Bonding with Dad

Yesterday Megan went to Beijing to pick up some friends who are visiting us from Indiana, and I’ve been cold-chillin’ in Tianjin with Grace.  Today Grace and I took a ten-minute walk to KFC where daddy got his dinner.  When walking with Grace we usually avoid the fruit vendors because Grace gets rather upset if she can’t hold the fruit.  I decided to be a risk taker today though and purchase some bananas.  Grace passed with flying colors.  No screamin’ and cryin’.  PTL.  As I chomped on my Mexican wrap and cold fries at home, I popped in a Signing Times DVD for Grace.  When she realized what was on TV, Grace was so excited that I know we would have won 10,000 bucks on AFV had I been taping her.  These Signing Times DVDs are great.  I highly recommend them.  They teach American Sign Language to all kids in a fun and easy to comprehend way.  I’ve only watched the DVDs a few times, but I think my ASL is better than my Chinese now!  Of course, I’m exaggerating, but that statement can be said of Grace.  She has picked up on a number of the signs, and it’s so cool.  She can’t say to us that her stomach is feeling a little empty, but she can sign it.  It’s amazing what kids can learn.  Grace’s oral skills are quite limited, but one of the words she says regularly is Amen.  I love that.  Makes me nearly cry.  Not much else to report.  Changed some stanky diapers, danced with my daughter to the tunes of Kirk Franklin, splashed water during bathtime, cleaned the mess Grace left behind after her meals, and read some Bible stories before hitting the sack.  God is good.  Amen.

Wrestling dad rocks.
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A Special Day

The past three weeks have been busy now that I’m back in the classroom, but life has been going extremely well for the Wickershams.  Today we celebrated a very special day that is worthy of me taking time out to write a blog – Grace’s first birthday.  Megan put up some fun b-day decorations in our home, made a delicious strawberry cake, brewed coffee for the moms and moi, and took lots of pics of a bunch of kids makin’ our home a whole lot livelier.  It’s fair to say Grace didn’t realize there was a party in her honor, but she enjoyed it nevertheless.  Grace hunkered down on her cupcake making quite the mess.  She was rather slow in unwrapping her gifts so some of her older neighborhood pals were able to assist in that process.  She not only enjoyed what she received but was noticeably happy with the wrapping as well.  Thanks to Sony we caught it all on video so we look forward to watching September 1st, 2006 many more times.

I like it when daddy buries me in the sand.

Gooooooooaaall!!

In case you live on another planet, the biggest sporting event in the world is taking place right now in Germany.  No, I’m not talking about the Olympics.  That was two years ago in Greece.  I’m talking about the FIFA World Cup.  Most know that soccer is something I enjoy tremendously, so I often get asked if I’ve been watching any of the World Cup games.  To the surprise of many, I’ve observed only small portions of a few games.  I’ve been keeping up a little through the wonderful world wide web.  With my new role as a father, soccer must take a backseat.  Fatherhood certainly does have its perks though.  Grace does a great job filling up the Pampers just after they’ve been changed.  No big deal.  We have hundreds.  Hearing dada from time to time is super cool even though she might not know what she’s saying (Let me believe).  She enjoys smearing egg yolk all over her face which cracks us up.  I should try it some time.  I think Grace would enjoy the bonding.  When I come home from Chinese lessons now there are always two smiles waiting for me that I can count on.  After we’ve done some mild wrestling on the bed she might spit up in excitement.  Maybe in the future, she’ll be like dad and do snot rockets on the pitch.  Continuing to squeeze my face with her iron grip despite my yelp of pain seems to be something she likes.  We have a tough one here.  I won’t be surprised if she drives on the old man one day and dunks the ball in my face.  I’ll respect it.  Grace is also excellent at slobbering all over the furniture.  I was guilty of that in my younger days too.  With all these perks for me to enjoy, I don’t mind missing World Cup games at all.

Mom isn't big on naps, but Grace and I are all about them.

Gotcha Week

It’s nearly midnight, and my wife and daughter are sound asleep.  Normally I zonk out before Megan, but my mind is thinkin’ a million things.  It has been quite a life-changing week.  You see I officially became a daddy on Monday.  When we return home to Tianjin on Saturday our second bedroom will no longer be a place of total quietness.  I now have a nine-month-old girl who likes to shake her head when filled with joy, clapping her hands to the sounds of music, and laugh with excitement when dada plays peek-a-boo.  The past 3 1/2 days we’ve been absolutely thrilled to see Grace’s personality get livelier and livelier.  We weren’t sure what to expect, but we’re pumped to see Grace attaching to us so quickly.  On day one Grace didn’t want me holding her, but now she is all about hangin’ with poppa.  With almost two months before I have to return to work, Megan and I are extremely thankful that Grace and I will have lots of time to hang out.  His timing is always perfect.  I’m blown away that our Father would allow me to be a father.  He has done great things for us, and we are glad.  He is GRACIOUS in all his works.  Xiexie Shangdi.

Mommy and Grace relaxing on the train.

More Great News

A couple hours ago Megan and I received more great news concerning Grace.  We will get to meet our daughter in less than two weeks.  We will fly down to Wuhan one week from this Sunday night and arrive in Wuhan noon the next day, June 12th.  Grace will see her new home Saturday, June 17th.  As I noted in previous blogs, we are extremely pumped about this new Wickersham and can’t wait to show her mad love.  Baby, baby!

An IKEA flower light.  Pretty cool, huh?!

Another Step Closer

Two days ago Megan and I were shocked and extremely excited to receive our referral.  Earlier this week we were told to our disappointment that the referral wouldn’t come until the fall.  Getting the referral means that we’ll be picking up Grace in a few weeks.  Wow.  I’m going to be a daddy very soon!  I think life is going to change a little bit. We now wait for permission to travel to Hubei Province which is about 14.5 hours southwest of us by train.  Our referral contained pictures and information about our daughter.  Before Thursday we did not know where Grace was from, her living situation, how old she was, what she looked like – basically nothing was known of her.  We just knew that there was someone out there specially picked for us.  I have often looked at Chinese girls and wondered if that is what my daughter will look/be like.  Now I know I have a very bald, but a very beautiful sofa loungin’, cookie chompin’, tv watchin’ girl!  This is not the image I had thought of as Megan and I have thought of her.  It has been a roller coaster of a ride, but a time of great growth.  I’ve been quite emotional (which happens on occasion) thinking of how blessed I am.  We’re thankful for His perfect timing and look forward to the days ahead.  Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

We're seeing and reading about Grace for the very first time.

The In-Laws

Yesterday my in-laws went back to the small town of Frankfort, Indiana.  Fred and Carol came to visit us for over two weeks, and we had an absolutely swell time.  It was their third visit to the Middle Kingdom, but first to Tianjin.  It was also the first time Megan and I have been able to host her parents.  I really appreciate Megan’s parents, and I’m thankful that we have such a good relationship.  I can be a little weird at times (some say a lot), but they accept me as I am.  I even make them laugh at times.  I’ve heard of a lot of relationships where one does not care for their in-laws, but you won’t find that in the Wickersham household.  I like her parents, and Megan likes mine.  That’s super cool.  I have to give a shout-out to my Father on that one.

Fred and Carol were good sports though.