Dec 17, 2012

Making Gingerbread Houses with China Playgroup!

I could list a zillion reasons that I'm so happy we moved home and towards 

the top of the list would be the wonderful friends and families we have met 

through Panda Pals, the China adoption playgroup, that "adopted" us into 

their group when we returned home!  

We get together at least four to six times a year and look forward to it each 

and every time!

One of our favorite annual activities that we look forward to is when we go to 

a local baking store and decorate gingerbread houses!

Gabriella was really wanting to master putting the icing on this year!

My proud little princess!  She worked over and hour to complete her house and 

did a great job!

Spending so much time and energy on her gingerbread house led to quite a 

hungry little girl!  We went out with our "panda pals" for a wonderful Chinese 

meal where my baby girl ate 16, yes 16 pot stickers or fried dumplings, a bowl 

of egg drop soup, half a portion of edamame and half a bowl of sticky rice...oh 

and let's not forget the two cups of hot tea and a little of my combination 

fried rice.  I'm thinking she was more than ready for some authentic Chinese 

cooking of which she enjoyed every, single bite of!

Dec 16, 2012

Pajama Party...Girls Night Out!

Gabriella was invited over to Meredith's house for an amazing girls night out!  

The girls wore their jammies, had their blankets and had a wonderful time 

eating popcorn and watching a movie!

Meredith and Gabriella met in pre-school, attend the same church and I 

believe will be life long friends!  We love Meredith and her family and her 

mom is  such a blessing in my life as I adjust to having a little girl and begin 

life again, as a pre-school mom!! Thank you for such a wonderful and 

memorable night with the girls!!

Nov 27, 2012

A Special Heaven

Pastor Stan is someone that Gabriella will always remember.  He was the 

pastor at her preschool for the last year and a half and she truly looked 

forward to she and her class singing with him during Chapel.

Though we have lost a couple family members since Gabriella has been home, 

I think this is the first time she has really understood the finality of death 

here on earth.  Last week the silent tears that I haven't seen for a very long 

time began to fall.  When I held her and asked what was wrong she said "I'm 

going to miss Pastor Stan" and then she let it a-l-l out!!  My heart broke in 

two for her, and not knowing exactly how to fix it, I asked from prayer for our 

sweet baby girl.

Carol Lee, a dear friend and who formerly served at a Christian pre-school 

suggested that Gabriella write a letter to Pastor Stan, attach it to a balloon 

and send it to heaven.  Brilliant, but you have to know Carol Lee as she is full 

of great ideas!  I suggested this idea to Gabriella, and for the first time since 

talking about Pastor Stan since his passing, her eyes lit up and I saw a smile!

Today we went to a local store and purchased a blue balloon as she felt that 

was his favorite color.  We wrote a letter.  Gabriella drew a picture of she and 

Pastor Stan holding hands. We then drove to her preschool.

We said a very special prayer together telling Jesus she really missed Pastor 

Stan and asked if he could give him a hug for her. We attached the letter to 

the balloon and sent it Special Delivery, to Pastor Stan in heaven.  We 

watched the balloon fly high into the sky until we could no longer see it.  She 

asked if Pastor Stan would be happy that she wrote him a letter; I told her 

yes. As the day went on she talked about her letter, fun times she had with 

Pastor Stan and realizes that one day, she will get to see him again in heaven 

and hopefully he will be playing his guitar and singing with all of her preschool 


Nov 16, 2012

I Can't Believe...

I can't believe the holidays are just around the corner!!!  Like Thanksgiving is 

next week and Christmas then follows!

We have a lot of celebrating to do here over the next few weeks and I'm 

looking very forward to decorating the house and preparing for some very 

special celebrations...including a graduation:)  While Gabriella did pick her 

shirt out, she made it crystal clear she wouldn't trade any of her brothers for 

presents...that's our girl!

the long road

Nov 9, 2012

I Wonder If She Knows...

It absolutely amazes me how God can plant a little seed in your heart, in a 

place you didn't even know was vacant, and allow such a love to grow!  

Gabriella has been home with our family for two years and eight months; 

exactly how long she lived in China before she was placed in our arms.

The adoption books say that it's at this point that you will see their full 

personality evolve and has it ever evolved!!!  The little girl who walked in the 

civil affairs office as confident as can be, then had her entire world turned 

upside down and moved half way around the world, that confident little girl is 


I can't even put into words the amount of joy, happiness and love she has 

brought to our family. I wonder if she knows that if I could have asked God to 

create the perfect daughter that she exceeds everything I would have ever 

prayed for?  Does she know that  I've smiled and had my heart melt at least a 

zillion times over the last two years and eight months all from having the 

most  precious daughter in the entire world?

She is mischievous and knows exactly what buttons to push to turn all three 

of her brothers worlds upside down!  The shirt says it all "semi-sweet"...and I 

wouldn't want it any other way!!!

To say she fits in perfectly to our family is an understatement!  

This was the pose she would do for the camera for the first few months after 

coming home from looks like she still remembers it!

Gabriella Grace Hao we will never be able to thank God enough for giving us 

one of the most miraculous gifts in the entire world, you!  You have completed 

our family and made it more complete than we could have ever dreamed!  

Thank you for the happiness and joy that you bring to our life each and every 


the long road

Nov 4, 2012

A Cheerful Halloween!

Gabriella asked to be a cheerleader this Halloween which I was totally ok with!

She is currently taking gymnastics and absolutely LOVES it!  I'm truly 

convinced that one of the gifts God gave Gabriella is that of encouragement.  

If someone is sad, or needs to be uplifted it's almost as if she senses it and 

naturally does it!  Add to that she loves doing cheers with her pom poms, can 

naturally do the splits and counts the days down until each gymnastics class!

The evening was cold, misting rain and not quite our normal trick or treat 

night, yet, we live in Indiana so the weather is always unpredictable:)

The rain didn't stop the girls and they had a great time!

 The police officers were wonderful driving around the neighborhood handing 

out candy to the kids.  

Gracie and Gabriella checking out the goods!

As the weather wasn't so great  our tradition of having a bon fire, inviting the 

neighbors over for hot dogs, smores, and having a huge pot of chili on the 

stove didn't take place this year....but we are hoping our tradition can 

continue next year!  We have hosted several bon fires this fall and have been 

blessed to spend time with our neighbors and friends:) As they are calling for 

temps in the 60's and 70's next weekend we will take advantage of the 

weather and will be putting up our outdoor Christmas lights!  This mama is 

already in the Christmas season and am more than ready to let the house 

reflect the spirit of Christmas!!

the long road

Oct 29, 2012

A Spooktacular Visit at the Zoo!!

Hannah and Gabriella were beyond excited about going to the children's zoo 

for their special trick or treat they have every year.

The girls were off and running!

They had haunted trails...for pre-schoolers,

and corn mazes.

They were able to visit with the "not so nice" witch...

and the very nice witch:)

The kids were given gifts, candy or cookies at each station.

As we approached the pony rides the kids were all excited!  Hannah was such 

a big girl riding her pony!  Nicholas walked beside her the entire way as her 

mama had to work and help people feel better today!  We missed her a lot 

but we were able to text throughout the day:)

Hudson was very serious about riding his pony!

Gabriella has wanted to ride a horse the entire summer and today was the 


Pure joy, squeals and excitement is what was going on during these photos!

Waving to dad and Nicholas...

even giving the princess wave!

Oh yes!!! I did!!  I got to love on and kiss those sweet cheeks of Hudson!  He 

is just precious!

Gabriella loved the sea lions!

I think if she could have gotten in and swam with them she would have!

Hannah and Gabriella checking them out:)

The peacocks seemed to appear all over the zoo and were a big hit with the 


After a couple hours of walking and the cool temps we were all ready for a 

bite to eat!  The guys were awesome and reserved us a table by the fireplace 

at Nakid Chopsticks!  It was a wonderful ending to a great day!!  

© The Time of Our Lives
CoffeeShop Designs