At least around here it is. We have spent the day decorating inside and out with all of our Christmas decor. We have old sleds outside, ice skates, wooden signs, greenery and white lights. Jeff has been busy getting the outside done. Inside we have filled the house with all the snowmen from my snowman collection that we could find, lots more white lights, greenery, and much more. We always fill the house with Christmas music as we decorate, and sip hot cocoa, it's become a tradition. Today we listend to an Amy Grant Christmas album, as we opened up box after box, pulling out angels, snowmen and nutcrackers.
Tomorrow we will select our tree, and with great anticipation from the girls, it will go up, along with all the prim decorations, and we will play our festive music and drink hot cocoa as we go. I am very excited to have it all done! Pictures to come...
I have so many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. My husband, my children, my home to name a few. I recently joined a primitive Christmas swap, since I am really getting into my prim decorating this year. Pam at BasketsnPrims sent this stitchery sampler in my box, and it was just perfect, I love it! She also sent some other fun goodies that I am enjoying as well.
I am looking forward to turkey dinner tomorrow with family, I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!
Lilyann has really been changing lately, so I thought it was time for an update! Here are some things she is doing these days:
1. Still potty training, not quite there yet! 2. She is starting to dress herself, especially shoes and socks, sometimes pants. 3. Although hand dominance is not said to be fully established until a child is 5, I could tell with Miranda by 2 that she was right hand dominant. Lilyann appears to use her left hand more at this point. She still switches to the right at times, but most things she prefers to do with her left, and she will automatically use the left hand before the right. 4. She is starting to do silly things to make us laugh. Her newest thing is when she is sitting in my lap facing me, she will reach up with her left hand, pull her hair, and with this big smile on her face say, "OWWW" I then tickle her, and she belly laughs, and the whole game starts over again. It is so funny to watch! 5. She continues to dislike sleep, particularly naps. Her nap duration averages 15 minutes. She sleeps through the night, but does not like to go down! 6. Speech is slowly improving. She recently started putting two words together spontaneously. She gets so excited when she sees one of us come home. She starts dancing around yelling "Daddy home!" or "Mommy home!". Some of her other favorite words are cookie, cereal, ball, kitty, meow, more. She is getting some short term speech intervention from a friend at work. This will just give us more ideas of what to do to help facilitate improved speech and communication. Yeah!! 7. Horses are her favorite! She runs around saying "horsey" a lot, and she will spot them when we are out driving around and point them out. So cute! 8. She is still sleeping in her crib. We tried taking one side off to convert to a toddler bed, but after falling out a few times, that didn't work. We then attempted to let her sleep with Miranda one night. That didn't work. She was a wiggle worm, and wouldn't stop playing with Miranda's hair! So, the crib will continue for awhile. 9. She continues to be a cuddly, sweet, affectionate and outgoing child. She says hi to everyone she meets usually. She has to give me numerous kisses before I leave to go somewhere. She is such a blessing, and has added so much to our lives. 10. She is active! She is always into something, or up on something. We can get exhausted if we don't provide structured activities for her. She loves most activities we do give her, and she loves to be read to. 11. Eating-I can't even begin to explain how much this girl loves to eat. We are still dealing with her inability to feel full. She loves her high chair, and that is another one of her favorite words. The other day I was in the kitchen making dinner, and I looked in the dining room, where the high chair was and the tray was off. Lilyann was sitting there quietly waiting to be fed. When I told her to come down, that it was going to be awhile before dinner, she was not happy! 12. Overall she is doing so well, after a year here in our family. It is amazing how God just knows exactly what children we are meant to have.
I was tagged by Tereasa to find the 4th photo in my 4th folder. Here it is! Miranda was about 4 here, and holding one of the many siamese kittens we had at the time. This was fun! I need to get these photos printed out! Anyone that would like to play, you are tagged! What 4th photo might be in your 4th folder?
I participated in a fall swap this year, and recieved my box of treasures tonight! I found out about the swap through The Homespun Heart blog and thought it would be fun. I used to participate in swaps during my "wait" for our little girl from China, and always enjoyed them. My swap partner this time was Amy at A Snip of Goodness and boy did she outdo herself! Above is the beautiful box with with tulips (my favorite flower) on it that she had everything wrapped up in.
And inside I found...(or should I say "we" as Miranda and Lilyann had their hands inside before I did!) some wonderful things! It's hard to tell by the photo, but on the right side of the box, there are many wonderful scrapbook items, such as a mini book, stickers, and punches, and other embellishments! I was really excited about it, because now that my scrapbook/project room is pretty much complete I have been stocking up on scrapbooking supplies! She also sent a candle, a homemade bar of soap, a pretty hair clip in a cute little asian bag, a coffee travel mug, a notepad, a ribbon belt kit, and last but not least, a box of Calgon, take me away foaming milk bath! I have never tried that, and I rarely take time for myself and take baths, so I am looking forward to trying it!!! Thanks so much Amy!!! I love it all!
Homeschooling is such a precious gift. The other day we went on a nature walk with some homeschooling friends in the morning.
It was a beautiful fall day. There was so much to see, and the kids were able to enjoy fresh air, run and play, and observe nature all around them. They did sketches of some of their observations, or favorite things they saw on their walk.
Miranda actually stopped every once in awhile and took notes of some of the things she saw...a creek, cattails, a bridge, berries. What a blessing it is for children to be able to have the time to stop and look, and learn about God's creation all around them. They aren't stuck at a desk all day, they are free to learn not only the basics, but they can really focus on what interests them, what they love, and as their parent and teacher, we are there to guide them and assist them in growing in these areas.
Homeschooling has really been an amazing gift. It was not something I set out to do, but something I was open to learning about when I first heard about it. A few years later, and here I am, a firm believer in homeschooling! The more I study and learn about it, the more excited I get! It is a lifestyle we are steadily growing into and one with so many positive benefits, I wouldn't trade it for anything!!!
Here is a picture of our home right now. We have a large Maple tree right in the front yard, and each fall it presents us with a blanket of leaves. This year, even the porch and steps were covered! This photo was taken right after Jeff blew off all the leaves.
I love our Maple tree. There are big, strong branches to hold our tree swings, and it is fun. You can tell what I'll be doing all weekend....yep, raking leaves! This isn't the only tree in our yard either, there are even larger trees, with MANY more leaves. The girls are just waiting for the big piles of crunchy leaves to jump into...let's hope it's a dry weekend.
Lilyann is enjoying the playset now that she is big enough to swing and climb and slide. See her sweet, sweet smile? Wishing you all a beautiful Autumn weekend!
It's my birthday, and I thought I'd share some pictures from this year and last. Above is the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou China on the Pearl River. Last year, when we were in China on my birthday, I got to go here, and have afternoon tea! They had every kind of little pastry you can imagine and we sat overlooking the river. What a memorable birthday!
Here is the cake our guide, Jocelyn, gave us that day. Very different from your typical american birthday cake, but fun to try!
And now this year...Jeff, Miranda and Lilyann gave me two dozen roses! What a wonderful surprise.
And also from them, this beautiful "daughters" necklace engraved with thier names and a little pearl. I feel a little spoiled! What a special birthday it has been, and remembering my birthday last year has brought back such warm feelings as well. I love birthdays, and we have our share of them in the fall! We have been attending lots of birthday parties lately.
I will leave you now with one of my favorite quotes.
"Do not fret about getting older, it's a privilege denied to many".
I started an adoption blog called Fortunately, Family a long time before we actually adopted from China a year ago. I met some great people while blogging my thoughts, struggles, and all the ups and downs of adoption there. One of them was Jeanette, at Blessed by Baseballs and Bows. The really cool thing was, that although we were not with the same adoption agency, we ended up in China at the same time! She was in Guangzhou (where we were the whole time) briefly for the final steps of her adoption of sweet Elizabeth, and we were able to meet! What a blessing it was. Elizabeth was adorable, and still is!! She is having a giveaway over at her blog for a great worship CD. Go on over and check her cute family out, and enter. Good luck!
There is a gorgeous quilt giveaway going on at this blog. I am still working on my first quilt. It is taking much longer than I thought, and I have had my share of mistakes that have needed to be ripped out. I think I am nearing the end, and can't wait to have it done. I will show it to you all when it's complete! In the meantime, I would love to win this beautiful quilt. I would wrap up in it with a good book all winter long!
It's fun to peek into the interesting lives of others. I find this blog very interesting. Maybe it's because I've been to China and I have a daughter from there, and I homeschool. It's called One Child Policy homeschool. They live in China, they homeschool, they are not chinese. The experience they are having would be incredible. I think you'll like it.
Exactly one year ago today, you were placed in our arms. What a precious gift we were given.
As you slept, we were so amazed that God had blessed us with a child from so far away, yet He knew exactly when and where we would meet. In His perfect timing, and perfect design, you entered our lives.
We held you close everywhere we went as we took in the sights and sounds of China, we wanted to imprint all of it in our hearts and minds. What is behind those sweet brown eyes, and that serious face? We couldn't wait to get to know you more, as you grew to know us, and trust us.
Who are you today, one year later? You are a child of God. You are filled with wonder and joy. You love to learn, and you are so loving. You are SO loved! You are two years old, and so smart, silly, and enjoyable. You make us laugh, you melt our hearts, and you even show concern and compassion when one of us is hurt. You are an amazing little girl.
You are our daughter! How did we get so lucky? God had it planned all along...and we are so grateful! We love you Lilyann!!! Thank you Lord, for this beautiful child!
On friday the first thing we did was go to Lilyann's music class. My little angel and sleeping beauty had a great time.
Later we went to a harvest party at a local church. They played lots of games and had fun. Lilyann looked so cute in her little angel costume. She loved it too. She would have nothing to do with any other costume I tried to put her in.
I think her favorite part was when Miranda was getting her nails painted. She had her hands right up there just waiting for her turn.
Ooooh! She was so excited to get her nails painted too, just like her big sis!
We are a christian adoptive family! God has pieced together our family in a way that is more beautiful than anything I could have imagined! We have adopted internationally, as well as through the US foster care system, but most importantly we have all been adopted by God! Ephesians 1:5 says "God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ".
We live on a small hobby farm, and homeschool our six children. Life is full!
My first miracle born in 2001. After giving birth to her, I realized that being a mother was the best job out there, and children are a miracle and precious gift from God. She is a true country girl at heart. Horses are her passion. She is an amazing big sister to her 5 little siblings!
Adopted from China in 2007.
Her sweet spirit fills our home with beauty and love. She is our little dancer, and introduced me to the world of recitals, dance practices, tutu's and ballet! Most of all, her love for Jesus shines bright, and even at her young age, she has a passion for orphan care and missions. These are subjects she talks and prays about on a daily basis! Can't wait to see where the Lord takes this girl!
Adopted from U.S. foster care, July 2013.
God's surprises never cease to amaze me. He is Laney's full sibling who came to live with us in Nov. 2011. Our son since the day he arrived. This is the sweetest boy you will ever meet.
Adopted from U.S. foster care November 2011.
Words cannot describe the joy this precious pumpkin brings to our lives! Another sweet miracle fromt the Lord. She was our first foster baby, arriving at the age of 7 weeks. We were blessed to adopt her in November of 2011. She refers to herself as a princess, and is also a lover of kittens, books, and dancing. I guess many more dance practices and recitals are in our future, lol!
Adopted from U.S. foster care, July 2013.
She was our second foster child who came home from the hospital at one week old. She livens up our days with her endless energy and strong will! It has been such a joy to see her and Austin have the chance to be together as brother and sister, and they definately have a bond that makes my heart smile!
Adopted from U.S. foster care July 2013. What a surprise it was to see that the little boy I pictured in my mind, who only the Lord would know, was actually in need of a forever family! Another miraculous gift from the Lord. He arrived at 4 mos. of age in Oct. 2011. Cute as can be with a contagious laugh and smile.