Forever Katie Day – March 10th

March 10th, 2014 marks one year since Katie was put in my arms and became part of our family!  I am astounded that a whole year has gone by and even more in awe of how we’ve grown as a family and who Katie has become.   I stare at the photos of her on that day in the boardroom of the hotel and marvel at the strength in this wee little girl.   Many people in the adoption community refer to this anniversary as “Gotcha Day” …but I struggle with the tone of that one.   I think we’re going to call it Katie Day.   This date will always be SO significant in our family but now that it’s here,  I’ve been unsure what we should do to mark it because it represents a much wider range of emotions and circumstance than simply our joy at finally having our precious SK after such a long wait.  It’s important to respect what happened in Katie’s world that day and that of her foster mom. Tim clarified it beautifully last night – we need to “commemorate this day”, not “celebrate” it.   I was feeling extremely emotional the other night. I guess Katie Day is forcing me to take stock of this incredible year and all of the joys and challenges we’ve experienced 🙂  It’s been difficult to really grasp it all.  Most days I don’t have time to stop and contemplate how we got here…it’s just so right that Katie is here with us, but when I take a moment to absorb it all, it takes my breath away.

Our first few minutes together

Our first few minutes together

At Toys 'r Us

At Toys ‘r Us

All in purple for a party!

All in purple for a party!

Katie’s 2nd birthday was January 5th!  We took her to the new Aquarium and had a fantastic time.  She was obsessed with turtles and we managed to see the elusive sea turtle just before we left.  It was so exciting!  Bibi and Grampy had given her a doll for Chanukah and expanded on doll items for her birthday. SK loves caring for her dolls….they need their diapers changed constantly and she also breast feeds the little one because she has seen her caregiver “Nana” breastfeed her baby daughter.   It’s about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.   Katie has now had several caregivers in her life because I have had to find time to train not one but two new admin people (1st one didn’t work out) and also go back to teaching classes myself.   We have been extremely fortunate to find such loving, caring people.  “Nana and baby Sofia” have been a huge part of Katie’s life and she absolutely loves them both.  Katie would stay at their place for a few hours in the morning while I worked and I was so grateful to have the time to settle her in so she was completely happy when I would go.  What a relief!   This was the first situation where I left Katie with anyone other than my parents or Tim.  Sadly we don’t get to see them regularly anymore but they are always in our hearts.   We also have a few people, including friends and relatives who will come with us to music class so Katie can go out and have a snack or play, etc while I teach.   Overall, it has gone very well!

Her first painting!

Her first painting!

We are proud to report that Katie became a full Canadian Citizen on February 4th, 2014!!  Her certificate of citizenship arrived February 12th.  What a happy day that was!

Katie’s words are just overflowing now…its so cute!!   She loves to say “right now!” as emphatically as I apparently say it…often. Her version of OK!  is Oh Hay! and the first colour she can say is Purple (of course!). She loves to sing “night night” to each of the people in her life that she can pronounce.  She recently sang Happy Birthday to Grampy and it was absolutely recognizable…It fills me with joy that she loves to sing.   When we drive to music class and I have to teach, she does my vocal warm ups with me…very well too (thanks Elaine!) She loves to draw, do crafty things and adores when we read books.  I think she’s very artistic and I’m surprised how long she will stay focused on something.  The other day she spent and hour and a half exploring her modelling clay and her caregiver.


Her love of Baby Sofia…so much affection!

Winter has been absolutely brutal for us grown ups this year but Katie loves the snow…she calls it ‘Nyoh’.  I originally thought that this would have been her first exposure to snow but it turns out it they did get “nyoh” last year in Fengcheng.   This winter we endured a lot: very cold temps, a ton of snow, the famous ice storm with a loss of power for a couple of days (not bad compared to many people) and a long bout of illness. It was definitely a new challenge for me to be home sick with a sick child…how do you do it Moms out there?!   We are VERY ready for spring to arrive.


Going “shopping” at home.

Katie loves to pretend she’s going shopping…she takes my purse and walks out of the room saying BYE!  until I ask her where she’s going.  She’s always going to buy apples and bananas…both words she can say.   I love how we communicate right now. Between her real words and her sounds and actions for other things there’s very little I don’t understand.  If I’m confused it usually turns out that she’s “talking” about something that happened days ago that I’ve clearly forgotten but somehow relates to what’s going on in the moment.  She has quite a memory and her ability to make associations is incredible.  She love to repeatedly “tell the story” of how Baby Sofia was crying and we sang the Great Big Stars song to her and it made her feel better,  or explain the different ways that we think she got a little splinter in her foot.


At Gymnastics…hard to get a good photo since she won’t stay still!

The other morning we couldn’t find her toothbrush because it had fallen behind the bed.  I said I needed a flashlight to find it and we’d have to do it later (& then throw it out :-).  We went out…about 6 hours later she comes to me with flashlight in hand (I didn’t even know she knew the word) and said “ch ch ch” (our tooth brushing sound).   Subtle.

Physically, Katie is doing great!  Gaining weight and growing (although still on the tiny side), and she’s very strong and coordinated with astonishing dexterity.  She can climb anything and loves the little “gymnastics” class we do on Tuesdays.  I used to go with her cousin Tyler when he was little so it’s really fun to experience it again with SK.  I’ve no doubt she will be a very physically active person who is comfortable in her body.  She can get her own snow pants on in a flash including the zipper, diapers on and off herself, socks and boot on…and yet it STILL takes an hour of wrangling to get out of the house 🙂


Ahh, NYOH!

We had our first Chinese New Year together this year but sadly, it was a bust because SK and I were both really sick.    We were going to get together with our 2 travel families but had to cancel…there was also a snow storm 😦 Darn.    We managed to get together with our travel families a couple of weeks later at party through the adoption agency.  It’s so exciting to see how all three girls have grown and watch their personalities develop.  We look forward to seeing more of  our China sisters.

Halloween was a bust this year too…horrible weather so the three costumes I’d bought (yup, indecisive) never got worn.  One came out of the drawer a few weeks ago and SK put it on herself 😉

Katie is without question…a 2 year old.   More demanding, emotional, independent, irrational, etc but also has become even more funny, loving, generous, affectionate and happy.  She is quick to kiss my ‘boo boo’ (she had a very little yet dramatic one recently so she knows how it feels),  loves to give us a “squishy fishy face”,   takes my food with a sly grin, shares very willingly (unless she’s teasing me) and needs to help with absolutely everything…washing dishes, sweeping, feeding Greta, doing laundry, fixing things with Dada, etc.  Honestly, I’m really not trying to wrangle her into doing housework, it’s just what she thinks is fun!!


One of the Halloween costumes…quack. She’s moved on from her obsession with ducks.


The Silk dress we bought in China for her first New Year… it only got worn in the living room 😦


Helping Dada fix things

Katie’s sleep has improved but depending on which morning you ask me,  I might say by a lot or a little.  Since we took her off dairy, the night terrors have almost entirely disappeared but there is still the odd one. It’s such a mystery.  She still eats like a champ although the 2 yr old side of her appetite is a lot fussier than we’re used to.

Katie and Tim continue to grow closer and closer. She loves to watch him from our window as he goes down the walk to his truck and we wave from the window. He wakes up quite early these days to go to work and as soon as Katie knows he’s up she insists on going to find him so they can have some Dada and Katie breakfast time while I try for just a few more minutes in bed 🙂

We are experiencing all the normal stresses of parenthood and the challenges of balancing work and life. Very difficult at times with the way some events have transpired this winter but we’re finding our way and Katie is of course the driving force of cuteness!    Video coming soon….

Daddy's girl

Daddy’s girl

Katie's China sisters :-)

Katie’s China sisters, one year later 🙂

Our unexpected treat on Katie Day. Thanks local fire station!

Katie Day dinner.

Katie Day dinner.

On the mountain with Tim

On the mountain with Tim at gymnastics.


Taking care of her baby

Football with Dada!

Football with Dada!


Snowbanks at the cottage

At the aquarium

At the aquarium



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Craig-Olsen
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 13:11:41

    Dearest Risa, This was absolutely beautiful! Katie is so precious and I am moved to tears hearing of your happiness! And laughter as well–there’s always things 2 year olds say that you can’t understand! 😉 You are clearly a great mom!
    All my love!


  2. Sydney
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 20:23:05

    thank you Risa for letting us into your world over the past year. I can only imagine how busy it has been but what a success overall. We look forward to seeing you all soon…………. much love


  3. Bernie
    Mar 21, 2014 @ 00:06:51

    AMAZING. Love to all three of you! xox


  4. Kathie
    Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:45:04

    Omigosh…could Katie be more ridiculously beautiful! Love your posts and pics Risa. I feel your joy xo


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