Friday, February 27, 2009

Ferndale Academy!

Our homeschooling is going very well! We have 2 students enrolled in Ferndale Academy! They are smart and adorable girls! Sarah is doing very well on her 1st grade Saxon math! She seems to like it and is proud of how well she is doing! I really like the saxon program, although we don't do absolutely everything in it (because it could take a good portion of each day)- it is very thorough. It has many concepts that she needs to learn that may not be in other MAth programs- such as distinguishing between morning, afternoon, evening and night; discussing more and less, and early word problems, (etc).  It is repetitive and builds on previous lessons! We love it! She is on book C from Explode the code and I have already ordered book 1! We are doing a little HOP and Before Five in a Row. We will start Rosetta Stone english, soon... I think? The girls are now enjoying being read too! That is huge progress! It is one of my favorite things to do!

We are working on our last name- I think she's got the spelling down! The days of the week, the current month and our telephone number!

Anna loves to be in the school room with us! She colors, looks at books or finds something to get into! What a blessing these two girls are to this family!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Last night we started gymnastics. The girls were very excited to start gymnastics! Sarah had a lovely leotard on and Anna... well, she didn't... have a lovely leotard on. Sarah spoke often of her lovely leotard and was quite surprised that... Anna didn't have one. Anna was a bit oblivious to the leotard issue but not Sarah- she was as proud as punch to wear something so pretty! She spent a fair amount of time looking at herself in the mirror before and after the gymnastics lesson. 

Anna's lesson started 15 minutes before Sarah's and Mom needed to be with Anna. I had no concerns going into the lesson but once we were there and Anna saw all the things she could play on she no longer had any interest in the teacher what so ever. As Anna consistently wandered away and was adamantly not going to sit on the pretty yellow star my mind drifted to Lucy and her dance lessons. I wanted to run and get the camera but I don't think others found it so adorable and as amusing as I did- so leaving "the wanderer" and getting my camera was not possible.

At one point a little boy sat very close to her- she looked at him like "excuse me, who are you" he looked at her and blew a big raspberry in her face. She was appauled, flustered and disgusted with this little boy. As soon as she calmed down she looked him in the eye and very loudly said "NO BOY"! She repeated herself numerous times in efforts to get her point across. I have many boys so it wasn't to big of a deal but inside I did say to myself- yeah Anna!

The rest of the class went well as long as we kept moving and Anna spent time climbing. balancing and rolling frontwards and backwards! After class as we were waiting for Sarah's class to finish, the same little boy pushed Anna- he was her size but 10 months younger- she burst into tiny tears and again I could see her frustration building- very loudly she said... again... NO BOY. A couple people chuckled and one mom said "you go girl!" 

There is no messin with my 27 lbs soon to be 3 yr old!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Kitchen Helpers!

The girls love to help with dinner! The step stools are all over the kitchen so they can reach all the dangerous things they are not supposed to reach - I mean, so they can help me out wherever we are in the kitchen! They are adorable little helpers!

Homeschooling is going great but Sarah and I did visit our local Catholic Elementary School. I felt like I needed to just check it out to educate ourselves- and see what is out there. I know Sarah would love the other children and in many ways they would be good for her too- she needs someone other than a 2 yr old as her role model ;-) They were very nice and welcoming and I know they would love to have Sarah at the school. This year there are only 18 in the class but next year it jumps in size. I happened to mention that Sarah cannot read yet and I did get a surprised Ohhhhh- of course she can't read she is just learning to speak the language and learning her ABC"S. Anyways- it was very apparent that she is just not ready to go to school and this school does not have the special services she would need. Too bad- our older kids loved it there! After our visit we homeschooled - wow is she doing great! I am so thrilled with her progress and eagerness to learn. She is understanding that it is okay to get something wrong sometimes- we just say oops, correct it and learn from our mistake. We are going to think thru our options for more socialization for Sarah. Hmmm... any ideas?

Friday, February 20, 2009


We went to a gymnastics gym with our playgroup today! The kids loved it! It was all set up with tons of things to do- trampolines- about 9 of them, jumping pits, balance beams, rings to hang from and rings to swing from, bars- even and uneven, forts, mazes- tons of large muscle activities! The kids were in heaven and ran from one activity to another! They seemed to like the trampolines the best!
After that, the group went over to MacDonalds and had a nutritious lunch- okay- just kidding- but we got food and hello kitty watches in our kids meals!! It was lots of fun for everyone! Sarah seems to be improving with interacting with the other kids! She talked, laughed and played with them! Anna also seemed to do better with interacting with the other children! hurray! I actually got a chance to visit with the Moms!

It is good for the girls to be home! We had a wonderful time in Florida but the do much better in their home environment! It feels very good to be home!

We saw my sister in the airport. Sarah did not recognize her. We also have had a few situations where she had no recollection of something we did or something we told her. I have heard that adoptees often forget many things from the first 2 months. I read it somewhere and others have said that it happened to their new child, too. I have know idea why but I wonder if it is not because this is such a life altering event and rather traumatic. Plus, they are learning a new language and forgetting their old language- huge transitions are happening right now and even though everything seems so fine it is still a huge adjustment for them. So today again - Sarah just learned that the children we meet with for our playgroup are all from China. She was thrilled- just as she was to relearn that Anna was also from China!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Conquering her fear of water! And how old are you?

I have loved  being able to blog in the evenings! It has been a wonderful vacation! Tomorrow evening we will be back to reality and back to the chilly Minnesota weather! Reality is good - the weather is yuck!

We are thrilled with Sarah's progress swimming! She is so comfortable in the water! She still will not go over her head but she is bobbing up and down, gliding, jumping off the side and doing back floats with a little help- all the time! She is under the water more than on top of it- it is amazing to see this much progress in such a short time!

One of her favorite things to do is visit the park and swing! Such a simple thing and yet it brings so much joy!!

Her birthday is coming up in early March! She is so excited for it! I don't think she really knows what a birthday is- she will soon find out! We thought about changing her birthdate but her age is appropriate for her. It just wouldn't work for us to do that and it would not be beneficial for Sarah.

Someone, somewhere asked me how old Sarah thought she was when she came home vs her actual age. I am sorry I am not sure who asked the question but here is the answer. She said she was 9 yrs old. We had an interpreter tell her she was 8 yrs old. At first she said no she wasn't but the interpreter told her in America that is how old you are- she also said how do you know you are 9? Who told you? Well, we are telling you that you are 8 yrs old. She also didn't know when her birthday was/ is. She has no concept of time regarding years and months. We are working on that now- I think it will be awhile before she understands it. There are so many things she needs to learn. It is exciting teaching her and yet amazing that at 8.5 yrs old these concepts were never addressed- even in Chinese.

I do look forward to when she can speak better english and we can talk about so many unknowns in her life before she came to live with us.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

We are dressed in our Valentines outfits at the pool today! These two girls have stole the hearts of this family! We are so in love with them!

Sarah has been taking swimming lessons- 4 private lessons. Her progress was slow. She seemed very rigid in the water and was fearful at times. I was beginning to feel like maybe we should stop, give her more time and try again later. Then in the last lesson she began to make progress! Today she was swimming with us and she did fantastic! No floating devices at all! She spent more time under the water than on top-by choice that is! She was so much more relaxed and ventured over her head while holding on to the side! She went under and picked up goggles off the floor on the pool. She is practicing her kick and can do the back float with a spotter. I cannot believe how well she is doing in the water! Anna on the other hand- jumped in without her water wings and went straight to the bottom. Jim grabbed her- she came up with a smile- she is a fish. Well, a fish that doesn't know she can't swim, that is! We got those water wings on quickly!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Anna? From China?

Wow! The English is coming along so fast!! Sarah always speaks in English unless she is singing a song from Dance and Learn with Mei Mei.  For about a week I thought we were getting stagnant with language but then she made a huge big leap forward. It is so exciting to watch her language grow and to be able to hear the improvements in our conversations. So many people cannot believe she has only been home for 10 weeks. IF the language barrier is holding you back from an older child adoption- don't let it! It is easy and fun!! The kids catch on so fast! I love having an 8 yr old soon to be 9 yr old!! 

Both the girls love singing nursery rhymes. They usually have a little argument over who gets to sing and which song they will sing. Anna usually wins because Sarah has a kind heart and doesn't want to upset Anna. We are working with Sarah on sticking up for herself. She can sing what ever song she wants, whenever she wants too! At the same time we do appreciate her consideration of her sister- so we are trying to teach them to compromise and let Anna know she does NOT always get her way.

It has worked out so well having the things we have for Anna- Sarah loves trying out the younger toys, seeing the lights flash and the way they make noise. I think it really helps her developmentally. This is a stage in her life that she missed.

Tonight in the car we were talking about sisters. Sarah feels a little bad for not having been in my tummy.
 She said "Sarah from China" 
yes honey you are from China! And so is Anna!
What? Anna? Anna not from your tummy?
No honey, Anna is from China, too!
I like China sister!
Do you want another sister from China?
Yes!! I like China sisters!
(Good, because that's the plan!)

Wow- she felt much better! It was so cute! She wants so much to have a history with us, she was relieved that Anna's time with us wasn't much longer than hers so far! She wants to see the pictures from when we were in China picking up Anna. Tomorrow we will do that!

In HS we are talking about the dates and the weather. Dates are a difficult concept. I don't know how they did that in China but it seems like she just doesn't really get it. Maybe they didn't talk about what day it was - maybe all the days were the same? I don't know? Sarah is just now becoming aware of the weather - sunny, cloudy, snow or rain? I don't think she ever new that if the sun is not shining it's because a cloud was in front of it, blocking it. Such simple topics we all take for granted! Doesn't everybody know that- I guess not! But it is sure fun teaching her!

Tonight- they sky was clear and she saw the stars in the sky- she was amazed at how many there were and how bright and pretty they were!
What a joy these children are!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Girls Are Getting Fat!

Yes, I am deliberately being misleading! It's not Sarah and Anna, it's Mia and Missy- the dogs. Sarah has happily accepted the chore of feeding the dogs. Yesterday I noticed that they were putting on some weight so today I supervised the chore and found out that "we" were get mixed up when we count the cups of food the doggies are getting. I am sure that Mia and Missy are really enjoying having Sarah feed them BUT now they are down from 3 to 2 1/2 cups per day. I was thinking this will also be a good way to introduce halves to Sarah! i think sweet Sarah was giving them 4 cups! No wonder they love her sooooo much!

School is going well- yesterday I would have said incredibly well but today I am thinking we need to slow down and review more. There is so much for her to take in and she just seemed a little mixed up during our school time. I started with some pretty aggressive catch up plans and now I see that it would not be wise to move too fast. We want HS to be self esteem building and fun!

Anna will soon be moving up to the preschool room at Montessori. She is so little I can hardly imagine her in the big preschool room. She is visiting there each day to get used to it and will probably make the change in March. 

Sarah has made it very clear to us that Anna is a big girl now. To us, she is teeny tiny and will always be, since she will most likely always be our youngest. Sarah feels that it is time for potty training- I agree, but Miss Anna has absolutely NO interest in it. We have the royal potty, we have pretty underwear, we have a big sis that uses the potty, and we have books and videos on the subject BUT Anna feels "why rush this". She is still itty bitty and fits on the changing table- our birth children were too big by one year and we would change them on the floor. Personally Daddy Jim and I are loving it, we can't imagine rushing to grow up!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

More Good News!

This blog has received an award! How very exciting- Thank you Kathy (BTW I need your info so I can see your blog again- I'm a regular and I am missing it)!! Kathy has 2 older bio children and 5 adorable daughters from China! (please e-mail me at

Now here are the rules for this award:
1. Pass it on to 5 fabulous blogs, and include the one that gave it to you (and Link them) 2. List 5 of your fabulous addictions.

Since I have done this for my other blog I will only naming a few blogs for this award-
1. I'd like to give this award to my friend and fellow Minnesotan- Nancy  ! Nancy and her hubby have one daughter from China- Rose and they are waiting to get their second daughter from China! We met through our local FCC playgroup!

2. The next award goes to my friend Lani
She has 2 birth children and a precious little girl from Tiawan! Lani is a wonderful Mom and she is enjoying her children! She however is not good at updating her blog sooooo hopefully this will be an encouragement to her!! Lani- try for once a week!

3. Next is Cathy -they have 5 birth children and then Lee Lee from China! She is the same age as our Anna. We traveled together in the summer of 2007. Cathy doesn't know this but someday this summer or spring I will be ringing her doorbell asking if she wants to visit over a cup of coffee while the girls play! Cathy also need a little encouragement to update more frequently!!!

4. There is one more blog I would like to send you to - I do not know this person but they have a beautiful blog
The music is so peaceful, the pictures are so beautiful and she is an incredible writer! I believe they have older children and then 3 daughters from China. Whenever I visit her blog I feel so close to God! Check it out if you can!

Some more of my addictions are-
1. my iphone- I really love it and can keep updated whenever I need too!
2. My children- I love being with them! Today I had a little break and hubby spent the day with the girls- it was so good to get back to them!
3. adoption- I can hardly wait for #3 to join our family!
4. Homeschooling! I would HS all day but Sarah would not like that so we do it for 2-3.5 hours a day (that includes speech and ESL). She is learning so much- it  is amazing!
5. prayer- I share the day with God and pray my way through the day! 
I am amazed at our dear Lord- yippee Jesus!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another day in our life!

Well, I want you all to know that this blog has won an award! Yes, thank you very much! I will be fulfilling my duties with the award on my next post- but for now I will update you on our daughters!

Sarah wants a bicycle for her birthday (with training wheels)! They have one at speech class! At the end of the lesson she gets to ride it!! She was so thrilled to show me how she could ride the bike!

Sarah has started her swimming lessons and she did great!! I was thrilled- head under water, kick, kick, kick and she relaxed and did he back float! Of course she did spend a good portion of the lesson bargaining with her swimming teacher- if I go under- you go under. How many more minutes of this- 5, 10, 1?

When we were driving home I heard her say "What's that for? Baby soccer?" I am thinking what on earth is she talking about? Am I hearing her right? then I looked to my left and there were some green houses ;-)  She has been going to an indoor dome for soccer- so don't you think a green house is a perfect size for baby soccer!! That was cute BUT  I had to let her know that they were for beautiful plants and flowers and that in the spring, when the weather was warm, we would go there and see them!

I did catch little Anna with the camera! She was running around the kitchen laughing and happy as can be! What a blessing these girls are to this family!