Friday, January 30, 2009

Do your kids do this, too??

Is it my children or do all children do this???? I love taking pics of them and documenting our journey but Anna is not a willing subject... She will close her eyes and turn her head when it is picture time. Everyone else has these adorable children that smile brightly for the camera and my pretty little Anna will do anything she can to sabotage the mini photo session. If you knew how many pics I have to take just to get one decent pic- where they are looking in the same direction, at the same time, WITH their eyes open you would think I was crazy. Anna is beginning to influence her sister too- so that makes it even harder. Plus my camera has a slight delay so when I take the pic- that's not the one I get... here let me show you... seeeeeee...argh...

In that first pic- all I have to say it "Girls, can we try a little harder!" "Please try to smile"!
My best pics of Anna are when I catch her off guard and she hasn't had time to plan her escape! Many of those are not smiling pics but hey, I'll take what I can get! Does anyone out there have any ideas? How do you do it? Yes, I have stooped so low as to offer candy (hoping that they will forget about my bribe by the time we are done with picture taking). They won't even perform for candy?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Playroom!

We have a great playroom downstairs filled with children's toys. You would think the girls would be down there all the time... BUT the girls are usually not there because they are wherever we are- they don't venture far from our side. We must be in sight or in earshot. Sometimes it gets a little difficult to get anything done! Usually Jim and I are not downstair because Johnny might be there with friends or big kids have left it messy- which drives me crazy- so I usually choose to spare myself from their mess! Yesterday we went down and picked up the playroom, found some toys in storage that belonged to the older kids when they where young (Brio train set). The girls were in heaven! They loved playing down there... with us there , too ... of course! At our FCC playgroups the children play downstairs at friends houses so that probably helped them realize that basements are fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Goodnight Moon!

This has been a very busy week with Dr appts and Daddy Jim out of town. We found out that Sarah's immunization where not effective so we had to start the process all over again. Yesterday she has had 2 Dr. appt and one of them included 5 shots- ouch! She did great no tears! She was especially happy when I told her she would be carried more at home because she did such a good job and I know her arms will be sore and she may not feel well. The day before that we had 3 Dr appts- one of which was her 5th dental appt. We are now done until July unless the fillings fall out- let's all say a prayer for her fillings!!

Sarah and I went to the play "Goodnight Moon". We knew one of the actors in the play so that made it even more fun! He is an 11 yr. old brother of Johnny's friend and an awesome dancer. Sarah really enjoyed the play! We read the book before going to it. She is actually starting to have a little interest in books!I forgot my camera - bummer- if I had brought it I could have gotten a pic with Sarah on the stage and with our friend. So this pic of her and the book will have to do. I look forward to next year when little Anna can go with us! She will be 3.5 then and I think it should work out great at that point!

Sarah and I went to the library yesterday. It was to kill a little time between appts. She couldn't believe we didn't have to pay for the books! She kept asking me "no money?" We checked out a bunch of books! She also loved the computer at the library- it's very kid friendly!

ELL or ESL is going very well!! She is really clicking with the teacher and the other girl in the class!! She is from the Netherlands and she is an adorable little blonde cutie! Sarah is in awe of her hair- it is very long and very blonde- even in winter!! The teacher is very happy with her progress and it is helpful for me to see what they are working on!

If you get a chance please add yourself as a follower! It is very encouraging to know that people are actually reading this! And hey, if you only look at the pics that is okay with me!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Our dear sweet daughter has taught me so much. She makes me do things that completely facilitates our bonding. Things that I would be just fine if she did herself BUT because we do these things together we are light years ahead on the bonding/ attachment front! Thank you Jesus!!!

Sarah insists that -
1. I help her change her clothes- everytime!
2. I brush her teeth.
3. I comb her hair- okay well sometimes we forget to comb it at all and she still looks great! I wish I could do that with my hair!
4. She sleeps with us! Every night and we get a play by play on who snores the loudest- sorry honey!
5. We carry her! We have limited this to inside our home!

There are many other things we do (because she watches us with her little sister Anna) that has made this bonding process go so well. Basically, if we do it for Anna why wouldn't we do it/ try it for Sarah!

I prayed that our daughter would be resilient- she is- thank you Jesus!
I prayed that she would have a sense of humor- she does- thank you Jesus!

I am overwhelmed by this little girl that has joined our family! Truly, what a blessing she is!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Last weekend we signed our little girl up for a few activities. We are feeling like she needs more activity away from home and she needs to see how kids/people interact with each other. Soccer and Chinese dance (very low key) are her two Saturday activities. She enjoyed them both and did very well with them! She was especially excited about soccer because Katie, Mark and Johnny play soccer. She let each of them know that she is also a soccer player now! It was pretty cute- she called the two older kids on the phone! We knew one of the soccer coaches- he had coached Johnny and Mark last year. So he made sure he showed her what to do because she could not understand all the verbal instructions. Sarah was surprisingly fast and aggressive! The only problem was we forgot to show her the boundaries of the field so she was often on the wrong field! I think she may have scored a few goals for the wrong team, too.

There are 2 things I assumed about children in an orphanage setting. I don't know why, I just figured it would be true and no one told me different but now I know better.
1. I thought they would be in good cardiovascular shape because they ran around with children all the time- wrong, very wrong. Sarah was very winded with her activities and her legs got tired. She is healthy but not strong and not in good shape. 
2. I thought since they were around children all the time they would be used to playing with children. Our little one really has a hard time playing with and I stress "with" other children. She can parallel play with the best of them, but her interactions while playing are very limited. I think this will improve as her language improves. We will be working on this skill for awhile!

I am taking pictures of some of our friends and we are going to practice their names and how to greet them. She is getting very comfortable at ELL class. I am no longer in the room and she is doing great all by herself! Today she started speech with Ann- again she did great! Both speech and ELL will probably only go thru May. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Do you Speak English?

Yes - she says with a smile on her face. Before that I was answering for her "No, she doesn't. This is our new daughter. She is just learning English and has been home for only 6 weeks." Now Sarah is letting others know "Yes, I speak English!" And wow is she making progress! We tried to count the words she says and we were up to about 150 words. She tells us stories, she tells on her sister and she seems to know what we are saying most of the time EXCEPT when she doesn't want to listen. Hubby Jim and I are often talking about parenting and how we should handle certain situations- we now have to spell most of the words so our sweety doesn't figure out what we are saying. I think we are just about to the point where we need to talk privately over some issues out of her earshot!

With all the words she is learning there is one word we have not taught her- it is the word "old". 
Sarah knows the ages of everyone in the family- we use it to help teach her how to count and familiarize herself with the family. When Sarah gets to the numbers 50 and then 52 her response it WOW, very smart and very strong! Now doesn't that sound much better than very old!! Hey she has already found the aged skin on my neck, the lines and veins on my hands and those darn itty bitty skin tags that pop up here and there- a girl (meaning me) has got to protect her self esteem somehow! Anna doesn't have a clue that her parents are a little bit older but sweet Sarah she notices everything! Maybe we'll never teach her the word "old"!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're Home!

We arrive home safely on Tuesday. The temperature is only a mere 95 degrees colder here in MN as opposed to Florida. No wonder the plane had some empty seats in it- who on earth wants to come home to weather like this! Actually it is nice to be home and the weather is refreshing! Since I had a little time away it almost feels good!

I am not in the bloggy mood right now- one of our dear bloggy friends Linn from "a place called symplicity" is going through an extremely challenging time and your prayers for them would be so coveted. They have lost their home in a house fire. They just returned home with their 2 children from Uganda about 6 weeks ago and they have a special needs daughter in China they are waiting to bring home- did I forget to mention that they also have 7 other children. 

Please visit their site, pray for them and consider giving them a small donation. 
God's blessing to you-

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fun with our Girls!

The 6 days with our girls in Florida have been fantastic! I thought we were a little crazy leaving so soon after Sarah came home but it turned out perfect! God has been so kind and this time with our 2 girls has been a huge step in the right direction! It has been so good for bonding! Everyday we swim in the pool together-lots of touching, trust building and fun with swimming! Their are no pics of me in the pool because I am the photographer. I really did get in the pool everyday! The first question our son Johnny asked Sarah was "did Mom go swimming?" I am sure he feels totally jipped- I never do that with him and I didn't need to with Anna- I used that time as a moment to myself but no more. When your a Mom you take what you can get, you do what you need to and you are always evaluating what's the best thing to do!

The park has been fantastic. The girls love to swing! It is so precious to see the joy on their faces doing such simple things together! 

In the late afternoon we went to the beach to play in the sand. It is so lovely there, I feel so close to God- his creation is so magnificent! The kids were as adorable as can be- they played in the sand , they chased the waves and they searched for beautiful shells. It was a perfect bloggy moment- I reached for my camera and ... horrors, I didn't have it. Major dilema- do I go back and get it- it's not too far BUT its not super close either. We could lose the joy of the moment - with this crew that can happen in an instant! SOooooo, I gave it up to God- he knows me, maybe I should just be peaceful, pray in thankfulness and enjoy the present- that's what I did . It was good (but I still wish I had my camera!)!

The girls have been such a hit down here, everybody loves them! Seriously they are like a breathe of fresh air for the old people! I can't help myself - this little Sarah is doing so well- I have said to many people she is "brand new"- she has been with us for 5 weeks- she beams with pride and they are so impressed! Her language is really coming along and they think she is soooo cute. To me, she is my brand new baby! She says Momma and Babba have two babies- Sarah and Anna! We say "yes and we are soooo happy to have our 2 babies"! "We love, love, love our babies!" She talks a lot abut when she was a baby and she was even littler than Anna- God Bless her!

The pics are of our friends at the pool - they are very nice- but I did not have the courage to ask if I could take their pic- next time I will ask, I promise! They were all talking about how one building is suing the other building over a water fountain. Friends Beware- we must protect ourselves from be a cranky old person and complaining as we get older- we need to fill our souls with the love of Jesus and enjoy each day we are blessed with! 

We it's back to reality- tomorrow we fly home. Thank goodness I love our reality!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sarah Smart!

That is music to my ears! I was so excited when she said that and pointed to her forehead! "Sarah Smart"!  I want to instill in this precious child that she is smart, that she can learn, that she is doing such a good job- She can do it! I want to boost her confidence and comfort level. It is okay to try and get it wrong- the most important thing is that she is trying! 

When she first came to us she made it very clear she did not want to learn english and that she did not like school. Today we sat down for an hour and a half and worked  on the numbers 1-20 and beginning recognition of the alphabet - matching lower case to their capitols and then a little rosetta stone. She converses with me in our chinglish and everyday she is learning new english words. Wow, what an exciting adventure this is! 

We are staying in a condo in Florida. On the flight here I felt like we were on the geriatric flight traveling to the land of wheelchairs and walkers. Not that there is anything wrong with that- I am right behind these lovely people! Tomorrow I will have to take a pic of Sarah and Anna and their pool friends! The crew at the pool love the girls! They are a little older like maybe by 70 yrs. but hey are a nice group of people and they are amazed by our little girls!!! Our place is on the 18th floor so we are getting some good counting in everytime we take the elevator- which is a  lot! So focusing on numbers 1-20 is working very well!! Then we go through the ages of the older sibs- 3 of them fall into the 1-20 range! Most importantly we talk about how old is Sarah- I think she's got it- she is 8 yrs old! She has no idea what a birthday is so we will be talking about that soon! The Lord has so richly blessed us with these children and for that I am soooooo grateful! Thank you Jesus! 

Friday, January 9, 2009

One year ago!

I feel like my heart is swelling with thankfulness to the Lord! Seriously, these little girls are breathtaking and a dream come true! It is so awesome to experience this at this point in our lives- today was bubbles by the beach and a sunset. I am on my knees thanking our dear Lord!

One year ago today- our family came to Florida. We had a referral of a 7 yr old girl. Before we could be approved to adopt an older child we had to finish some paperwork/reading and questions. Both Jim and I were drawn to this little girl but older child adoption was new territory for us. We had heard a few horror stories that concerned us but for some reason unknown to us we kept moving forward. When I was down at the swimming pool with Anna- there was another family there with a daughter from China- she was about a year older than Anna and of course the Mom and I connected right away! Yeah, adoptive families! She told me to check out JTM and look for ____, another family that adopted an older child. I read their whole journey and after that I knew this was our daughter and with God's help we could do this! As soon as we were accepted by the older child committee we accepted SARAH'S referral. It is so amazing to me how God  works miracles!  How did he know our daughter was half way around the world- waiting for us! 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Day filled With Many "Firsts"!

We are having a wonderful time with the girls in Florida! We got coffee in the morning and went to the park. Sarah had never been on a swing.  We taught her how to pump- so the swing goes higher - she is afraid to go too high. She laughed and giggled the whole time! Anna loves to swing, too. It is beautiful here, the weather is 70's and sunny. Thank you Jesus!

Then it was off to the grocery store with 2 hungry kids! Riding in the cart was a big highlight- again a first! Sarah had to ride in the larger part of the grocery cart- we used a second cart for the food. Once we got home we used the cart at the condo to bring the groceries up to our unit . Since she has never had a chance to ride in the baby/toddler spot we decided to give it a try! She loved it! It is challenging going to the grocery store with 2 kids but 2 hungry kids  can be really challenging. They made it through the grocery store just fine - 3 pouts and one bathroom break later we were out the door. We have to monitor Sarah's potato chip intake- we stopped her half way through the pringles, okay she did share a few chips with Anna. Thank goodness Anna is still oblivious as to how many she gets compared to how many Sarah gets. The good thing about pringles is - they are sure to bring on a smile! 

After lunch we got ready for a swim. Sarah has been sooooo excited to swim! She has been talking about it and motioning diving into the pool and so on- our dear sweet child got her swimsuit on and put the tube around her and ... was scared to death of the water. If you know me - you know I NEVER get in the water. I put on my swimsuit, grab a towel and a good book and let everyone else get all cold and wet. Every once in a while a mom has to step out of her comfort zone and earn the respect of her kids- yep- I walked right in that water with a smile on my face and swam with Jim and the girls! Once I went in Sarah did much better- we were there for an hour and she improved steadily! I am looking forward to tomorrow!

After showers and a short rest we went and played on the beach. I love this beach- we have been coming here for 24 years. I feel so close to God when I am here. It is my favorite place to pray! The girls played in the sand.  Jim and I relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful sight of our two incredible daughters playing!

The evening consisted of a grouper dinner - which we all enjoyed! Sarah loved the grouper and Anna loves catsup... and occasionally a french fry, too! The sign they have posted says-
"UNATTENDED CHILDREN WILL BE GIVEN AN EXPRESSO AND A PUPPY!" I think that is so funny- even now I have to chuckle!!

All the pics are in the wrong order- oops- oh well!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dance and Sing with Mei Mei!

The girls love this video! Sarah was so happy when she saw it for the first time! She loves singing and dancing! I think in China she would watch older kids sing and dance- more MTV like- when she was with older girls. This video is actually supposed to help you earn Chinese,  the dancers are adorable 5 yr olds! Just our speed! Anna has grown to love it too- and they are so cute doing the dances!! Sarah will sometimes want to watch this if she is a little stressed. I enjoy it too and the songs are catchy!!

BTW we went to the endodontist yesterday morning- no root canals for Sarah. He is conservative and doesn't feel it is necessary. I think they will just fill the cavities as best they can- but who knows?