Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2012, A Special Year Indeed!

Be warned, this is a long overdue post with many pictures. It is truly incredible to take a step back and look at the past year...how far we've come, how much we've grown, and just how much Keira has changed in the last twelve months. It is mind boggling. I could literally spend hours (I kind of have) looking through photos of the two weeks we spent in China and the twelve months that followed leading up to today. I have had to pinch myself on numerous occasions. I tried to narrow down the pictures further, in order to post just two or three per month to give you a glimpse of our lives over the past year but oh, it is difficult. I have hundreds of photos and they all tell a tale. 

What an incredible journey into motherhood this has been! On January 8th we celebrated our first Gotcha/Family Day...on January 18th, Keira celebrated her second birthday. I am blessed beyond measure that this precious little girl is my daughter. For those still checking in on the blog every now and then, enjoy!

United at last - January 8, 2012. Keira might not have been impressed right away, but her mommy was over over the moon!
January 20th, after many hours and two flights, we arrived at the airport to friends and family.
Keira turned a year old on January 18th, two days before we left China. We celebrated at home with family on January 29th when we weren't quite so jet lagged. 

Keira is a thinker...she looks, watches, and takes everything in. Gradually the scowl and semi-frown that would frequent her brow turned into a grin, a smile, and full out laughter. When the giggling begins, it's contagious! She came through the front door in the wee hours of the morning on January 21 and literally appeared to breathe a sigh of relief. She belonged, pets and all. It was as though she had always been here. Keira was finally home. 

Celebrating Mommy's birthday with immediate family the beginning of February

Happy Valentine's Day!


On our way out to attend our very first birthday day party!
Feeding chickadees with Mommy while out on a nature walk with friends.


She figured out all too quickly what a telephone was all about...look out teenage years!
This child LOVES to be outside.

On Mother's Day, Keira gave me the gift of the traditional crawl. Until then, she had been commando crawling everywhere. Suddenly, in one day, she figured out how to go from lying down to sitting on her own, and crawling on her knees. From there, it was go, go, go!

In June, Keira made many discoveries. She figured out how to pull herself up into the standing position using stand alone objects rather than relying solely on Mommy's legs. She explored the strawberry patch with Mommy and Oma, and discovered her love of both the sandbox and the splash pad. It turns out, after all of the fuss and meltdowns we would have at bath time each and every time, this girl loves the water! She can't get enough of it. 

Happy Canada Day!

Love, love, love the swing!!!
First bike ride!
Keira would practise walking every chance she got.

We took Mom and Tot swimming lessons for two weeks in July. Keira was a "Duck". 
On August 15th, Keira took her first solo steps. She hasn't looked back since! She was also quite excited when her baby cousin arrived. We took advantage of the nice summer weather and went on a mini road trip to Niagara Falls and visited friends in Burlington. We ended up coming home with a new kitten, Rain,  adopted from the Burlington Humane Society. She is a cutie and settled nicely into our household, following Keira around wherever she goes!

First trip to a zoo. The kid (as in baby goat) decided to join Keira while she snacked on some blueberries. His choice of fine dining was the zoo map!
Saying hello to one of our friend's cats...she has five plus was fostering a mom and her kittens. Busy household!
True tourists visiting the Falls
Hello baby! Meeting her cousin for the first time. 
September was a quiet month. It was the month I was supposed to go back to work however, the months since coming home had passed by far too quickly. I was so not ready to go back to work and leave my little one in childcare (I'm still not!), so I extended my leave until mid March, the longest I could go without losing right of return to my position. We returned to our routine of weekly playgroup and Kindermusik, and we took advantage of the beautiful weather by getting outside as much as possible. 

Mommy and I took Oma and my cousin on the annual AdoptWalk. It would be nice to make this an annual tradition.
First pony ride!
The month of Thanksgiving and Halloween! We certainly had a lot to be thankful this year! Keira also became a citizen on the 24th of the month, although we didn't find out until mid November. Yes, we certainly did have a lot to be thankful for!
Waiting patiently for dessert to arrive after Thanksgiving dinner.
Just cuteness!

The hat lasted all of two minutes! ;-)

One year ago on the first of this month, I saw Keira's precious face for the first time. One year ago on the first of this month, I had a face to the name I had chosen so long ago. One year ago on the first of this month, I became a mom....a mom to a beautiful baby girl I could only see in a picture. I had to wait another two months to hold her however, after waiting almost seven years, two months was nothing! It literally flew by. Upon seeing her face, the years of waiting melted away and my focus switched to preparing for the BIG trip...truly the trip of a lifetime. A journey that would bring me to her. A journey that would bring her home. In November Keira's citizenship arrived in the mail. The official date was in October, but the documents arrived in mid November. How appropriate given November was our referral anniversary month. 
Is that really me?

Visiting Oma in hospital after she broke her foot and had to have surgery.
November 15 - the day my citizenship arrived in the mail!
Helping Mommy clean up in prep for winter.
Well, we all know what December brings! And no, I'm not just referring to snow. Our first visit with Santa, our first outing to a children's version of the Nutcracker (Max and Ruby - even though Keira has no idea who they are!) and, of course, our first Christmas together! And yes, we did indeed end up getting our first snowfall and since then it hasn't let up! 
Day One of the Advent Calendar...it became an obsession! Someone still had bed head!
Showing off a special parcel that arrived in the mail. This doll was picked out by friends who traveled to Germany. They also sent Keira slippers from Holland. Keira LOVES getting mail!
December 6th - still snow free! 
Dressed up and ready to go to our first big show - a children's Max and Ruby version of The Nutcracker . Keira was still a tad young, but it was extremely well done and her four year old cousin loved it!
I prepped her big time for Santa so when the time came to introduce her to an actual human, she didn't do too badly. She was still uncertain as to whether or not it was a good thing to be sitting there, but curiosity got the better of her and Mommy was able to get a couple of decent photos. ;-)
Christmas Day - always the character!

Caught in thought on New Year's Eve during the day.
Playing with family friend, Susan.

On January 6th of last year, my mother and I boarded a plane. On the 7th, we landed in Beijing. On the morning of 8th we flew on to Nanchang, Jiangxi, and on that same afternoon I was handed the most precious gift in the world. How is it that a year has already passed us by? 

Gone is the quiet introvert who couldn't sit on her own or roll over. Gone is the child who constantly sucked her fingers as a means of security and comfort. Gone is the child who wore an almost perma-frown and spent most of her time studying my every move. Gone is the child who only ate formula and rice cereal. Gone is the child who had no teeth! Gone is the child who was a little peanut. I now have a healthy, strong willed, vivacious, funny, push the limits toddler on my hands, who does absolutely everything with great gusto. Yes, she is still a thinker, but you can bet the thinking that is taking place behind those eyes is for a purpose! Keira is always trying to figure something out. She is absolutely full of life. I look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for us. 

There will be some big changes this year as I head back to work in a couple of months (sigh)....I am  hoping my little firecracker knows just how much she is loved, and will have the confidence and sense of security needed to be able to handle this new transition with relative ease. As for me, I hate to admit it when I haven't even walked through the doors yet, but I know I'll be counting down the weeks until the summer holidays! Fifteen weeks. I think I can handle it knowing there's a summer off with my daughter at the end of it. Awful I know, but it's the truth! I love being a mom. More importantly, I love being Keira's mom. 
New Year's Day - We celebrated with Oma and Opa!


Gotcha/Family Day, One Year Anniversary - January 8, 2013

                                           One year later - what a difference!


Michelle said...

What a blessed year you had. I love how perfectly you fit together. She is precious!!!

Anonymous said...

I love it Paula....time sure does go fast....before we know it these girls will be 9! (and a certain other girl will be 16, yikes!)
Love reading your posts and wish you a great rest of your leave!!
Lisa V

B said...

What a lovely post.

Paige said...

Love the pics, precious child!

Lori said...

Wow, your girl is just beautiful!!!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the sweet comment, thanks for sharing in our joy!!!