Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tessa's first birthday party

Tessa's third birthday was her first birthday party with us, and, most likely, her first birthday party ever!  I wanted it to be special but not to over stimulating.  I truly wanted to do a panda party, but thought I'd better save that for when I'm in the states because my family would enjoy helping with that so much.  Our teammate, Janice, came and photographed the party for us.  Isn't she adorable?!

She took some awesome family photos first.

This was when we were working on being funny...

I love this picture of my boys.  My Boys!  All three of them!  Sweet, handsome, incredible boys.

Janice and Kara used their luggage space to bring back clothes for the kids from my family.  It included this birthday shirt that I had ordered for her, size 12 months for my little tiny Tessa. 

 I have nicknamed her cricket because of her tiny cuteness, her antenna-like pigtails, and because crickets are lucky in China.  Though she is little, she is mighty.  

She is and has been a Momma's girl from the beginning.

After their sweet initial meeting, Tessa wanted nothing to do with Jacob.  All he had to do was come near her, and she would cry.  We suspect it's mostly to do with the fact that she had only female care givers.  Love is patient, kind, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  I know I'm leaving a few out, but these are all the things Jacob did for Tessa, and it paid off.  

Though we only invited teammates and one friend, totaling 6 people, she was definitely having a bit of a hard time.  It was the most people we had in our home up to this point, and she was my buddy almost the entire time.  

She's a bit ornery, and has alternated calling me Momma, Jie Jie (big sister) and Ayi (auntie).  Finally, she is settling on Mom, and says it all the time now.  She says a handful of other words including: I love you, hi, ah ah, pray, and good, the latter two in Chinese. 

Since we weren't doing a panda theme, we used Xavier's leftover farm decorations from last year.  The cake and the frosting on Tessa's cupcake were dairy free since we discovered that it makes her sneeze and have a runny nose all day.

This picture of Xavier is so endearing to me.  He actually looks quite a bit like me here when I was little. He is always excited about parties and cake.  Today I had made a cake, and he thought it was someone's birthday.  His smile dropped, and he was quite disappointed when he found out it was not. He got over it instantly, though, once I told him he could still have cake.  

Happy Birthday was sung, and Cricket was deposited on her throne.

She was not too thrilled to be there, and promptly pulled out her bow.  Sweet Jie Jie tried to help her with her cake.  

She wouldn't have it, though, and so she was my buddy again.  

Eden changed into farmer themed clothes after family pictures to go with the theme.  

Her sassy face is showing here.  

Eden and Ephraim put on a puppet show from the staircase.

She did a good job opening presents for the first time.  

Everyone thoughtfully gave practical and good sensory toys.  Legos from Carrie and Kelsey.

A toy instrument from Janice.

Frozen themed paint-your-own suncatchers from Eden and Ephraim.

Ball toy from Jacob and I.  Not pictured are sippy cup from Michael and Kimmy, and magnetic toys from Erica.

Now it's time to play!

Theo is a curious but helpful clown.

We usually don't let her have books because she eats them, but this was her birthday and her book.

Toy monkey from Kara.

Ephraim is solid muscle, and so active.

When she's not ornery or jealous of someone else in my lap, she is pure joy.  Her giggle is contagious, and her dimples are delightful.

Neither Eden or I think this picture looks like her, but I love her eyes in it.  I asked if it was ok if I included it.  She said sure, then asked if I was going to post it.  Ephraims chimed in, "She likes when you post about her on Facebook.  She thinks she's popular!"  Hilarious giggling.  Yes, she allowed me to write about this too.

The kids play with these magnetic toys every day now.

This was fun while we still knew where all the balls were.

Priceless face.

More cuteness.

Ephraim is growing to be such a great kid.  I'm so proud of him. 

Theo's favorite toys in his orphanage were Legos.

All five.  

Family play.  Tessa's still on my lap.

Xavier loves Ephraim so much!

We finally got the goofy picture right.  

Happy Birthday to our joyful Cricket, who is still somewhat a mystery.  We love seeing every little thing she learns, every evidence of trust and receiving love. She is a great big gift wrapped in a cute, tiny package.  We are honored to be entrusted with her.

Showers of Blessing:
Thoughtful teammates and friends
A friend's freezer full of meals for us from people all over the city
Playing outside all together today
Spring is coming
Short biography on Susanna Wesley
Dancing in the living room with my kids before bedtime
Listening to Rick Warren's The Battle for Your Mind
Chat coming up this week with a couple in the adoption process
Jacob's student reading our favorite book
Janice and Kara bringing us dinner tonight
A new noodle restaurant where I was able to communicate what I wanted
Reading Little House on the Prairie to the kids
Theo initiating hugs and kisses without saying, "yucky!"