“For I know the plans I have for you…to give you hope and a future.”

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho
Born January 17, 2007 Guangdong Province, The People's Republic of China Forever Ours April 12, 2010
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Friday, May 28, 2010

5 Years Ago Today...

Celebrating our five year wedding anniversary today. Still amazes me that two people born on opposite sides of the world, met and truly felt meant to be together forever. I am so very lucky to have Rupert as my husband (and to have Aaron and Donovan as our sons). Rupert exceeds my expectations as a husband and as a father to our children, every day. I am so lucky!

Monday, May 24, 2010

First Day in the Pool

The weather this week is HOT, HOT, HOT (high 80s, even 90s!!), and setting some records as it is very unusual for Vermont this time of year. We opened the pool Saturday, cranked the heater up on Sunday, and today, was our first day in the pool (and Aaron's first time ever in a pool). Donovan has been so looking forward to this day, and we were looking forward to seeing Aaron's reaction.

I think the first photo says it all - pure happiness from both boys. Donovan reminds me of myself at his age with regards to the pool - He LOVES the pool. This morning, he spent two hours in the pool (10-12) and then 90 more minutes after lunch (when Aaron went down for an early nap), and then another hour after nap/before dinner. He is a fish!

Aaron's first experience in a pool...After seeing him for the past couple of days pour buckets of ice cold water from the water table onto his head, and stand in the sprinkler without moving, I had a feeling...and it proved true - Aaron LOVES the pool. He is fearless. After floating around in several tubes, kicking his feet, he was determined to do it himself (which he shouts loudly in Mandarin). And I mean DETERMINED (as in don't try to stop him). So, he proceeded to come down the ladder into the pool...and of course...went right underwater. I was right there, and quickly lifted him back up. No tears or anything. He just got out of the pool, quickly wiped his face off, stepped into an inner tube, and jumped back in. Fast learner :)

Oh, this summer is going to be so much fun with these two boys in the pool!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Amazing Aaron

39 days after we met, one month after arriving to his new home, tonight Aaron rode his bike up and down the entire Rustic Drive, twice! Our new son continues to absolutely amaze us. We would have never imagined that a little boy who had lived 3 years in a Chinese orphanage, one month after arriving home would be riding a two wheel bike (with training wheels) down our road and back to our house. Before we met Aaron we already knew he was a little boy who had persevered against the odds, and survived. What is clear to us, is that Aaron is a very, very determined little boy. We see this every day in everything he does. We are so lucky to have him as our son!
(On the weekend he arrived in his new home, he was riding a tricycle - very competently, which surprised us very much. Aaron was clearly devastated to see Donovan ride a BIG two wheel bike (with training wheels) and Aaron told Daddy, "I want a big bike like that." Rupert took Donovan to Toys R Us the next day and they got a big bike (well, a 12 inch one, not quite as bit as Donovan's 16 inch bike - but then again, Donovan's legs are a lot longer than Aaron's). Aaron was thrilled, but clearly had difficulty keeping his feet on the pedals (even after we bought him a pair of appropriate sneakers, instead of the slip on shoes he came to us in), had difficulty braking (with either the handbrake or peddling backwards), and while his body is very muscular and strong, his little legs just did not seem to have the strength yet to pedal very far. Each day he's tried to ride his bike, and each day he's ridden just a little ways before hopping off. And, then tonight...well he was off and flying down the road on that bike, and smiling from ear to ear - and then he did it again!
Amazing...simply amazing...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Sprinkler Photos

Love these photos of Aaron and Donovan playing in the sprinkler! Love the two of them taking turns drinking from the sprinkler. So much fun!!

Sprinkler Fun!

Today was so beautiful. This afternoon the boys had so much fun running under the sprinkler in the backyard. I was able to catch a few good photos of them. We are going to have such a wonderful summer with these two!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Boys' Sandbox

Over the weekend Rupert made a sandbox for the boys. They are having so much fun in it. Both boys love construction vehicles and digging.
Yesterday (Monday) was so beautiful. The boys played in the sandbox, then the water table, and ran under the sprinkler. It felt like summer!

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Mommy, We Need One More!"

Tonight at dinner, Donovan held up one hand and counted one finger for each person in our family, "One, Mommy; Two, Daddy; Three, Aaron; Four, Donovan. Look, there's room for one more. We need one more person in our family" HUGE SMILE ON MY FACE with that comment! (Donovan, I'm thinking the exact same thing, I was thinking to myself.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

One Month Ago Today...Aaron Became Our Son!

One Month Ago Today, Aaron officially became our son. This was the day we legally adopted him. However, in our hearts, he became our son on November 18th, when we first saw his photo and knew he was supposed to be our son.
One Month Ago Today, Aaron gained his Forever Family. His life and ours will never be the same - they will be so much more meaningful now that we have one another.

Today I am thinking about a special "online friend," Shannon, who is the special person who emailed me when she saw Aaron on her agency's list of waiting children. She was responding to a post I had made on RQ (Rumor Queen), and emailed me to tell me her agency (Great Wall) had a new, and rather lengthy list of waiting children, and specifically about the most gorgeous little boy who was # 97 on the list. As most of you know from following our blog, I did not pay any attention to the number of the child she mentioned, and instead began scrolling down the list at the sweet photos and descriptions, (and really, I was looking at the GIRLS), until suddenly, my eyes met the most gorgeous little boy, wearing an American flag t-shirt, and at that moment, I felt that I had met my son. The feeling was no different than when I look at a photo of Donovan. Later, when I looked back at Shannon's email to me, I saw that my son was child # 97 that she had emailed me about. I would NEVER have found our son if Shannon had not emailed me. I was not LOOKING on other agencies' lists of waiting children, as we were already logged in with CAWLI. I would NEVER have known about him. Just a few months after we found Aaron, CCAA requested all agencies' files of waiting children back and instead put them on the huge shared list, where there is no doubt, I would not have ever found him.

Everyday I realize just how lucky I am that we found Aaron.

I'm still working on adding photos to my posts from when we were IN CHINA, and to change the size of the ones that are there, to be larger. Not sure if the photos today are already on my blog, but the first three are from our Adoption Day, and the final photo is Aaron today, relaxing in an Adirondack chair on the front lawn.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Month Ago Today...What a Difference a Month Makes!

One month ago today, we met Aaron in China. It is hard to believe it has only been one month that we have known him. While he entered the Adoption Center a bit frightened (not to mention having endured motion sickness on the three hour ride), but by the time we were in our hotel room, we began very quickly to see our VERY ENTHUSIASTIC and ENERGETIC son. Aaron is a very, very happy child (but he can throw a temper tantrum like we have never seen before!)
It is amazing how much he has changed in one month! Every day he impresses us and amazes us more and more...And I can't wait to see what the future holds for him...

What a Difference One Month Makes! So many changes!

* He has changed from a boy who had no idea that kids play in the bathtub to now pretending to "swim, swim" in the bathtub. In China, he stood (or with coaxing from us he would squat for a few minutes) and he only used the stacking cup toys we had brought to pour water over himself to rinse himself. He wanted to wash himself with the soap. Now he lets Mom wash him, and rinse him, and he focuses on playing with toys in the tub, as a 3 year old should!

* He has changed from a little boy who had never used a Western toilet before, and was PETRIFIED of them, to a little boy who happily announces he needs to go "pee pee now now," (a cominbination of the English and Mandarin terms), and then happily races to the toilet, and can't wait to flush it afterwards.

* He is learning English so fast. He surprises us at times, for example, saying "Mommy, napkin," out of the blue when I had forgotten to set napkins out at lunchtime.

* He is learning the routines of our family and our day, and the expectations we have for him and for Donovan.

* He is learning what it means to have a mom, dad, brother, and grandma who adore him. He is learning what it feels like to be loved.

He is a three year old boy who has endured more in his short life than any of us can imagine. He is a boy who is brave, courageous, and inspiring. We are so lucky to have him as our son; we are so lucky to be his parents.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Doubly Blessed, and ER Visit

How lucky I feel on this Mother's Day to be the mother to two wonderful three year old boys, Donovan and Aaron. I feel doubly blessed - definitely double happiness in our family! LOVE the photo above of the two boys hugging each other last night. This morning, it proved difficult to get a good photo of the three of us at one time (as you can see from the several I posted)!
We enjoyed a lovely Mother's Day today. My mom came for the day, and enjoyed dinner with us.
We continue to be absolutely amazed at how quickly Aaron has adapted to our family, learned our routines, and expecially how fast he is picking up English. It seems hard to believe that we've known him less than a month, and been home for just two weeks.
Already he can sing, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "The ABC Song," and say lots of English phrases. He is very, very eager to learn. He is learning the English words for colors and will point to things and say their color. He can count to 10 in English (both out loud and counting objects).
A few days ago, I got my first spontaneous hug and kiss from Aaron and three days ago he started calling himself Aaron, instead of "Bao Xin Sheng Aaron." He is an amazing little boy, and we are so lucky to be his parents. Donovan continues to tell us how much he loves having Aaron as his brother (this is when they are not arguing over who had a toy first).
Unfortunately our evening did not end well. While I was upstairs getting things ready for bathtime/bedtime, Rupert had the two boys downstairs and began playing a very loud and wild game of "chase," which of course the boys loved. I heard their squeals and knew they were having fun...but not something I would be comfortable doing with them. Within minutes they were calling for me...Aaron had crashed into our family room's couch...and had a cut on his head which was bleeding. I was able to stop the bleeding luckily, but the cut, while just about an inch long, looked quite deep to me. It seemed an ER visit was in order, to find out if he needs stitches/glue (I would think they'll use the glue...) I packed Aaron's bag with snacks, drinks, books, puzzles, and a great magnadoodle toy that we always use for medical appointments, and sent Rupert to the ER with Aaron. I usually handle all the medical appointments for both boys, but really felt like this is part of the consequence for Rupert for having chosen such a wild game in the house. Also, while I've done just fine with Aaron at medical appointments so far, and the hospital will provide a Mandarin translator for his hearing testing tomorrow (We don't envision any issues with his hearing, but need to do this testing and of course we want the results to be accurate, and need him to be able to understand the directions - that's why the translator), Rupert has a better chance then me at explaining to Aaron what is happening at the ER...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Donovan's Wish...

Tonight after reading a book about a bear who makes a lot of wishes, I asked Donovan what he wishes for. He said, "A big brother like Aaron." I asked him what he meant - he said ANOTHER brother from China, but this time older than him (older than Donovan).
Hmm....that's not quite in the plans...how about a younger sister, Donovan? (Of course I didn't say that to him, but it got me thinking...obviously Donovan thinks there is room in our family for another child...and there most certainly is (in my opinion too!)

"Donovan We Missed You!!!"

Aaron's English is really coming along MUCH FASTER that I would have ever anticipated! He understands a lot of what we say. He's saying quite a few words and he echoes us when we speak to him. The other day at lunch he said, "Mommy, napkin," and sure enough, I had forgotten to put napkins by our lunch plates.

Aaron has a little routine each time he leaves the house in the car with me. In fact, as soon as I say we are going in the car, he moves his hands like they are on a steering wheel and exclaims happily, "Mommy's driving the car. Aaron's riding in the car." Then when we pull out of the driveway (and the entire time we are driving through our neighborhood, he says, "Bye Bye House...Bye Bye Daddy...Bye Bye Donovan...Mommy's Driving the Car...Aaron's riding in the car."

Donovan is still going to Lisa's during the day as I have quite a few appointments and things to take care of with Aaron. When I wake Aaron up from his nap (and yes, I have to WAKE him up as he will just sleep until I do...) and tell him it's time to go get Donovan, he starts exclaiming (LOUDLY), "Donovan we missed you...Donovan we missed you." On Monday when we picked Donovan up, Aaron said this the entire way home in the car, to which Donovan replied (after about the 20th time), "Yes, I KNOW, you already told me."

Aaron is really into circles. It's the first English word for any of the shapes that he learned and he loves to point to things that are circles and shout, "CIRCLE." It's quite funny,but we are hoping he will show as much enthusiasm for the rest of the shapes and letters. (He already learned to count to 10, not just saying the words, but counting objects.)

Aaron is a very smart child. I was in China for 18 days and did not pick up any Mandarin or Cantonese (except a few words/phrases from Aaron...pee pee, poop, stomach ache, I will do it my self, and all done). I continue to be so impressed by this new son of mine...for so many reasons...We are so lucky!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Haircut and Sneakers

Today, Aaron had his first haircut here in the U.S. I now have one boy who requires haircuts every 4 weeks (high maintenance Donovan, every month since he was 8 weeks old) and one boy who is a low maintenance "buzz cut" boy - Aaron. Melissa buzzed his hair this morning. We were the only ones in the salon, which was perfect, and Aaron LOVED it. He giggled at the feeling of the clippers touching his hair. I'm sure he had this done at the orphanage, as he had an overgrown buzz cut when we received him. He looks very cute! Of course when Rupert arrived home from work he said, "Gosh it's so short, he's almost bald." Yes Rupert, that's a buzz cut! Anyways, IT LOOKS VERY CUTE!

After the haircut, Aaron and I then headed to Kids Town to have his feet measured (size 8 wide) and to get his first pair of sneakers here in the U.S. (The slip on shoes he came to us in had very little treads/traction on the bottom and looked really small on him.) He is very happy with his new sneakers!

He also went to the grocery store for the first time. Certainly quite different than the outdoor markets we visited in China! He had fun helping to check out at the register.

Lots of "firsts" today! We had a great day together. Donovan went to Lisa's (daycare) all day (first day in over a week as it was spring vacation last week). He had a lot of fun with his friends. Once we were in the car, Aaron clearly shouted (MANY TIMES), "Donovan, we missed you. Donovan, we missed you. Donovan we missed you" all the way home! It was a LONG 5 minute ride home :)