Saturday, November 28, 2009


We've hit a roadblock in math so we are bringing in a new teacher! Daddy!
Sarah struggles with memorizing her math facts

We ordered playsilks from Shonni at Nations around our Table- they are absolutely beautiful and the girls love them! It is part of a fundraiser to bring their son Keeshawn home from Ethiopia!! I would highly recommend them! They just came in the mail yesterday and the girls had them on immediately!

They would be a wonderful Christmas gift or birthday gift! It's already to late for me- I opened them before I realized who was in the room! They were instantly scooped out of my hands!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

No lie- Anna actually did color the one on the left! By herself! I had no idea she could stay in the lines so well! Maybe she'll be an artist! Sarah did a lovely job on hers, too!

Love the little handprints! Such treasures!!

God is so good and we are so grateful to him for this past year!

I am so thankful that our sweet Sarah has been home for one full year now and has adjusted so well. She seems to love having a family and love being loved!

I am so grateful that all of our family will be together today and that we are invited over to my brother and sister in laws home for the Thanksgiving meal! We are a large crew so it is so very thoughtful of them!

I am so grateful for our daughters in China. We can hardly wait to bring them home and love them!

I am so thankful for the hearts of our older children. They love their younger siblings and love having them in our family. I am thankful their hearts are big enough to handle our passion for God's tiny treasures. We do seem to continuously ask more of them- sometimes they are eager and other times they are reluctant but in the end they come around!

I am so thankful for our bible study, I can easy fall into a spiritually stagnant state but when studying the bible it helps me to grow in God's word. I also enjoy the support from the other women and love reading their insights. It is so cool that a bible study can be done on line nowadays! I don't know how I could do it otherwise especially with homeschooling pre- k and 3rd grade.

I am thankful for friends both bloggy and the ones I can see! They bring smiles to my face and laughter to my heart!

I am thankful for this day to able to reflect on God's gifts. Thank you Jesus!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day, Sarah!!

One year ago today I met an incredible little girl!! She was not so sure about her new Momma but over the past year she has adjusted well. I believe the word she may have used was "old". Thank goodness I brought Katie along to lighten the blow!! A younger version of what I once was!

Our time in China was fun and eventful! We had tons of laughter and lots of charades! We also had a bit of pouting, a few dirty looks and our fair share of tears. We have learned so much over this last year! You may think I am talking about Sarah but actually I am talking about us, too. It has been hands on and on the job training experience for all of us! I am so thankful that the Lord guided us in this direction and gave us the courage to do something that we had not planned on doing! I would do it again in a heart beat! Oh, that's right, we are!! Yippee Jesus!!

Sarah has come so far- I just cannot believe her progress! When we were in China she made it very clear to our guide that she had NO intention of  learning English. In fact she started immediately trying to teach us Chinese. Katie and I were very poor students and we all would end up hysterically laughing. Sarah's English language skills have grown immensely. Most people can not believe she has only been home one year.

Having Katie and I go to China to get Sarah was actually a really good thing. It really has helped Katie bond with the younger sister. It has also opened her eyes to other cultures and the life of the orphans. Sometimes people will ask us questions and it is Katie that speak up. I love it when that happens because I can hear her heart speaking as she explains to them what orphan life is like and what her sisters mean to her. 

The one area that Sarah struggles slightly with is pouting. When she first came home it happened about three times a day but PTL it has gotten so much better. We just have a mild pout about 2 times a week! Actually that is probably less the average american 9 yr old! Sarah can express herself and her needs now- which is huge. We give her some space when she needs it. She may have to process that she is just not going to get her way this time or just process her personal frustration. Third we have given her tools and she actually uses them to deal with it. Instead of her going deeper into a pout she now asks for a hug (she will not let us hug her unless she initiates it- when she is mad) so we eagerly hug her and give her love- her mood changes immediately. She is also able to apologize when she misbehaves- That amazes me! That is something we all do. It is a necessary talent to be able to apologize when you hurt someone- so it has been modeled many times in our home.

Sarah is happy, joyful and has a ready smile. She adores her younger sister most of the time! She is very kind and helpful to Anna. Sometimes we teach Sarah and then I hear her teaching Anna. It is so cute! She really loves all of her older siblings! It is such a joy to see the different ages interact! I spend a lot of time with my girls- and I love it. They amaze me, everyday they amaze me!

Sarah loves to help with everything! She is a very capable little girl! She makes her bed beautifully and often helps me fold the laundry. She knows she keeps her room nicer than her big brother Johnny- we are so thankful she does!! She likes to organize her hair ties, her toys, her books! What a great quality!

She loves to play, have fun and laugh! She is proud of her accomplishments and loves it when we cheer her on! Which has been quite frequently this year with bike riding, swinging, monkey bars, swimming, going off the diving board, cartwheel and the list goes on! She loves showing her new skill to which ever sibling will watch!!

Our sweet little girl has a thankful heart. When we pray, she eagerly thanks the Lord for her family and especially her Mom and Dad. I love this little girl so much. She is our darling daughter and we are so grateful that the Lord brought her into our lives!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Matt and Dad!!

Happy Birthday Matt and Daddy!

The two of them fixed the steaks. Matt's were voted the best! He seasoned them and seared them in a cast iron pan. Dad did his usual on the grill. They both were great!

Matt and Caitlin played picnic with Anna!

The crew! Katie and Caitlin had a new hairdo compliments of Sarah!

Anna wished Matt a happy Birthday in the morning over the phone! When she wanted to show him something she would just hold the phone up to it and say "see Matt"! It is just so cute when she does that!

Sarah's Salon!

This boy is not cooperative when it comes to photos! We went to his soccer banquet last week. As a sophomore (Junior next year) Johnny was voted as one of the captains. He also got all conference honorable mention! he loves soccer and was thrilled with the awards!

Our wonderful oldest child was born on his Daddy birthday! It was completely a surprise! He was 9 days early- which was much appreciated by his mother(me)! At that moment I knew I had given my husband the best birthday gift ever! Our oldest son Matt has a heart of gold. He is as smart as can be and loves having in depth conversations with his father. His passion is skiing- he's the only one around here that wants the snow to come, asap! Matt is very environmental conscious- he spent 3 months living on a self sustaining farm in Oregon. It was not all it was cracked up to be but it was a good life lesson for him. He enjoys cooking and it quite good at it! He is looking forward to growing vegetables in his garden this summer. 

Matt graduated from Madison 2 yrs ago and is working full time. As a child he had a heart for the Lord- we are praying this will be rekindled in him as a young adult. He is a wonderful big brother to all of his younger siblings and they all adore him- especially the girls! He rools with the punches when we tell him what our latest plans are! Matt is our family computer whiz- we are always calling him asking how to do something- he can always figure it out! Happy Birthday Matt! We love you!

Hubby Jim is the most wonderful man in the world! He is my best friend and the love of my life! Thank you Jesus for our life together!

We had a wonderful weekend that ended with a family dinner on Sunday evening. Everyone was there except Mark- he is still in Denver but will be coming home in a few days- PTL!!

I was contacted by one of the other Mom's from our daughters orphanage! She sent us the most beautiful pictures of our girls! They were pictures that we had never seen before! After I saw them I was completely speechless and overjoyed! It is such a good feeling to see pictures of the girls- I just want to go over to China right now and get them!!

We turned in all of our dossier paperwork on Friday only to find out we were still missing one paper. We finished it this weekend, had it notarized and it will be at our agency on Monday morning!! Yippee!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Blown Away!

I cannot believe how cool our dear Lord is! Something happened this week that I would love to share with you but I can not- it is much too early. I know I am leaving you hanging and I'm sorry for that but it is just not time to share. (I'm doing a Linny!) It was most definitely a God thing! Something only he could orchestrate.  It is also something that we will be deeply praying about! It left me dazed and in awe... My head is still spinning.

I am doing a bible study that I absolutely love- it is a Beth Moore online bible study. I struggle each day wanting to do my lesson but I don't always have the time. Some days I am successful and other days I am not- however when I am able to do it it is so worth it! It helps me to see the Lord in the world around me- the beauty and the power of his Holy Spirit.  It is a blessing to be able to study his word in freely- I can't imagine not having the freedoms that we have here. 

In a matter of hours our dossier will be at our agency!! We are so thrilled and doing the happy dance! To think that our lord is so kind to allow us to parent these precious girls, also blows me away! Emma and Ellie, we are working hard to bring you two home! I was all fired up thinking that we would be in southern China when it was cold here BUT that is not going to happen. Most likely we will be in southern China when it is beautiful here... oh well! When you live in MN- you spend time thinking of ways to get out of here in the winter. In the summer- you don't want to leave- there is no place prettier!

I have received 2 responses from people that say they have pics of our girls! If that is you please e-mail me at   We would love pics of our daughters and we would love to connect up with you since your child is from the same place as our girls!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Simple Thought!

Sarah likes to be held (don't we all)! She has now figured out that when I hold her she does most of the work! Hang on tight honey!

When Hubby and I were young the new thing in psychology was (the end of the hippie era)-if you are feeling frustrated or angry-just let it all out (who ever is in your way- who cares just let them have it). Express yourself and express your anger. Go ahead hit those pillows, tell someone exactly how you feel (who cares if you hurt someone else in the process- just as long as you feel better). Now, doesn't that feel good, I bet your anger is all gone - you have told that person off. You have told them exactly the way you feel and excess anger after that was taken out on the pillow. The theory was once you let it out it would be gone. NOT

I never believed it back then and I sure don't believe it now. I feel anger breeds more anger. It is a cycle that once you are in is difficult to get out of. It is where negativity only brings more negativity. What a backwards way of thinking we had back then.

In my own life I have done a human study on this already. Let me explain- if I am crabby to someone else I can all but guarantee that is what I will get back. The good part is the opposite is also true! Think about it, have you ever smiled at someone and then just waited to see what they would do- 9 times out of ten you will get a smile back. 

My very unscientific research tells me that when I share my feelings with others they are multiplied back too me. In other words if I am joyful I get joy from others. If I am kind I get kindness back. When I show love I get love back. Honestly this is what keeps me going every day! This is what I receive from Jesus everyday. This is what we all receive from Jesus everyday if we want to accept it! I am not one to turn down a gift, but a gift that grows- that's even better! 

Older child adoption is a challenge. It is a challenge that helps us grow each day. We lean heavily on our Lord for direction. I have once again found with my very unscientific research that the more love I give, the more love I get in return, The more I accept, the more acceptance I get in return. If I am happy, the people around me are happy! It is a very simple thought- I like simplicity!

For a really good idea check out our daughters blog!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meet the Girls!

Emma Joy and Ella Mei

We are so excited to be able to share their picture with you! Our girls are biological sisters. They are very close and do not tolerate being separated. Emma is 8 yrs old and Ellie is 7 yrs old. Their birthdays are only one day apart (and one year). Imagine that- what a coincidence-I am sure they were just assigned approximate birthdates. When we bring them home they will be very close to 8 and 9 yrs old. I just want to get them home now. It is so hard to see them get older without us.

Emma (the oldest) is shy and quiet. I think she has been a bit of a caretaker to her younger sister. In their description it said that she gives her younger sister her food. I believe it will take her awhile to warm up to her new family and to learn to trust and love us but that is okay we have forever!! 

Ellie is outgoing with lots of personality. After getting used to her new surroundings she had no problem warming up to the caretakers and teachers. She is delightful and made friends easily. In fact one of her best friends is Ava Meiying. Ava just came home about a month ago. I am sure Ellie misses her.

Ava has told her mom that Emma and Ellie live with their foster mom in the same building as she did. Any tiny tidbit of information that we receive about our girls is such a day brightener!

Our daughters were found about 3 yrs ago and went into the local orphanage. They had a difficult adjustment at first. I am sure they were in shock and filled with fear. As time went on Ellie started to warm up and make friends so they decided to put Ellie in a foster home and leave Emma in the orphanage. Both girls completely shut down and would not speak. They could not bear to be apart. they would not eat, sleep or talk. After much prodding Ellie finally told her new foster mom that she could not be without her older sister. So the foster Mom was then able to bring Emma home, too. Soon the girls were talking, eating, sleeping together, playing and bonding to their new foster Mom and family. 

I will write more later about our girls but for now we better run to church!

We are so thankful to be at this point of the adoption process. We are so thankful to have received PA. We had a few road blocks in the beginning so being where we are now is a blessing beyond belief! God is so good!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our PA has arrived!!

Yippee!! We have PA! We are so excited, it just came today! Thank you Jesus! I can't believe it came in one week! Thank you for your prayers! We are thinking our dossier should go out next week- I think! Lot's of high fiving going on here! 

This means China has pre-approved us to adopt Emma Joy and Ella Mei! Now we send in our dossier (paperwork) to China and receive an LID (Log In Date)!

WooHoo! Can you hear me where ever you are! WooHoo!!

Oops, I forgot my... (and Thankful Thursday)

Remnants of Ida!

Ida is gone now but she brought some cooler weather with her. We did a little shelling near the beach. The girls each have their own bags so they can keep their favorite shells. Sarah picks hers out carefully and inspects them!

Anna, on the hand, picks up the shells by the handfuls and dumps them in the bag!

We are all enjoying our week here in Florida! The weather has been okay but not perfect. We talked to the big kids at home- I guess it has been warm in MN! We travel all this way for warmth and here it is nice at home! Isn't that just the way it goes!!

I have just started an online bible study which I am so excited about. It has been awhile since I have done one and I really feel the need for it in my life. I new I would be starting it during our time in Florida so along with packing I made sure I new how to do the technical/computer part and then literally drove 40 miles to get the workbook because it was not available at a store near us. Okay, great I'm all set right! NOT! I get here, I begin the study and guess what? They want us to open our bibles to John 14! Excuse me, WHAT? I forgot my bible- yeah, I know... I'm doing a bible study? Hello Jean! Wake up- I guess I really need this more than I was thinking I did!

I checked every drawer in this place and no bible here either... hmmm! What to do?

There is one little bookstore nearby and they just so happened to have a lovely bible that will work perfectly! Thank you Jesus- the study can proceed!

Since today is Thursday I also want to add in my thankful list!

I am so excited to do my first Beth Moore study- thank you Jesus! Please Lord speak to my heart and fill me with your spirit. I pray to hear the message that you have intended for me. I pray for others that are also wanting your presence in them and that their hearts are accepting of your message. 

I am thankful that all is going well at home!

I am thankful that we have been able to do school in Florida and hubby has been able to do his work, while still having fun with the kids!

I am thankful that the families who have had H1N1 are recovering (that I know of, that is).

I am thankful for our children. The big kids are wonderful and the little kids are such blessings!

I am thankful that God has helped us to parent this crew and for now... all is well! 

Praying that we get PA and that it comes soon!

Enjoy your day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hello Ida!

St*rbucks for the parents and coloring for the kids- overlooking the ocean- works for me!

Doing a little dancing before dinner!

On Saturday we went on a plane ride to Florida. The plane was too heavy so we needed more gas to get here! I am pretty sure it was because of my suitcases! I am the worst packer in the world. I see know reason to trouble myself with decisions- I just put it all in! I'm blaming the extra weight on those wild olive tees of mine! Ya know, they are awfully heavy ;-) Oh my when we went to China I thought our guide was going to fall over when she saw our suitcases. I really don't know how some people do it. Even when people say they pack light I see them in different outfits, different shoes, different earings- I don't believe those light packer- they have to have an extra suitcase stashed somewhere!

The girls did great on the plane and they are doing great here! They will be 4 and 10 by the time we travel to China (they are just growing up to fast)! Sarah and Anna would be a wonderful diversion to Emma and Ellie who will be heartbroken to leave their foster family. Thank you for your comments on "who should travel"! I am thinking about going coach and bringing the crew! We will see what our situation is when the dear Lord has us traveling to China!

I have not had internet connection for the last 3 days. I did okay at first just enjoying the family and a change of scenery BUT then I wanted to get back on and see how everybody was doing, maybe blog a little and get a few other things done. That's when I realized- NO INTERNET- when ya want it and ya can't have it- it can drive ya crazy! So today we worked on getting it all figured out- and here I am so ya'll know how it turned out! (I'm not even from the south, I'm a northerner but I still do like an occasional ya'll)!

Hurricane Ida is making it's way to Florida. It will not be hitting land near us but we will feel some of it. The wind has really picked up and the next few days should be rainy. We took a walk along the point, the wind carry the stroller down the path- we didn't even have to push it! We are hoping to get some nicer days in during the end of our time here! Thank you Jesus!

I can hardly wait to check out all your blogs! I've missed you!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Who should travel?

Gotcha Ming Ming!!

I really tried hard to be fun! Whew! It was hard work but we had a blast (most of the time).

Katie and I had fun together, too! Sarah took the pic!

Katie and Sarah connected right away!

Gotcha LeYi!! 

She is much happier in this picture!! Dreams really do come true!

I  can't help myself- I like to think ahead and plan for options in the future. We are not close at all to traveling BUT I need your thoughts! 

Eleven months ago Katie and brought Sarah home! Our journey had highs and lows but not bad lows they were learning lows! They were part of the process of getting to know each other learning to trust each other and just plain trying to figure out each other. It was the trip of a lifetime and we came home exhausted and ready for our new daughter/sister to meet the rest of the family. When I read about others in China who are traveling to get their older child so many memories come back and they are good memories! I love that they share their journey with us!

Traveling to get Anna was incredible- it was a first time experience- first adoption, first time in China, first everything! We met the most wonderful family who adopted Anna's friend and they were such a joy to share the experience with! I didn't want it to end but at the same time I was excited to get home and see the rest of the family! 

This time we will go to China in the late spring to meet Emma and Ellie. They are in foster care and leaving their foster Mom/family. This will probably be the hardest thing they will ever have to do. They have already been through a lot. Initially we will not be viewed as their wonderful new parents- they may not even like as at first- we will be the ones that are taking them away from all that is familiar. 

So what do you think? Should Kate and I go again- we worked well together. Sarah loved Kate because she was young and pretty- like some of the nannies. She was good at playing with Sarah. We often modeled mother daughter behavior for Sarah to see. We had fun but it was a business trip- we got our little Sarah home to her new family safe and sound!

Should hubby and I go? Should Babba be there right from the start. He would love to be there but is not sure if he can leave work. There are two of them do we need the presence of a Babba? He is strong and could carry the girls sometimes. It could be a wonderful initial bonding time for the four of us. We could both be there to help the girls go through part of the mourning process. He is also lots of fun! 

Should we bring Sarah and Anna? Will the girls warm up with their sisters there? Will the have more fun with them their or will hubby and I have an extremely difficult time (Sarah will have been home 1.5 years). Will Sarah get nervous and be more of a challenge than a help. Would we be expecting too much out of her? I see some families going and I think it is so wonderful but this is a challenging situation I'm not sure if it will work out the way we hope or plan. We have to be flexible in China because you never know- it could be a smooth or a bumpy road.

Our final decision will depend on many things. Finances, hubbies business situation, Katie's work, we will evaluate how the girls are doing and who may be able to stay with them if they should stay home. I would love to hear from you! What did you do? Would you recommend doing it that way or not? 

Lori made a great point- what about our boys! The oldest Matt would love to go BUT he works (and I am so very grateful for that!). The second son- Billy is graduating from College in May - which might complicate our travel a bit because we want to be at his graduation. (I am hoping we travel in early, early May). He could not travel until June, plus he is spending January in Australia- that is enough travel if you ask me. Son #3 is Mark and he is in school through the first week of June and desperately needs to work this summer. His college tuition is a bit spendy so he can stay home! Son #4- Johnny is a sophomore in High School (not homeschooling this one) he cannot miss school especially since he had H1N1 and has already missed 7 days. He plays on a competitive soccer team and loves it. He has no desire to travel to China or anywhere else (that is okay with us)! It is our hope that all of our children at some point in their lives will be able to go to China but it at this point it is most important to get our girls home! 

Okay... I have to be honest... I really want to travel to China in the front of the plane (when traveling to far, far, far places such as China- and just so you know I have only been in the USA and China)... I'm sorry...I'm a little older and I want to feel good when I meet our new daughters... so given that new and not so pleasant info about ME... and taking into consideration the cost... who do ya think should travel... ( all of us probably won't work unless we strike oil in the back yard)!

We will decide based on our situation at that time but your experiences and wisdom will help us make our decision! We will also pray about it and see where GOD leads us!!

Thank you!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh Happy Day!!

Yippee- it's finally arrived! Today is the big day, our LOI is on it's way to China! PA should arrive in 1-3 weeks- praise the Lord!! I'm hoping it is sooner rather than later!! With our last adoption our PA took 17 weeks and actually never officially arrived- that was a long and painful experience. It feels so good to be moving in the right direction! Please pray that we find favor with the China and they grant us PA!

With the leaves off the trees we can see the steeple from the church across the street! It looks so pretty and gives me peace!

Blessings on your day! 

(Yippee Jesus)

Please pray for Linny and DW's- Jubilee Promise. This sweet girl needs to come home now!

Monday, November 2, 2009

WooHoo, We have C*S approval!

Yippee!! We are so very happy! Now we can send in our LOI and hopefully get our PA in 2-3 weeks!! Our agency waits until you have receive C*S approval before sending for the PA. That is just the way they interpret the Hague guidelines.   Our dossier should be ready to go the minute we have PA!! Feels good to get things moving!!

Just had to share the good news!!

Thank you Jesus!!