Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.



Monday, February 28, 2011

Cynthia 3 Birthday!

That is what she kept saying leading up to the day. And when it finally arrived, I'm not sure she quite knew what to think! We were in Atlanta with my family because Cathy, Kyle & Elizabeth were visiting from Philadelphia, so it was a perfect time to celebrate this occasion. We put out some simple decorations, presents and had the cake ready with 3 candles. Then, we called her in while we were singing "Happy Birthday" and this was her expression....not quite sure what to think of all of the attention.....

Hmmmm.......
She knew what to do here....
But needed a little help!
What's this? A little more help.....
I did it!
Still checking it out while Samuel reads her one of her cards.
Presents? Got that figured out now.
One of her gifts was the first of gifts we bought for her while we were in China. A friend told me she did this for her daughter and I thought it was a great idea, so we bought a small gift for each year up to 18. This way, she will have something from China each year. Since she loves puzzles right now, this one was perfect for this year.
We finished off the party with some cake and ice cream--thanks GraCarol!
Even though she was a little reserved, I think she knew it was her special day. And how special it was to celebrate this first/third birthday with her!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Famous Americans

Well, once again, I have not been blogging much. Not because there isn't anything to record, but because there is too much! I'll do a catch up post soon (hopefully). Here are 2 things the boys have been up to....

Each child in Samuel's class has a short presidential speech they are reciting today at school. They were supposed to dress the part, too. Ladies & Gentlemen, may I present George W. Bush?
His speech is a portion of the State of the Union address given on Sept 20, 2001. As we were working on it, I realized that neither he nor Thomas really knew much about Sept 11, so that led to some good discussion as we watched a video online and saw some pictures of images I would rather forget. He seems to understand it a bit better now and here is his excerpt....
We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion.
We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.
My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our union, and it is strong.
Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.
And to join the ranks of the likes of Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Benjamin Franklin, meet Thomas Drake.
In 4th grade at Westminster, they do an "Invention Convention". It began a while ago by asking adults for problems they had. Then the kids could pick a problem and come up with an invention to solve the problem. Thomas chose the problem of having no where for your books when you sleep on the top bunk--so you drop them to the floor and wake someone else up! Introducing the BUNK BED BOOK BOX. Even customizable! He won a blue ribbon for his invention research, process and result.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Almost 3


Cynthia knows her birthday is coming up. She very often says, "Mama, Cynthia 3 birthday!" while holding up 3 fingers. Yesterday, I said, "Yes! And what should we do for your birthday?"

C: "Cake!" :)


And, just some fun pics.....someone has been a little difficult to get pictures of recently!





Ahhh, there's that smile!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One year ago today....

Just had to mark the day....
One year ago today, we got THE CALL! Our Travel Approval...time to go get Cynthia. Seems like just yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once. What an amazing year it has been!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cynthia-isms

One of the most common questions I get about Cynthia now is about how her language is doing. Well, it is time for her words to be recorded again. Last time, we made a list of all of the single words she was saying....it was impressive at the time, but she has gone so much beyond that now. Her language skills have continued to develop to the point that we are having conversations. Lots of sentences, tells me what she has been doing, what she wants to do, and what everyone else is doing....She is still sometimes difficult to understand, but is very persistent about getting her point across. If she says something that I don't understand and I have already asked her to repeat it a couple of times, she starts to get very insistent. I can usually eventually figure it out, but on the occasion that I can't--if I try to say, "Oh" or "that's nice"--nope, doesn't work any more! She will respond with, "No, mama" and repeat again. Whew! Luckily it is continuing to get better and better.


Here is a sampling of some of the things were are hearing right now: (probably much funnier and cuter in person, but I want to record them for my memory sake!) And the voice is so so so sweet!

Eboby (emphasis on the E--everybody) As in "Daddy drink milk, Mommy drink milk, Thomas drink milk, Samuel drink milk, Molly drink milk, Cynthia drink milk...Eboby drink milk!!"

"Abuela!" when she sees Dora. At some point, she watched Dora--and picked up that Dora calls her Grandmother 'Abuela', so thinks that is her name. Funny to hear Spanish from her!

I got it! or I do it! Lots of kids say this, but it also gets extra use when someone else does something--Molly I do it color picture.

We go to the Y several times a week, where she is learning lots of songs and loves to repeat those. Her faves are a "good morning song" that they sing, and "God is Love" which I love to hear her sing, "Praise him, praise him all ye little children God is love, God is love." If she wants to tell me something that happened at the Y, her sentence starts with, "Mama, I play Y, ...."

She often asks for help to sing a certain song, saying, "Mama, help you Twinkle Twinkle... or help you ABCs"

Careful Monkeys. This one took me a little while to figure out one night. We were getting ready for bed and she kept telling me 'careful monkeys, careful monkeys'. I finally figured out she wanted to wear the pajamas that have monkeys on them....and have feet. She had worn them before and slipped so needed to walk slowly....of course, careful monkeys. :)

We have this conversation several times a day. She suddenly reminds herself out loud, "no tee-tee panties." Me: "Right, no tee-tee panties, do you need to go potty?" C: "no" Me: "you're sure? Ok, no tee-tee panties." About 5 minutes later , invariably, "potty, potty potty!!!" And we are off to the potty! :)

When all the other kids are home and being talkative about their days, I think sometimes she feels left out, because, she will suddenly say, "Mama!!!" to get my attention. Me: "Yes, Cynthia?" C: "Um... Um.... I play Angie." Angie is one of the sweet girls that works in our church nursery that C really likes. Every time in this situation, she says the EXACT same thing. I think it really means, "Hey, I'm still over here even though all these big loud kids are here now! Just checking you didn't forget, mama."

And to continue in the bilingual (or would it be trilingual??) mode--we were in the car at a red light one day and she said, "go, mama" So, I showed her the light and explained we were waiting on the green light. She understood and said ,"green go!" A couple of days later, we were on the way to church at a light that turned green and we suddenly heard what sounded like "Gringo!"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

新年快樂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Today is Chinese New Year. Here is a bit I found about this year--the year of the Rabbit.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animals signs. The Rabbit is a lucky sign. Rabbits are private individuals and a bit introverted. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends. They are good teachers, counselors and communicators, but also need their own space.
According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.
Not many people know that the Rabbit is the symbol of the Moon, while the Peacock is the symbol of the Sun, and that together, these two animal signs signify the start of day and night, represent the Yin and Yang of life. It is said that anyone making supplications for wishes to be fulfilled are certain to get what they want... and in the Year of the Rabbit, the wish-granting aspect of the Sun and the Moon combined is multiplied. The Moon is YIN and this is the Yin of Heaven, signifying magic. Thus on each of the Full Moon nights of this year, go out into your garden to gaze into the Full Moon and visualize plenty of Moon dust and Moon glow flowing into you, filling your whole body with bright white light and granting you fearlessness, love and courage. This will not only strengthen your inner "Chi" energy, it will also bring wisdom into your life.


As we traveled in China, we could see the centuries of tradition and beliefs all around us. It is truly an amazing country and I will strive to keep it alive for Cynthia, and our whole family, as a part of our lives. I am, however, glad we know the creator of the moon and the sun, who loves us, knows us intimately, and hears our prayers. I do like the part above about 'catching your breath', but I'll take my sweet Savior over Moon dust and Moon glow for sure!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Picture update!



Well, life has been so busy that days weeks and even a month seem to have flown by! We are all well (other than a recent bout of croup that kept us up a few nights...better now.) and have been up to lots of activities. Here are some random, but of course cute, pics of the kids these last few weeks.


One of Molly's friends went to Mexico over the holidays and came back with a head full of braids, so one Saturday, she asked me to do her hair like that....well, here was my attempt. I could use some lessons! Then, of course, someone else wanted in on the beauty parlor action....


Almost.....




The kids had a day off of school, so we decided to load up everyone and go to the local park that has both a dog park, which was enjoyed by this one.....she sniffed every inch of that place, and a playground.

After she had her time, we headed over to the playground. How did this guy get so old?!?!?


A little monkeying around.......

Precious.
Hmmmm, can you guess what's next?
Poor Abby.





They also have this cool musical instrument section. Samuel liked this one.

Then, we decided we were getting a little cold, so time to load up!
Samuel had this cool field trip recently, on which Daddy got to be a chaperone.


They did several science experiments.

Looked like a lot of smart fun.

And, of course, sports.....growing up with 2 sisters, we didn't really do team sports. Gymnastics was big, but as a mom of boys, I am learning how important these are to them. There is something about the challenge, competition and exertion that they thrive on. And, I love it that they have lots of wonderful coaches who can be involved in their lives--I know this will continue to be a constant in their lives and I love to watch them (but sometimes miss a great shot when someone else says, 'Mama...')
This was Samuel's last game, so I tried to snap a few action shots...

The trophy!

After Samuel's game, we ran over to the Y to catch the end of Thomas's game. (He still has some left, so no pics yet.) After his game, I was at the desk signing up for the NEXT season...soccer. I asked the kids to please sit at the table, not get up, not be loud...you get the picture. As I was filling out forms, I started to hear giggling behind me. I turned around to find this:
And this:
And this, they were playing 'copy Cynthia' which she was getting a HUGE kick out of! And I still had my camera, so was able to whip it out and capture the moment!
As I said, time is flying by. Lots of other things going on as well--work, helping with homework and a big project for Thomas, reading some great books, watching (in 15-30 spurts before bed) the Lord of the Rings for my first time, being a taxi driver, and-on a more serious note-really seeking direction for our Minus 1 Orphan Ministry at church....hopefully more on that soon. Also, thinking ahead to Cynthia's third/first birthday (turning 3, but first to be celebrated!) and her 1 year Gotcha Day anniversary. Can't believe this time last year we were still waiting--and about to get the call that is was time! So much to be thankful for!!!