“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."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aaron's First Day of Preschool

Aaron's first day of preschool was a huge success for him - not that there was really any doubt about that - between the most incredible school, fabulous teachers, already being familiar with the school since Donovan attends it, and just overall being an enthusiastic child who takes all new things in his life in stride!

We arrived earlier than the other students this morning so Aaron could see his cubby, where to hang his winter clothes, and what the morning routine is like. He then settled in nicely playing up in the loft with the light table, Magnatiles and other magnetic toys. Just as I do with Donovan, we gave 5 kisses and 5 hugs and then it was time for me to leave. He looked a bit teary for a moment and his lip began to quiver, but as soon as I said, "I'll see you before lunch. Have a great morning!" Aaron's face lit up with a huge smile, and he said, "You have a great morning too Mommy!" So cute!

Donovan and I enjoyed our morning together. Just simple things - a trip to the bank (where when the teller gave him a Buzz Lightyear sticker, he asked for one for his brother too), post office, and grocery shopping. I thought Donovan would love the time without Aaron, to play with his toys by himself (after all that was his experience for 3 1/2 years and certainly suddenly sharing all your toys with a same-age sibling is not easy!). When we got in the car to go get Aaron, Donovan said, "Mommy, Aaron has been gone for SO LONG. I miss him so much!"
When we got to the preschool, Aaron was one of a handful of dedicated sledders up on the big sledding hill (just as is the case with Donovan when we pick him up every day!). Donovan grabbed a sled and headed up the hill. He quickly caught up to Aaron and threw his arms around him. Later I asked what he had said, and he replied, "I told Aaron I missed him so much and that I love him so much."

I asked Aaron what his favorite part of the school day was, and he said, "sledding on the big hill." He filled me in on the Dragon Dance book his teacher read (which we lent them in preparation for Chinese New Year), pancakes and blueberries and juice for snack, working with pattern blocks and making a flower garden and how he had to help the girl next to him because she didn't know how to do it, and all about the water table. He then told me he was sad he didn't have to write his name (he does know how to write his first and last name) and he didn't get to write/draw in a journal (which Donovan's class does each cay). So, after lunch, Aaron did his journaling, drawing a picture of the big sledding hill and all the colorful sleds, and Mommy waiting at the bottom of the big hill to pick him up.

I should say we never planned to enroll Aaron in preschool. Donovan started in Sept 3 mornings a week, and I am home for the school year to be with Aaron. We had WRONGLY assumed Aaron would have some orphanage related delays, but that has not been the case. We thought he would not academically be ready. We were WRONG. He very quickly (2 weeks I think) learned all his colors and shapes in English, and then within 2 months had learned to recognize his numbers to 20 and all the letters. We continue to work on counting objects with 1:1 correspondence and the sounds letters make. Aaron is quick to memorize stories and recite them and is learning to form his letters (handwriting). A few weeks ago we learned a little girl in Donovan's class was moving, and while that opening was being filled right away (by a little girl in the 2 day program), there was then an opening in the 2 day program and no one on that waiting list. While we weren't planning this, we felt that Aaron was ready and also we felt it was too good to turn down, as it would make it more likley that both boys would be placed in Donovan's 3 day class for the fall, which is what we need with me going back to work...And it did work out, as registration for current students happened last week and both boys are now enrolled for next school year in the 3 day program.

So, we now officially have two boys in preschool!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy!

This photo was taken just before we headed out to dinner at Koto's Japanese Steakhouse for Rupert's birthday dinner. We picked up my mom, enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and then enjoyed cake and presents at her house. Wonderful evening!
Aaron loved the soup and the noodles the best. Donovan ate two calamari and said they were "really good!" Donovan also loved the noodles best.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Aaron is 4!

Today, Aaron turns 4 years old! Happy birthday to my sweet boy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Aaron's FIRST Birthday Party of His OWN!

Donovan created the sign on the easel reading, "Aaron Ho is 4."

The birthday party was a construction vehicle one. Aaron chose a dumptruck balloon (a big one!) for his seat at lunch.

The cake!

Awaiting the cake, and loving every minute of the birthday song, and singing the loudest by far!

Making his wish!

Blowing out the candles!

Opening a Card

Happy, Happy Boy (with my cousin's 16 month old son)

Bulldozer Pinata (FUN)

Grandma and Donovan

Oh how his life has changed! Our son, born in China, and home almost 10 months, selected TACOs for lunch at his birthday party. As Aaron said, "I want tacos for my birthday party. I love them so much. They are my bestest. They are so yummy in my tummy."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To a Mother I Will Never Know

To the mother who gave birth to my son,

Today, on Aaron's 4th Chinese birthday (lunar birthday, according to Chinese lunar calendar), I can't help but think about you. Though I will never know you, I am so thankful for the choices you made for my son; Without you, I would not have my son.

Certainly there are some things I wonder, as I am sure he someday will too. It is so hard for me, as his Mommy now, to comprehend how you walked away from him 3 years and 4 months ago. The reasons really do not matter to me. What I do know is that you left him in a place where he would be quickly found. I will never ever know your story. What we know (and what he will know also) is that you chose life for my son. You made the choice to bring him into this world, and then you made a choice to save my son. Without you and the decisions you made, I would not have my son.

I wish you could know that he survived against the odds as an orphan in China, and at 3 years, 3 months of age, he met his forever family. I wish you could know that he is loved and cherished, and always will be.

I wish I could meet you and tell you how amazing he is! I wish I could let you hear him laugh, just once. I wish you could see how smart he is - scary smart. How in eight months he has learned English to a point that no one would ever know English was not his first language. How within a month he learned his colors, shapes, numbers, and letters in English. How this Christmastime he memorized the entire Night Before Christmas story, Frosty the Snowman song, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town song.

I wish you could see him with his brother, Donovan. I wish you could see he is loved and adored by so many people. I wish you could feel his hugs and kisses, and know how loving he is. I wish you could see and know that he is cherished by all of us. That we are so proud to have him as our son. That we love him so much!

I wish you could see how Aaron embraces each new aspect of his life with incredible enthusiasm. I wish you could witness the joy and happiness he brings to all those around him.

And I can't help but wonder if you are thinking of us today, as much as I am thinking of you. Without you, we would not have our son Aaron and I can't even imagine a life like that. You gave him life! You gave him a chance to be surrounded by love.

I know that we have been blessed beyond words to have him, as our son.

I will forever be thankful to you and the choices you made for Aaron. My continued prayer is that someday we will meet, most likely not this side of life. I pray that we can stand together before our Father who had this marvelous plan for our lives, and you can finally see the gift you gave us - and the gift you gave Aaron.

You will always be remembered,
Love, a very thankful Mommy

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Lunar Birthday Aaron!

Today is Aaron's birthday according to the lunar calendar. For both Donovan and Aaron, we call these their "Chinese birthdays," and I usually say, "Today the moon says it's your birhday." Needless to say, the concept of the lunar calendar is too advanced for them to understand at their age. Both boys know when their real birthdays are, and that those are their actual (legal) birthdates, for which we celebrate as a family, and plan their birthday parties around.

On their Chinese or lunar birthday, they receive "red pocket money," or "lucky money." Today we also dressed Aaron in one of the gorgeous Chinese outfits we bought in Guangzhou.

Happy Lunar Birthday Aaron! 14 more days until you officially turn 4 years old!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Today is a gorgeous warm day here and the boys (including Rupert) have had a blast building snowmen, a snowfort, and having snowball fights. Here are a few photos.
Aaron and Donovan in front of their two snowmen.

Aaron and Donovan peeking out from their snow fort.

Aaron and Donovan in front of the Christmas tree (We are in no hurry to take it down...)

Fireman Aaron - Rupert bought both the boys these fireman toys. They come with an interactive belt that sends the boys on firefighting missions.