Monday, June 21, 2010

Six Months!

Six months ago today, Lia Kate's nannies carried her into a room in a government building in southern Ch*na, and placed her in my arms. Our lives were forever changed. That day we met a quiet baby girl, with spiky hair and sad eyes. But fast forward six months and we have a happy, spirited little toddler full of laughter and life. We are so grateful to have been chosen to be this little girl's parents. People often comment on how blessed she is to be adopted, but, really folks, we are the blessed ones here. She is such a joy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And She Speaks English

After this video, I thought I should showcase Lia Kate's knack for the English language too. Here she is saying some of her words. This video definitely shows her sweet (& sassy) side...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Blog URL

So ... with our old URL address bearing our last name, we have been toying with the idea of changing the URL for awhile. When I first created this blog, we were newly pregnant with Britton and I assumed only family and friends would ever come here. Little did I know that Britton's birth and hospital stay would bring thousands of people to our site, and a couple of years later, our journey to Lia Kate would bring even more visitors. I love that people we don't know come here, have prayed for our kiddos, and enjoy watching them grow up -- I most certainly lurk on others' blogs myself -- but I don't like that our last name has been attached to this blog for so long. From now on, in an effort to protect our children and have a somewhat more anonymous web presence, we are removing our last name. I don't want to stop using our children's first names or to set our blog to private, but in light of crazy things that happen in today's world, I want to take this important step. Our apologies for the inconvenience, but hope you understand! Be sure to save this new blog address as the old site will not be up for too long.

One request ... if you have our blog linked on your blog, will you please delete our last name from it and change it to By God's Design? Thanks much!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Precious Girls

We got together the other morning with Sarah and Grace, the Chinese daughters of two friends here in town. We were all matched with our daughters last Fall and our girls are just a few months apart in age. Lia Kate is the oldest and is four months older than the youngest, Grace. They will all be in the same grade when they start school. Each are from different provinces in China ... many thousands of miles apart from each other ... but here we all are living just a few miles from each other and getting together so our girls can be friends. So blessed to have these precious girls in our lives!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Mother's Day Happy

A little birdie told my husband about this cool place that makes custom stationery/gift tags, etc. and he gave me a gift certificate for Mother's Day. I ordered these gift tag stickers and some mommy calling cards and just got them in the mail. I love how they turned out!

I so wish I had had the calling cards in China when we were meeting other adoptive families and passing out our information ... hint hint to those of you on the China adoption journey.

Friday, June 11, 2010

End of the School Year

Sometime between September 2009 and May 2010, my baby boy grew up. He also grew a lot more hair. See for yourself ...

September 2009:

May 2010:

Between September and May, he grew 5 more inches, and gained a pound and a half. And his feet grew 3 sizes bigger.

Boy, does time fly ... I miss my baby!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Weekend at the Lake

Our good friends invited us down to their lake house last weekend and we had such a great time enjoying the sun and water with our kiddos! It was a beautiful weekend and we enjoyed a slower pace of life ... if that even exists when you have two toddlers.

Britton and Danny leaving on the waverunner. By the time they got out into the open water, Britton had fallen asleep! His head just fell forward into the steering column. His regular afternoon nap was one of the casualties of our road trip down to the lake ... the boy just does not nap in the car ... but he does on waverunners ... hmmmm?

Watching her Daddy and Britton (in the background) come back on the waverunner.

Coming back in ... post-waverunner-power-nap.

Lia Kate and Ansley.

Like father. Like daughter. Lia Kate loves wearing a baseball hat. ;o)

Me and my babies.

Britton is actually not a big water fan, but he does love the sand.

Lia Kate with Ansley, Lillian and Martha

Watching through the window for her daddy to come back on the boat.

The best babysitters around! The girls were letting the little ones play with playdoh.

Have cars. Will travel.

Britton laying on the floor next to the dog with his blanket and puppy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mornings Around Here

Saturday, June 5, 2010


We surprised my mom for her birthday the other day. It was one of those monumental birthdays, so we were glad to be there and to see the surprise on her face. Happy Birthday, Mom/Grandmarna!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lia Katherine, Child of the Covenant

Lia Kate was baptized by her daddy a few weeks ago at our church. It was a precious moment in the life of our family ... made even more special by the fact that she was baptized alongside two little boys also adopted from China and two more recently adopted from Ukraine. Such a picture of the family of God ... these children who came from the ends of the earth ... now with mommies and daddies ... and a bright hope and future ... their lives a beautiful metaphor of God's redeeming love. We are blessed to be a part of Lia Kate's story.

This was the best family picture we got, and by best I mean, at least both kids were looking at the camera. :o)

Britton was remarkably well-behaved when we stood at the front of the church. If you had seen him before the service started, you would know what a feat this was.

When we got home, we changed Lia Kate into the white silk gown that we got in China.

And she was really digging her pink cake!

Lia Kate and her Gigi.

The boys table. Look at those rosy-chipmunked-cheeked Giffen kids.

Lots of family came in town for the weekend. In fact, two of Lia Kate's great-grandparents made the trip, which was quite a treat.

Lia Kate with my grandmother and her great-grandmother. She is both my and Lia Kate's namesake, as we all share the middle name of Ruth.