Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

As many of you know, we don't send out Christmas cards. We send out Easter cards instead. However, click here to view a fun little Christmas greeting to those of you who check out our blog. God's blessings to you this Christmas and New Year.

Friday, November 30, 2007

End of November Update

No, we haven't been watching Survivor. We're simply trying to survive being parents of a 2-year old.

We're also waiting for our paperwork to come back from immigration. We traveled to Yakima to the Department of Immigration back in October to submit our paperwork and get fingerprinted. We were told that by going directly to Immigration rather than the Dept of Homeland Security to get fingerprinted shaves about a month's time off the whole red-tape process. It was a day-long excursion over to Yakima, but worth it to save a month, if that's really what it ends up being. Not to mention the fact that the fall colors over the mountain passes were beautiful.

We didn't know what to expect in Yakima. Homeland was near Seattle...big building, big crowd, ethnically diverse. Yakima was a small one-storey building in a downtown neighborhood, and it was the three of us with three other families waiting to be taken care of. We were in and out in about 20 minutes. I don't remember how long we waited at Homeland last time, but I can assure you it was MUCH longer than 20 minutes.

As soon as the paperwork comes back to us, we'll then have everything ready to take to Olympia, have it state sealed, then given to our agency to submit to China. There's still a lot to be done and a lot more waiting.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. We had a good laugh towards the end of dinner. Lily has become quite the comedian. Julie asked all our guests to share something they are thankful for. One young friend began by saying "I'm thankful for..." and paused, when Lily jumped in with a loud, "MONEY!!!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Survivor in Jiangxi

I've never been a big fan of the TV show "Survivor," but I have a feeling we'll be watching it this season. This year it's in China, in particular in Jiangxi province where Lily was born and where we received her. Read more about it on the CBS Survivor website or here on a news site from Jiangxi.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Red Thread Continues

We're still here. Betcha thought that we were going to stop blogging. We had thought about it ever since our last post on Lily's "Gotcha Day" anniversary. We thought maybe we would have one last post on Lily's second birthday party in June. Well, obviously that came and went...along with the rest of the summer. Here we are in the middle of September, and only now am I getting around to posting something new.

And boy, do we have news. We are adopting again! Julie and I were blessed this summer with an amazing, completely out-of-the-blue, generous monetary gift from some dear friends in order to adopt another child. We were in shock after it was offered to us. We told our friends that we would have to think about it and pray about it. Driving away from their home, Julie and I started discussing things. After a while, I said, "You know...we're talking as if we we're going to do this." Guess it didn't take too much thinking or praying. We immediately recognized this as a blessing from God, called our friends as soon as we could, and accepted their generous gift.

The process has already started...filling out paperwork...visits from our social worker...fingerprinting appointments...and on and on it goes. We're not as stressed out as we were last time. Maybe that's because we know more about what to expect...the whole "been there, done that" thing.

We will be adopting from China again. We want to provide a sibling for Lily with whom she can share a common heritage.

When will this happen? It's probably still a couple of years off. China has extended the waiting period for adoptions since we were last there. However, it could be sooner if we adopt an older child (2-3 years old) or a child with some minor special needs, both of which we are open to.

So, it looks like the Red Thread to Marysville has been extended across the waters once again. Our blog will continue. We will give you updates on our new adoption journey. We will post other interesting bits and pieces of information for you that we run across. And we will share new pictures of Lily with you now and then to show you how much she is growing.

Lily and Dad at the Ballpark

This one was too cute not to share. It looks like Safeco Field in Seattle, but it was really just a backdrop at our local minor league park in Everett. And in case you were wondering, that's just a cutout of Raul Ibanez, too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Gotcha Day" Anniversary

One year ago today, Lily Ping was placed into my arms at the Gloria Plaza Hotel in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China. I can't believe a year has gone by already since that momentous occasion that changed our lives forever. It seems like it was only yesterday.

We celebrated in a quiet way by being together at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma. Point Defiance is a beautiful little zoo, and Lily seemed to enjoy looking at all the animals. However, what gave her the most pleasure was running herself ragged and finding rocks to pick up along the pathways. She loves to pick up rocks wherever she finds them, so mom and dad have to be ever vigilant when she draws her hand behind her ear. That usually means the windup has begun. By the time she was ready to climb back into the stroller, it was time to head back.

All in all, it was a special day remembering and reflecting on the many ways in which God has blessed us with this beautiful, active, strong-willed, precious, and even precocious, little girl.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

The church council told me to take a couple of days off this week following a busy Holy Week, so I took their advice. It was a nice day outside, so we decided to go for a drive and check out the tulips in the fields of Skagit County near Mt. Vernon. It's about a half hour drive north on I-5 for us. Every year a big festival is held in April around the time the tulips bloom. The whole valley becomes quite the tourist haunt.

Here's a couple of tourists enjoying the tulip fields. Mt. Baker was supposed to be in the background, but it kind of got lost in the haze.

Lily's looking for a lily pad for this frog to kick back on.

The color in the fields is quite stunning.
Of course, the pictures don't do it justice.

"I'll take this one."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lily is a US Citizen!

You may remember that when only one parent travels to China (such as in our case), the child has to be "re-adopted" in the US. In the meantime, the child is considered a legal immigrant.

Yesterday, Lily's last step towards citizenship was completed. Lily's adoption was finalized. She is now officially a US citizen. We met our lawyer at the Snohomish County courthouse and appeared before a judge. After a series of questions, her citizenship was granted. A group of family and friends were there to help us celebrate...including lunch at "The Flying Pig" in Everett afterwards.

The judge was kind enough to allow pictures in his courtroom.

Lily's so excited about being a full-fledged American now. Here she is patriotically waving her flag. Now if we can only get her to sit like a lady.

Waiting for her food at "The Flying Pig." That's her buddy Thomas in the background.

Easter Sunday

Lily and her Montana cousins Sawyer and Emerson at our church on Easter Sunday.

Julie and the Pinger. I had to include this one because it looks sort of like a "Madonna and Child" with Julie's head framed the way it is.

Lily's first Easter egg hunt in our backyard. Notice we spared no expense in buying her an Easter basket. (Actually, we did buy her a basket...we just didn't use it for the egg hunt. Come on...we're not THAT cheap!)

Chinese New Year Pics

Chinese New Year is long past, but we still wanted to share some of these pictures with you.

Here's Lily on her "Empress Throne"...otherwise known as the woodburning insert in the Onken family room. It's become her little personal chair ever since she learned to climb up on the bricks. I haven't had the heart to start a fire this winter since that would mean no more "Empress Throne" for Lily.

Lily greeting her guests at the door. We had about 25 people at our party.

The dragon flies high above the snack table.

Here's a closer look at what Julie set out for everyone. The rest of the food was from a local Chinese restaurant.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year!

Gong he xin xi! (pronounced gong her shin shee) Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year, and this year is the Year of the Pig. We had our own little celebration with family and friends yesterday at the house. We'll post some pictures when we get a chance. In the meantime, click here to read more about this festival.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Gettin' Wiggy With It

Just havin' some fun with Grandma's old wig.

Fun with the Cousins

Lily's cousins Sawyer and Emy are visiting from Montana. They've been having lots of fun together. Sawyer is 4 and a half and Emy is 4 days older than Lily. Lily and Sawyer enjoy drawing together. Lily and Emy enjoy screaming together.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

First Visit to the Dentist

Lily had her first visit to the dentist on Wednesday. While Julie was in another chair in the office getting some fillings replaced, I sat with the Pinger while the hygienist examined her. Kristine (the hygienist) was great with Lily. She was very gentle, sitting down next to her, showing her and letting her touch her "tools of the trade" least all the ones without sharp points and edges. But once the rubber gloves started to go on, Lily began to panic...apparently remembering her visit to the doctor on Monday to get some blood drawn. Tears began to well up, a whimpering cry came out of her mouth, and her arms reached out for dad to save her. Kristine wisely took the gloves off and we assured Lily that she wasn't going to get poked. After that, Lily did fine as Kristine looked at her teeth. She had trouble seeing her upper teeth, so we had to hold Lily on her back and put her head in the hygienist's lap. That's when the crying really started...which was actually good since her mouth was wide open. In the end, Lily's teeth looked great. And she got two new toothbrushes and a "Finding Nemo" sticker as parting gifts.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Lily's New Year's Resolutions

1. Order stuff with my very own phone and debit card that came with my purse that I got for Christmas.

2. Learn how to use the abacus that Uncle John got me instead of relying on mom's calculator.

3. Wear more bags on my head.

4. Teach mom how to ride a horse at the Everett Children's Museum.

5. Drink more tea with dad. He drinks way too much coffee.