room of her own, that Jaycie will have a big yard to play in, that we'll have more room to entertain in, and that He provided all of it within our new pared-down budget. We are excited and hugely thankful!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Too Cool, First Day of School

My baby's growing up - she's a third grader now, which blows me away. She started school last Wednesday at a brand new school and did a great job transitioning. She's got a wonderful, imaginative spirit and lots of creative energy. She's got her own cool fashion sense and loves Hannah Montana way too much (she quotes the show all the time). We're working on keeping her attitude sweet and her emotions in check. She is very smart and loves to dance, read, write stories, play pretend (she's got lots of children - around 10 at last count, some of whom are adopted), and play Webkins online. She's a great big sister, who makes her little sister laugh her head off and has begun to teach her little tricks. I am proud of Jaycie.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tagged


First Memory - Being held by my dad and waving at my mom from the parking lot of the hospital, yelling "Whatcha doing up there?" after she'd just had my little sister, Jennifer, and wondering when my new sibling would be able to play chase with me.
First Love - My daddy (of course), but my first crush was Michael McQueary, a dreamy 2nd grader
First Concert - N0-name band: Freeze Frame at Jena High School; name-brand band: Bruce Hornsby & the Range at Harding.
First thought in the morning - "Five more minutes!"
First question you'll ask in heaven - Where's the video vault?
First thought when hearing "vacation" - Vacation, what vacation?
First Best Friend - Kara DeLoach; we were "womb-mates" (our moms were pregnant at the same time)
Last food you ate - Deluxe Fudge Tracks (Kroger brand no-sugar added) ice cream - YUM!
Last CD purchased - Hannah Montana 2 / Meet Miley Cyrus (for Jaycie)
Last good book you read - Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever by James Patterson (the second in a trilogy about mutant kids with wings - way cool!)
Last time you cried - Last week when I was reminded -- for the umpteenth time -- that life is very complicated and not always fair.
Last time I said "I love you" - This morning when Jaycie left for school and Lee left for work.
Last funny thing you did - Can't remember; Lee's the funny one.
Last T.V. show watched - Monk

Now, Dana and Beth, you're "it."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hannah Loves Mimi & PawPaw

I think it's been too long since we've been able to see Hannah and Jaycie's Louisiana grandparents. She's all into kissing now, and I caught this on the camera just the other day. In the last pic she's making her "ain't I cute?" nose scrunch.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sisters Inside & Out

Jaycie loves to play on the balcony, and today Hannah wanted to be out there, too. Instead, they played this sweet game. I particularly like the kiss through the glass.

What's For Dinner?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

If You're Ever In St. Louis...

...you must visit the City Museum. It was an awesome adventure and right up Jaycie's alley. I was in complete awe of it's uniqueness; it was like something from a dream. I highly recommend it, but I don't suggest taking a toddler into the labyrinth of the maze system there. Our family almost got stuck in a tight spot with Hannah (a wire "tunnel" that led out of a wire ball - see photo), so Lee and Jaycie went off to explore things while Hannah and I investigated the "safe" spots.

The thrill of the museum (and the scary part for type A folks like me) was that there were no directions, and once you chose a path, there were no instructions on how to get out. Sometimes folks were blocking your way, since there was no in or out signs, and you'd have to back out or squeeze by. Crazy - but way cool! There was a really neat area with strange carnival memorabilia and another spot with tons of architectural ornaments. Everything was decorated in a methodically random way, with castoff items from a million different places. It was amazing!

Find out more here.