Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pep Talk!

On our way to church I gave the children a pep talk!

I told them that they should...

1. try not to fall asleep


2. try to participate more in the service.

We even discussed the meaning of the word participation!

We live 2 miles from church and by the time we got there...

Luke had fallen asleep...

Hubby recommends that I don't become a 

"motivational speaker"!

After Church, Luke said

"Mom, I didn't fall asleep"

he was very proud of himself!

But in the 1.6 years since he has been home I have never seen him so active in church.

Maybe falling asleep is okay!?!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Fun - Swimming!

When I think of 11 children at a crowded pool and me in charge of them I think-
Since I am a problem solver and safety is my main concern I have decided to dress some of the children in matching swimsuits!

The two boys will be dressing alike and I can't wait to have 4 boys dressing alike!

The 5 little girls will have the same swimsuit too!
I actually got a couple options for the kids!

We are so excited to finally be able to go swimming!
ALL of the children love the pool!
It's fun, refreshing and therapeutic!

The kiddos above are able to go off the diving board and slide!
The older girls will not be dressing alike at the pool!
They vetoed the idea! 

Emma loves to go swimming!

Luke loves to play in the water. 
He is not a risk taker and he's not sure why people would ever even consider putting their heads under water?
As far as he is concerned- that is not a smart idea!
Hubby and I are working with him and he will be taking swim lessons next week with all the children.

It is so much fun to see the children interact and play together!
And the matching suits helped me to identify which children were mine!
Otherwise I have a tendency to want to take home all the asian children in the area!

I love those missing front teeth! 

Mia asked if she could go in the deep end with the other older children...
Ahhhh, no honey! You can't swim!
She seems to learn things quickly so we are doubling up swim lessons for Mia, Melissa and Sam.
Sam is all muscle. Although he can swim he is still a sinker so we want him to learn his strokes better!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

VBS 2013

What a great week for ALL of us!!

All of the children attended Vacation Bible School from 8:30am- 12:00!

Oh my- I loved my time in the mornings!

I am thinking VBS should last all summer!
It was so nice to get a few things done and visit with a few friends!

By 12:00 I was ready to pick up our crew!
I missed the munchkins!

 This is a highlight of the summer and they have already asked when can they go back!

This is Luke's first preschool experience!
Sarah is one of his teachers!

Anna, Ava and Melissa are together in the 2nd grade class room!

Abby and Sam are in the first grade room together!
Sam keeps an eye on Abby for me!
And... Abby keeps an eye on Sam!

 Emma is in the 5th grade classroom. This was her last year. The other kids and teachers are always so kind to her!

Ellie and Mia are in fourth grade BUT they were in different classroom.
Yes, that was planned!
The girls get along well but Ellie's self esteem is low and Mia is only 4 months out of the orphanage.
In a heartbeat Mia would grab the opportunity to make fun of Ellie in front of others.
It's the old "make fun of another person weaker than me so I look better" kinda thinking...
Mia is getting much better at this but in a new situation and without her mother's watchful eye she wouldn't be able to resist.

Madeline is in the kindergarten room. It was a good fit for her!

What a great week!
If only it was longer than 5 days...

Please continue to pray for Teresa!

Monday, June 24, 2013

What's really important...

I have a lot to say...


Whatever I have to say right now, is not important.
Right now, 
there is nothing more important than praying for Teresa.


Oh Lord,

PLEASE heal her.

Please return her to the arms of her parents.
Please give her life.
Please give us a miracle.
Please Father, may her new heart begin to beat.
Heal her Lord.


We are blessed to have these children in our lives and through them we see you.

We see your love, your joy, your peace...

Because you give 

we want to give...

We praise you and thank you Dear Lord!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

An Unexpected Storm. . .

We had an unexpected storm this weekend, on Friday evening.
We were all home cooking a great diner when it hit!
The storm was much more than we anticipated.
We sat in the porch and visited until...
it was obviously time to go downstairs.
There was no warning- just random thunderstorms may be going through the area.
We lost power and it took 24 hours for the electric company to restore power.
500,000 homes were in the same boat as us...
BTW dinner was ruined, we tried to salvage what we could and ate by candle light.

Yes, it was kinda fun...
a bit of excitement in our house.

We should have put our cars in the garage...
If we would have known it was coming, we would have.
This large branch feel off a tree and dented 2 of our cars.
Sorry Kate...
one of them was your car ;-(

Of course... the older car did not get hit by the branch and is just fine...

Our neighbor's yard is a mess...
tons of branches down and

 one huge part of a tree fell on his house.

And then...
our tree fell on his house too...
YEP, it did...

The inside of the home was not damaged and no one was hurt.

His roof is on the far right.

This tree was a huge basswood. About 7 separate trees all going out of the same spot-

5 fell, 2 are still standing.

We loved this tree! It was huge and so many animals called it home.

We love sitting in the porch and this tree provided the perfect shade and an interesting view.

All this because of wind and rain- the ground was so wet the trees were easily uprooted.
I can't imagine the damage a tornado might do.

And then we also lost a large evergreen tree by the pond. 

To put the size of the tree into perspective here is hubby standing along side it.

It has made us all so thankful for electricity and all the modern conveniences we have in our homes!
The electricity came on 24 hours later and the internet was restored 48 hours later.

 So thankful!

We have finally caught up after 5 loads in the dishwasher and 10 loads of laundry!
We are ready for the week!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DTC'd Baby!!


Such beautiful letters to hear!
That means our paperwork(dossier) has been sent to China!

Families often travel within 6 months or so from this date, to meet their new children in China!

Thrilled to be at this point in the adoption journey!

For us, it means-

This little boy 
(Benjamin David Xiao Han)

and this little boy
(Joseph Michael Xiao Ling)
will be coming home!

So, so, so, 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Birthday AVA!

I can't believe our little girl is 8 years old!
Oh my, 
once again it's going by too fast!

Ava is the oldest of the "younger crew".
Next to turn 8 will be Melissa, then Abby, then Anna, then Ben, the Sam, then Madeline and so on...
The seven kiddos are all within 16 months!
Not our plan but HIS!
We love it!

We celebrated her day with Daddy on Father's Day when everyone was at our house and then again on Monday - her real birthday!

Ava has blossomed in every way!
She has such a kind heart and is thoughtful of all her siblings!
She loves animals!
Our dogs are finally getting the attention and grooming they deserve!
She is as smart as can be and loves to read!

Ava loves to help in the house and she is ready and willing to do whatever task we ask of her!
She is in charge of feeding the dogs and at 3:00 every day she feeds them!

Ava knew exactly what she wanted for her birthday!
She was beyond thrilled when her dream came true!

Personal space?
Not at our house!

Everyone wanted a front row seat at the present opening!

Madeline made Ava a paper hat!

We are so blessed to have her as our daughter!

The birthday candles were burning down fast so we had to sing a quick happy birthday song!

And then take a quick pic! 

On her actual day she tried out the rollerblades!

They worked out GREAT!
Of course Sammy had to cause a bit of a ruckus!
He loves to smile, he loves to laugh and he talks nonstop!
Ava and Sam came home together and have always had a special bond!
They have been home for 2 years and 2 months!

We went boating in the evening!
It was our first time out this season!

It was a perfect evening!

We went to a popular place on the lake-thinking it would not be crowded.
After all it was Monday night!

We were wrong, it was packed!
I guess Monday night is burger night???

Somehow, we were able to find two tables next to each other. 
We squished in together and had a wonderful time!

People look at our large group and right away think their night will be ruined
BUT all the children behave so well that by the time we leave everyone is telling us what great kids we have!

Way to go guys!

Before arriving we discuss the rules and define what a good time is and what a not so good time would look like!
Surprisingly they listen!
(The not so good time would be them at home and only Mommy and Daddy getting to go places!)

It was Mia, Melissa and Madeline's first time on the boat!

They loved it!
It seems the faster we go the more they all would hoot and holler!

So thankful we could get out to celebrate Ava's birthday and enjoy the lake!

The channels are fun to go through. 
There are people fishing on the sides of the channels.
We always ask-
 "have you caught anything"?
And usually they have!

Boaters always wave to other boaters- it's the friendly thing to do in MN!

It's not quite the same as a Florida sunset but it's still lovely!

Happy Birthday Sweet Ava!