Saturday, August 30, 2014

Beginning of the Soccer Season and Sam's Birthday!

This Sunday Johnny had his first scrimmage to get ready for the season!
Of course PURPLE is the team color!
we just so happened to have an abundance of purple t-shirts from our make a wish trip!
I even ordered extra for Ben and Joey- knowing they were on their way home!

It rained right before the game so of course we all got a little wet but that was half the fun!

It was so good to see Johnny back out on the field.
He had a knee injury last year.


We won 3-1!

After the game we went to Snuffy's in St Paul for an ice cream treat!

It just so happened to be only hours until Sam's 8th birthday!

The children had never been to an ice cream parlor before!

Big bro Billy came to watch too!
It was so much fun to have this crew at the game and then to have a treat together afterwards!

Our waitress was amazing!
Extra hot fudge for everyone!

It was a first for the sundaes and malts, for most of the children!

 Truly a highlight of the weekend for everyone!

Emma was thrilled with her choice of a hot fudge banana sundae!

And then it was this very special little boy's birthday!

Truly he is such a JOY!

Wait a second?
Who's birthday is it, again?

Oooohhhh ya!
It's Sam's birthday!

Sammy invited only his best friends to his birthday party!

And finally it was the moment he had been waiting for!

He got a new bike for his birthday!
He's getting bigger and it was time for the next size!

Dinner at our favorite restaurant!
(shhhhh- it's easier for Mom and Dad!)

Mark brought his girlfriend, Laukii.
She is from Hawaii and is part Chinese.
The children loved meeting her!

Sam was very excited about his Ninja Turtle DQ ice cream cake!

And he was hoping to be able to blow out all of the candles on his first try!

Happy Birthday Dear Sam!
You are so much fun and such a blessing to us!

Making a wish!

And just as he was about to blow out HIS candles…
someone decided to help him out…
Gotcha Ava and Luke!
The mystery has been solved!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

School's In Session!

Sarah has been so excited to start school!
This girl is so full of joy and positive energy!

Luke takes a more relaxed approach to school!
Madeline is excited too!
Really praying for her…
She struggles with learning and speaking.

Melissa has only been home 1.5 yrs and she has just about caught up to the third grade group!
It is obvious that she will be able to be completely caught up soon.
This is not usually true with adoptees. 
"Catching up" is a hope but usually not a reality.
Most of the children have so much that they have missed out on that we need to start them at the very beginning no matter what their age is when they come home.
Some have received little to no previous education.
They were exposed to very little learning opportunities in China and often have to start at the Pre-K level.
It doesn't do any good to try to push them ahead. There are too many academic and life skill/experience holes that need to be filled in the correct order so they can begin their learning journey.

I welcome the challenges but having Melissa be able to fit right in where other children her age are at has been a welcomed surprise!

We love Sarah's passion for learning! She started at the beginning when she came home at 8.5 years and she is currently doing 5th grade work!
She is excited about learning and energetic when it comes to school!
We are so proud of her!
It's our hope that she will go to college- she'll be a bit older than the average freshman but we think she'll get there at some point!

This would be Mia behind the book!
This sweet girl is doing well in so many ways!
She is a joy! 
Her smile lights up the room!
She is loving her new life!
She is so helpful and easy to be around!
But, she struggles with English and understanding the spoken words…
I sometimes wonder if she has an auditory processing challenge?
However, it's too early to tell.
 She is still an English language learner.

Sarah is loving her new teachers on the video!
She is eager to learn and has such a great attitude!

We have been blessed to have her as the oldest of the newbies!
As we began welcoming more children home Sarah asked if she could stay the oldest- we agreed!
It was a wise and reasonable request!
She is good at being the oldest!

This would be the Kindergarten class!
Yes, they are spaced/ positioned like that for a reason!

Sometimes they are like puppy dogs!
And they just want to touch each other and play like puppies- 
so a little distance is GOOD!

Emma and Ellie are joining us until their school starts!

I have blog post that I need to do on this little guy.
He is making great progress and he is actually learning some kindergarten material and some preschool material!
I wasn't planning on him actually being able to sit with us for K but that's the beauty of homeschool!
It's working so we keep doing it.

I have him right next to me so I can whisper in his ear what we are working on - he is active and likes to move a lot but when Mom's gentle hand is on his shoulder he sits still ; - )

Notice the windows in this room!
When I am with one group I can see right into the other classroom!
Only GOD could have done this!

Our 3rd graders are ready to be a little bit more independent!
They can do bible class, phonics, penmanship and spelling without Mom!

I am there for reading class, math, science and language!

I have prayed over this for quite awhile.
I didn't know how we were going to do…

I only knew we were supposed to do this.
AND, I love it/ wanted to... 
 somehow HE was going to figure it all out.
And HE did!

Soooo thankful!

This is a very fun group to teach!
The K class is an incredibly rewarding group to teach!
They are learning and moving forward despite some learning challenges and being ELL kiddos!

And then there are days when we all end up on Mom's chair!
Love being home with these treasures!

We are off to a great start (on lesson 17) and we are so thankful!
Of course, we still have many challenges but we know we can put our trust in HIM! God will guide us and see us through!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guess Who's Coming Back!

You guessed it!

And we are soooo excited to see them!

Because we love them soooo much!

And we are in awe with this sweet little baby girl!

And her Momma!
(and her Daddy!)

We have soooo much fun when ever we are with them!

And sweet Emily loves her Great Auntie Barb, too!

The children LOVE playing in the backyard with Andrew!

Andrew got a game of kickball going!

I think this was their first time playing this game!

Love this pic!
All these pictures are from early to mid June- the last time they visited us at our home!

My other camera was "lost" for quite awhile so I couldn't post the pictures from our time together.
Baby Emily was only 2 months and 1-2 weeks old at the time.

After kickball it was time for baseball!

And Dad came out to play!

We are missing a few players in the outfield!
It seems everyone wants to be "at bat"!

Sarah's turn!

Good hit Sarah!

Sam loved it on top of Andrew's shoulders!

And Mia hits a line drive!

The kids love our trampoline!

Yay Madeline!!

Momma and baby enjoying some time outside!

She's looking serious!

WoooooHoooooo Sarah!
Great hit!

Then we snuck inside to have some baby holding time!

Sarah was so thrilled to hold her sweet niece!

And then it was Ava's turn!

And holding Emily made her day!

Then it was Ellie's turn!

And she loved it every bit as much as Sarah and Ava!

Mark got his turn after dinner!

It is such a blessing having a baby around!

And once again it was Billy's turn!

Emily is almost 5 months now!
We are so excited to have them come back to see us!
I know… a lot of exclamation marks ; - )

I just had to get all of these fun pics on the blog before the new ones are up!