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.