Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Yesterday was a very special day.  Hannah turned three!  How did we celebrate?  Well, of course we started the day with a balloon!  For Hannah, every celebration begins with a balloon.   For lunch she had Old McDonald's and a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles.  She got a special card in the mail from her friend Kerry.  Hannah and Kerry were good friends when they lived in the orphanage in JiAn.  It included a Minnie Mouse Crown and Dora and Elmo Stickers.  Thank you Kerry!  Hannah had a great time playing with them all.  Below is a picture if her in her crown.  Grandma came to visit today and gave her a "Polly book" (Polly Pocket) :).  We aren't finished celebrating yet.  Because Papa was working all day yesterday and we had church last night, we will hold the big celebration in a few days.  We'll post pictures.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adventures in the Mountains!

Hannah got to go on her first vacation last week. Our family and David's sister took their parents to a cabin to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. As an extra bonus, we got to celebrate Mother's Day there too. Hannah had a lot of fun playing with Grammy, Grandy and Aunt Carisa as well as seeing some of the sites around Blue Ridge. Here are a few pictures of her adventures.
Giving flowers to Mama for Mother's Day
Reading a book with Grandy.
Exploring a turtle (at a distance) with Aunt Carisa.
Family portrait with the mountains as a back drop.
Swinging for the first time.
Climbing the ladder to the monkey bars.
"Driving" a tractor.
Enjoying the daisies.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Watching Hannah Grow (Has it really been a year already?)

It is hard for us to believe that it has been almost a year since Hannah came home with us (where has this first year gone?). She had just turned two when we got her, and next week she will turn three! She is growing into such a big girl physically, mentally, and spiritually. She has grown over three inches and gained five pounds.  She can no longer wear the clothes or shoes we bought her in China.  That is a little sad for us, but for her it means that she gets to pick out new shoes!  She loves running, jumping, climbing and tumbling.  She seems to have no fear when it comes to being lifted, tossed or swung in the air; the faster, the better!  She's pretty smart too and likes counting and saying her ABC’s. She learned English quickly and has become quite a chatty little thing.  In fact, she gets upset when she is left out of a conversation, and says, "I want to talk." At some point in the fall, she quit using Chinese at all. Whenever Lois tried to speak Chinese to her, she would either say, “No!” or put her finger to her lips and say “Shhhhhh!” Since introducing her to “Ni Hao Kai Lan,” she has begun to use Chinese again, and even asks Mama to speak Chinese some times. There are so many things we would like to tell you about her, but don't want to overwhelm you in one blog post; so, below we have made a list of some things you might like to know about Hannah followed by a snapshot for each month she has been home. 

Hannah loves to listen to music and sing.  Her favorite songs are “Jesus Loves Me,” "God is So Good," “Deep and Wide,” “Itsy, Bitsy Spider,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," "ABC's" and “Brown Bear, What do You See?”  Lately, she has begun to use the tunes that she knows with her own made up lyrics.  The results can be quite funny when she starts singing about Cheerios or Cheetos. 

Yes, Hannah likes Cheerios and Cheetos.  Hannah just likes to eat.  Her favorite food is still noodles, but she also loves hamburgers, French fries, grilled chicken, chocolate and just about anything sweet.  When she sees something that looks good, she points to it and says, "What's THAT?"  Her favorite restaurant is "Old" McDonald's where she can eat two hamburger patties, a small fry, apples slices and a bottle of milk in one setting.  Yes, Hannah likes to eat.

She loves reading and some of her favorite books right now are her Bible, “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake” (and all of the "If You Give a ____ a _____" books), "Happy Birthday Biscuit," "Clifford Graduates" and her photo album with pictures of family and friends.  She doesn't watch a lot of TV or movies yet, but she does enjoy watching "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Curious George," And "Ni Hao Kai Lan." 

I know I said it before, but I have to say again that Hannah likes to talk.  If you ask her what she wants to talk about, she is likely to say, "Jesus."  You never know when she's going to stop in the middle of what she is doing to narrate or explain what is happening.  She gives advice occasionally too.  She might tell you, “Be careful!” or “Don’t forget your noodle!” or, if you are breaking open a fortune cookie, “We don’t eat the paper."

She still likes shoes, dressing up in cute clothes and looking in the mirror.  Her hair has grown out so she can wear pig tails now.  The first time she saw herself in the mirror with pigtails, she said, "Hannah's a GIRL!  Yes, Hannah is all girl. 

No matter where she goes, she is always anxious to get back home, and as we enter the driveway, she says, "We're home!"

I guess you can tell by all of the activities we have listed that Hannah is a busy, busy girl.  She is up early and likes to stay up late, but when you ask her if she is tired, she will likely say, "No, I'm happy!"  And Hannah does seem to be happy in the life she has come to live with us.  And we have to say that we couldn't be happier to have her in our lives. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so to save a few words, we thought we would give you a glimpse of Hannah's 1st year, we hope you enjoy it :>)

June 2010
July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011
March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Please Forgive Us

Dear family and friends,

We want to apologize for waiting so long to update our blog and ask you to forgive us. We were really busy, or should I say overwhelmed when we first got home, and the blog was put on the back burner until we could catch our breaths. I have thought about posting just about every day since we came home, but once we got behind, it seemed like we could never catch up. We know some of you have been thinking, “How could they not have time to just upload a picture and write a few words?” We know because we thought the same thing about some friends who just quit posting to their blog when they got home. We thought, “How could they leave us hanging like that?” Now we know. David hit the ground running when we returned catching up on work and ministry at church. And Lois? I was busy taking care of Hannah and trying to get some sort of order to the new house. For those of you who don’t know, we took up residence in a new house when we returned from China. Most of our belongings were still in boxes, and everything was in disarray when we got home. It has taken months, but we are finally feeling like we are getting the house in order. We still only have one picture hung on the walls, but we will get around to decorating eventually. To all of you who helped us pack, unpack, clean two houses and move our household, we say thank you, thank you, thank you! You have been a blessing to us!

Now, if you will forgive us for our past failure, we are going to try and take the next several days to catch you up on what has been happening around the Cooke household this past year and let you know what we’re expecting for the year to come (you don't want to miss that announcement :>)