Entries Tagged 'Pictures' ↓

The glasses came in!!

We got the call late this afternoon… We all happened to be together so we headed over to pick them up and got there right before the optometrist closed. We waited in anticipation and the optometrist came out with her little glasses! They are very very thick, like magnifying glasses and bubble shaped. He put them on her and she looked a bit surprised. Then she started tapping the glasses excitedly, and smiling. She was eating chips, tapping her glasses, and looking pretty well pleased.

We aren’t sure exactly how much she can see so far because she can’t tell us, so we’ll just be observing her to see how it goes. After adjusting her glasses she was set to go and we headed over to In-N-Out for a celebratory dinner. We must have been quite the sight as we hovered over her. We ended up telling a few people in line her story, and Hope was getting a little fan club right there on the spot. We even told the cashier and he must have appreciated it because he gave us a couple extra orders of fries. ๐Ÿ™‚ As we ate dinner Hope had the cutest little smile on her face. The best way to describe it is that she seemed to have a look of relief on her face. She enjoyed eating her french fries and kept looking up at the lights. We were excited when our friends the Kellers showed up who happened to be eating dinner at In-N-Out as well, and we all got to have dinner together!

It definitely seemed that Hope was reaching for things that she normally wouldn’t have been able to see. We don’t know what her vision is like at this point, but we do know it’s better than it was! The doctor said it will probably take a while for her brain to program the eye to see, so we are thinking it will get better over time. We had no problem at all keeping the glasses on her, because she wasn’t trying to take them off, which was something we were really worried might happen. So far we just have some french fry grease to clean off them! Here are some pictures of our celebration….


hope at irvine spectrumhope shineshope at parkkids at parkhope at the beachhope at irvine spectrumjonathan and hopehopejonathan and hopejonathan and hopekids slidinswinginhope at irvine spectrum

view more pictures at www.tmphillips.com

Hope and light

Here are some cute snaps of Hope playing with one of her favorite toys the other night. She repeatedly shakes it to make the colors flash, then puts it right in front of the one eye that seems to get some perception. Then she presses some buttons that make little clicking sounds that she likes. We darkened the room and that seemed to make it even more enhanced for her. Shake shake shake… Click click click… giggle giggle…

“…having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich His glorious inheritance is…” (Paul of Tarsus)

A bundle of Hope

Abigail and Hannah were in their room with Hope a couple days ago and decided they were going to make a movie, so they began dressing Hope in a costume to prepare her for the starring role. At first it was just a jacket on top of her regular clothes, then they added another jacket… Then they put a skirt on over that… then finally they added another jacket, and put a bonnet on her head… When they came out to show us, and we saw how excited Hope was, the movie production got put on hold, and Abigail took these cute pictures for us! We think Hope might have enjoyed it because the Chinese like to over-bundle their kids, so maybe it was familiar to her, and/or it reminded her of getting bundled up for a cold winter outing in China… Whatever the reason, she loved it and waddled around happily in this outfit for at least an hour…

Farm Kids

We had a great time yesterday traveling to Riley’s Farm in Yucaipa. It was such a beautiful place and Hope had her first experience picking apples, eating freshly made applesauce, and enjoying farm life. If you haven’t been to Riley’s farm and live in SoCal then we highly recommend it! Everyone who works there dresses in colonial type clothes, and they have a great medley of activities for the little ones. From an apple cider press, to making candles, there is plenty to do! www.rileysfarm.com

Hope had fun, but sure didn’t like the flies buzzing around her head non-stop! But she did love running around in the barn with her brother and sisters! We are having so much fun with her and the kids are teaching her the cutest little things every day. Enjoy the pictures!

It was a happy day…

Today was Hopeโ€™s first day of preschool! I was nervous about leaving her but she did really well, and seemed to like it. She has two awesome teachers who were loving and nurturing to her, and really made her feel at home. After dropping her off, Hannah and I went to Starbucks, then went back for a quick spy on her to make sure she was ok. :) She was starting to cry as we rounded the corner but after watching the teacher comfort her, I realized she was in great hands.

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Hannah and I decided that today would be the day for just her and I to go to Disneyland together, and put our annual passes to good use! What a special time! Since we got home from China, Hannah and I haven’t had much time together alone, so it’s a really special thing that she is my only one who is not in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We are planning to doย  a lot of fun things this fall like visit pumpkin patches, farms, parks, and more! So off we went to Disneyland for a few hours. It was great! There were no lines at all, so we just walked right on to all the rides! Everything was just perfect until we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean. Hannah did not like that at all! It was pretty scary for her, so after it was over, we got a big lollipop to try to forget all about it!

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When we picked up Hope, she was happily playing with the toys, and came to us smiling big. What a great day! Now we are off to pick up Jonathan and Abby at their new school that they started this week, a charter school where they will be attending on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then we homeschool on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So far they love it!


The Girl’s got skills

little girl gots skills

First Trip to Disneyland

Today Hope had her first trip to Disneyland! It all happened on a whim. It started out 2 days ago, when I prayed for a good idea … I wanted something fun to do for our oldest daughter Abigail’s birthday. I really wanted it to be special for her. Then, yesterday, we got a call from our friend Jenny. They had some friends in from out of town, who were at Disneyland, and they called Jenny to see if she wanted the second day of their 2 day passes, because they wern’t able to use the second day. Jenny immediately thought of Abigail, and said that she knew of a special little birthday girl who would love to have them. So we ended up going to Disneyland tonight, and the neatest thing of all was that we were able to upgrade the tickets into annual passes for only about $50 more per person!! So we got Disneyland passes for a third of the regular cost. We were amazed! We live pretty close by so we will definitely be spending lots of time there this summer!

I was kind of worried about Hope, wondering if it would be too much for her, with all the sounds, people, etc. Can i just say the girl LOVED it?! She had a blast on the teacups, the carousel, Casey Jr.’s train, Alice in Wonderland, and then the teacups one more time. She loved the spinning part, and all the music going on. She lived it up, and the other kids had a great time too!

I noticed today that her eyes seemed to be better. I don’t know if its my imagination, but I could have sworn there were quite a few times today where her eyes fixed right on me, gazed right into mine, and she smiled and held her gaze. Jonathan noticed it happened to him too today. She has had a large amount of prayers going up for her eyes, so I would not be surprised if they are getting better. Keep it coming Lord! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some pictures of our fun day. Enjoy!!!!

June 11th – Disneyland

And here is a link to the slideshow.

Mother and daughter

Some park photos

Here is a photo album (41 photos) from our family trip to the park yesterday where Hope played in the sand for the first time ever. It was neat because we took her to the beach one time before where she was a little afraid of the sand and wouldn’t touch it, and even when we got to the park yesterday, she still wouldnโ€™t let her feet touch it. But then after a while of our fruitless efforts, Abigail stepped in and after some time playing with her and taking her down the slide, she just plopped Hope down in the sand and then she was good to go, and even got mad after that when we tried to take her out of the sandโ€ฆ ;-) Click here to view this photo album as a slideshow instead.

We’ve learned about Hope that she needs two or three tries at things before we all know if she really likes something or not. So far she has been this way with everything new that she’s tried. We are guaranteed she will throw a new food item to the floor at least a couple times before it has a chance to stay in her mouth for a chew… ๐Ÿ™‚

May 13th Guangzhou photos

Here is a last batch of photos from our last day in Guangzhou, China. The photos at the top of the album were taken during our bus ride to and fro the US Embassy in Guangzhou where we finished up the adoption process, and the rest were taken in and around the White Swan hotel.

Photo Album

Hannah napping on the bus

And a final photo album from our trip from our layover in the beijing airport on May 14th:
Photo Album


And once more, the link to the top level of the photo gallery for our China trip. (3,094 photos!)

The trip home

Our friend Kimmie asked in the comments of the last post how our flight home went, so I (Todd) thought I’d write a post about it.

After our last buffet breakfast at the White Swan hotel, we left at 10am for an hour drive to the airport in Guangzhou. Hannah at the White SwanThis was a very special ride for our family, because our guide Helen was able to translate between us and Hope, and so we were able to have some very special dialog with Hope for the first time. It started when we had Helen tell Hope in Chinese that we will be taking her to the doctor to get help for her eyes when we get home, and she asked Hope if that was ok, and then Hope got a big smile on her face and gave a big huge nod of approval! It was special beyond words. It was so exciting for us all to be able to actually communicate to each other using language after spending almost two solid weeks together!

There were a few questions like this before I remembered to turn on the camera, and caught this video of some of the rest of our ‘conversation’ with Hope (the audio is probably going to be hard to hear with the engine/road noise and the degree to which youtube whacks down the quality, but at least you can see her priceless head nods if you can’t hear the talking, and you should unfortunately be able to hear my embarrassing gushes too, lol):

A lollipop diversion tacticThese wonderful transactions with Hope and the fact that she was seeming to be a lot more gentle and comfortable in general with us brought us a lot of initial encouragement. I was now thinking that this was a reflection on how our flights were going to go. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Hope started to get pretty fussy and screamy at the airport and these activities escalated in frequency and intensity on the three hour flight to Beijing. The pictured watermelon lollipop helped us for a while, but we couldn’t teach Hope to lick it. She would only chew and bite on it, which made it not as long lasting a diversion as we desired, though Kim said they did develop a fun game of “ew” with it. (Saying “ew” and then dropping pieces of it to the floor). By the time we got to Beijing, we knew our flight home was going to be tough!

We had a five hour layover in Beijing and almost that entire five hours was full of stress. Hope was often upset and hitting us and herself and screaming. We had all of our stuff with us including luggage because we couldn’t check our luggage in until three hours before the flight. I wanted to charge batteries so the kids would have the laptop on the flight, so we stopped at the Haagen daz store and had some ice cream, hoping to pass a good chunk of time to charge the battery, but Hope couldn’t calm down, so thankfully Kim took her and walked around with her for a while, and endured. We were all completely burned out with all the screaming and all the staring from all the concerned onlookers at that point.

Then we had a very tasty dinner at a Thai restaurant in the airport there. Well at least everyone except Hannah, who had her China food staples, (Burger King) fried chicken nuggets and french fries. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The stress continued to escalate during dinner, as Hope’s outbursts were happening more frequently and with greater intensity. During these outbursts we can usually not find anything to console her and just have to do our best to try and comfort her and wait out the storms.

A cute moment happened while we were getting through the airport security. We are kidsWe were filling out some forms and meanwhile the kids were walking and skipping around the area holding hands and playing, and Hannah was happily singing a song she made up called “We are kids!”. It was so cute! We are kids! It was also fun at the security point because I was getting noticed for proudly wearing my souvenir Ba Ba (Daddy) shirt, and Kim was making jokes with the checkpoint workers about it.

Once through security we took a twenty minute wrong turn in the terminal and had to then sprint to the gate while trying to keep Hope from jumping out of her stroller, so that even with a five hour layover we managed to almost miss our flight!

From the beginning of the thirteen hour flight home that took off at 9pm, Hope was a complete mess. By this time she would only let Kim hold her, and wouldn’t ever tolerate being in her seat. Kimberly had to go through the whole flight holding Hope and had to deal with many periodic outbursts. The hardest part of these tantrums was the people around us who would look and stare and glare and who we knew were all trying to sleep! Kim had a few times where she needed to take potty breaks, so I would hold Hope and she would get so upset that I just had to lay her on her chair and cover her to try and block as much of the sound as I could with my body! Stressful!

I had much respect for Kim swelling up in me throughout the flight. She handled this most stressful circumstance so well! When the screaming fits would get real bad, she’d take Hope to the back corner of the plane where it would effect the fewest numbers of people. Sometimes she’d have to do this on a moments notice from the napping position… At one point Kim came back to her seat crying and this was actually a seemingly helpful breaking point because Hope settled down for a little while, though she still insisted on being held. We were thinking that maybe she was processing Kim’s emotional response and had some sympathy! I also feel like God used it because it was also her same trip to the back of the plane where I was crying out to God in my spirit with the most intensity. I felt like I was past the limit of would I could take, and really needed some kind of solution, and all I could do was sit there and holler to God about that! Then Kim came back crying and Hope was quiet! She was then quiet long enough for us both to get a little nap in…

It’s all in the past now, and fortunately we don’t expect to have to relive any of that any time soon! Ni Ni and Ye YeWhen we landed in L.A., Kim told Hope that she was going to meet her Ni Ni (Grandma) and Ye Ye (Grandpa) who were waiting in the airport, and Hope smiled and started holding pieces of her hair up. We realized that she was wanting us to put ribbons in her hair like they did for her at Bethel on Gotcha day! ๐Ÿ™‚

From the moment we got off the plane, Hope has seemed to be in a much better place than ever in our short time of relationship. Let me also mention that our other kids did wonderfully on the travel day. They were very compliant and helpful the whole way, and did very little complaining. I was glad for them too because they slept through much of the final flight.

Our friends the Winters picked us up at the airport and they have helped us so much! Among many other things they watched our dog for us for two weeks and hosted us for two nights when we got back. This was very helpful because our house was a mess and we just felt like we needed an easy place to begin recovering from our jet lag. The English speaking company was also very refreshing. And whenever Hope would act up, instead of staring and giving us looks, the Winters were there to lovingly help us calm her down! We can’t thank the Winters enough for all their support and for taking such good care of us when we got home!

Hope really seemed to be enjoying the Winters and their home. We walked to the beach near their home on Thursday beachin itto let Hope experience the ocean for the first time. It wasn’t quite the response I had imagined from her at first. I thought she would be fascinated by the sounds and smells but she didn’t really seem to notice it or want to be there, and wouldn’t even let the sand touch her feet! After a while though, the ocean overpowered her and she relaxed and fell asleep in Kim’s arms!

On Thursday evening, our friends the Hursts were able to stop by the Winters house, and some other friends of the Winters also came over, and we all shared a meal and had a nice worship/prayer time. This was a very refreshing time for me personally. It was also neat to see all our kids playing together once again and having fun!

Hope has been adjusting well since we got home and has really been seeming to relax and enjoy herself more, and the frequency and intensity of her outbursts are decreasing every day! God is good! ๐Ÿ™‚

We got home Friday morning to our big mess called a home. Our internal clocks are all whacked out and we’re having a hard time taking care of business, but that’s ok! The first two nights at the Winters we were still up all night, and hungry and going out for fast food at 3am! Last night Hope was all wound up ready to party! If you could have been in our house you would have heard sporadic yelps from Kim and I from our bedroom as Hope was playing on our bed bouncing and jumping all over us and having a good ol’ time until some time after 4am! We are still wandering around feeling like we are in the twilight zone! Right now it’s 10:11pm and the kids are playing and Hope is on the floor enjoying a bottle, and Kim is out getting us frozen yogurt, and this all feels like what we would normally be doing in the afternoon, and it doesn’t feel like any of us are going to bed any time soon.. Oh well!

Update: It’s 6am the next morning and I went to bed at 2am and woke up at 5am. I am glad for everyone else in the house including the dog who is still sleeping soundly and I suppose this is good for me because I have to start back at the office tomorrow morning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

May 12th Guangzhou photos

Here is a last photo post from China, a collection of Guangzhou photos from May 12th…

Photo album

red couch