Tuesday, January 31, 2012

December memories

Squeezing in one more December/holiday-related post before the calendar turns to February (yikes!)...  A couple of fun pictures of Zander with his cousins in December - out for pizza to celebrate Brady's birthday:
Zander loved watching Cousin Luke's hockey practice that same day.  Here's Luke 'jumping' over the mat on the ice - he's become a great skater!!
Looking good Luke!
Zander had a blast visiting Choo Choo Bob's Train Store later in the month:
How fun are those train tables!!
We ventured out for Korean food that night, Zander enjoyed stringing Cheerios onto his chopstick as we waited for a delicious meal of mandu, bulgogi, chapchae, and bibimbop:
After dinner we visited the Holiday Lights in the Park display at Lake Phalen.  Zander really enjoyed seeing all the light displays, including this fireman:
Back in early December, Zander enjoyed attending the Medtronic Children's Holiday Party.  We were very surprised that he 'let' Daddy set him right down on Santa's lap!
 Watching the magician show with Daddy:
Nana Pat brought Zander to the holiday shopping market where he picked out some delightful gifts for Mommy and Daddy.  Thanks Pumpkin, we loved them!
Pumpkin also enjoyed visiting Mommy's office - especially sitting in her big comfy chair:
Later on - Zander and Daddy showing off their 'Big Muscles'... most impressive!
It was a very special holiday season.  We look forward to having two pumpkins to celebrate with next year!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrating Seollal - Korean New Year

Happy New Year = Sae hae bok mani badeuseyo = (새해 많이 받으세요)!

Seollal is the first day of the Korean lunar calendar, which marks the most important Korean holiday of the year.  Today we welcome the Year of the Dragon, which is said to bring 'Hope and Courage', very appropriate for our family as we look forward to bringing Baby Girl home later in the year.  Zander continues to wait patiently (and maintain his flexibility):
We hope that Baby Girl and her foster family had a wonderful Seollal celebration!  They may have worn traditional Korean dress (hanbok) to celebrate.  Their day likely began by honoring and remembering elders.  Children perform a 'big bow', which is typically rewarded with a red envelope (Sae Bae Don) containing a monetary gift.  The morning of Seollal, Koreans traditionally eat a bowl of a rice soup (Ttok-kuk, meaning 'adding age') - upon finishing the soup, you are said to be a year older.  Families celebrate Seollal with many other traditional foods as well.

Zander continues to enjoy eating different Korean and Asian foods.  Here he reveals his favorite food (a surprise to Mommy) and demonstrates his developing ability to use his Pororo (Korean cartoon character) beginner chopsticks:
In celebration of Seollal, we took some time to reflect on the Korean zodiac (based on Chinese zodiac) make up of our family:

     Baby Girl - Year of the Tiger
     Zander - Year of the Ox
     Mommy - Year of the Rat
     Daddy - Year of the Pig

We can't wait to experience the full mix of personalities when our family becomes complete in the coming months!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy First Birthday, Baby Girl!

We spent much of today celebrating our new daughter's first birthday. We love you sweetie! 
For those of you familiar with Korean culture, first birthdays are one of the most important days of someone's life.  It was definitely bittersweet for us - celebrating her big milestone, but wanting so much to be with her to share it.  We spent time dreaming about how her special day was going and wondering when we might actually see photos of her in her birthday Hanbok - we can't wait!  In the meantime, here are two additional pics we received with our referral.  First, posing for the camera:
And here playing with Pororo the Little Penguin, a popular Korean cartoon character.  (Note Pororo's trademark aviator glasses... they resemble Zander's aviator goggles pictured in our previous post).
We started out the day at the police station... getting (yet another) set of fingerprints taken in preparation for Baby Girl's adoption.  We counted that this was the seventh time we've both been fingerprinted for the two adoptions... and Mommy continues to get feedback that she has extremely dry hands/fingers!

Next Mommy swung by the post office to pick up a piece of certified mail.  How very fitting that it happened to be Zander's Certificate of Citizenship, the very last document we've been waiting for related to his adoption (a very long wait as Zander's official date of citizenship was 1/27/11)!  The certificate came with a nice 'letter' from the president on White House stationery complete with Presidential Seal watermark. 

Next it was time for brunch.  Nana Pat joined us at a restaurant close to the police station for a delicious meal.  Zander celebrated with his first Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake!  We chatted about Baby Girl, and hope that she soon receives the care package we sent her recently.  The adoption agency allows occasional care packages to be sent, provided that the contents fit inside a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.  It's a wonderful way for us to stay connected, but hard to determine how to best use the limited space.  Here's a photo of what we sent: cute dress with matching leggings and cardigan, disposable camera, the 'girl' version of a cell phone toy that Zander loves, a super-soft small blanket, and a soft photo album containing several pictures of our family.  We hope she loves it!
Next it was time for the first week of Zander's Mini-Hops class, a gymnastics-oriented class for toddlers.  Zander really enjoyed Mini-Hops last year at this time, so we were excited to get him back to see how he much he has grown and progressed.  Unfortunately he wasn't very engaged today - he chose to watch the other kids practice vs. doing much on his own.  Maybe next week will be better!  Zander kindly translated his 'sort of off-ness' into naptime and took more than an hour to go down (but at least he went down!).

After nap, we ventured out to shop for a bedroom set for Baby Girl.  This was the first real shopping we've done with her in mind, it made her joining our family feel more 'real', and it was fun to envision her in her new room!  We got some great ideas and look forward to ordering a set soon.

We then enjoyed a wonderful Korean dinner at Kabuki - an Eden Prairie restaurant that we hadn't tried before.  It was very tasty and we look forward to returning!  Zander did a great job eating Jap Chae (a favorite noodle dish) with his new Pororo beginner's chopsticks.  He also led us in a (somewhat subdued) round of 'Happy Birthday' in honor of his Baby Sister - so cute!

Finally, we celebrated Baby Girl with a Birthday Cake at home with Nana Pat, Uncle Bob, Aunt Heather, and Cousins Luke and Brady.  Here is Zander with the strawberry angel food cake:
(Daddy's quote at breakfast: 'angel food for our little angel...')
Baby Girl received an adorable Birthday gift from her cousins: a giant, super-duper soft and cuddly teddy bear... as tall as Zander!:
It was a very special gift - we know she will love it!
We really cherished having our family celebrate with us tonight and said some special prayers for our big one-year-old girl!

...Oh yeah, we've received some questions about Baby Girl's name... we've just started working on that, hoping to decide in the coming weeks and share maybe on Valentine's Day... stay tuned!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Zander & Skylar Show

Happy 2012!  Hoping everyone enjoyed the holidays as much as we did.  We've been busy celebrating our news about Baby Girl Wilson, so have a little catching up to do on the blog.  Where to start?  We had a fantastic trip to Dallas, TX to celebrate the holidays.  Zander had so much fun visiting family there - especially Cousins Skylar, Paige, and Nathan.  Skylar is about 18 months older than Zander - he was fascinated by her and enjoyed mimicking her every move.  Here he is copying her camera pose: hands-on-hips, plus one foot in front of the other:
We had a wonderful meal at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant with Papa Duc:
Zander and Skylar on Christmas Eve:
Celebrating 'Jingle Bell Rock' with Skylar:
"Mommy, Daddy, Me!"
Fun with (safety) scissors:
Zander was delighted to experience his first trip to In-N-Out Burger with Papa Duc.  Definitely one of Daddy's favorites - Papa Duc was a big fan too.  Who knew Zander could eat that many fries?
Striking another Skylar-style pose:
We had a great trip to 'Six Flags Over Texas' with Grandma Marie and Uncle Chris and family.  It was the first time that Zander has really enjoyed going on rides.  Skylar's presence likely made a big difference - he wanted to copy everything she did (except for that one scary roller coaster).

Daddy and Zander practiced their 'parade waves' on the carousel:
Grandma Marie, Skylar, Aunt Spring and Uncle Chris on the exciting Gold River Adventure:
Grandma and Skylar:
Skylar and Zander on the Flying Trapeze:
Cousins flying the airplane:
Thanks to all our Texas family for making our visit so special, we love you!