Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

Wow, this has been an amazing Christmas.  Honestly I was a little concerned how crazy it might be.  Six kids is a lot to take care of and I was worried we would get jealousy or complaints.  But....I am happy to report, all we received were "WOW!!!!", "THIS IS AWESOME", "THIS IS SO COOL". Every single one of our kids were genuinely happy with every gift they received.  And their smiles (and tears......I'll explain later) were priceless to me.  Here is a photo of our family at our Christmas Eve service at church (Thank you Holly R).  This year, we met at the high school football stadium. It was awesome.  I heard over 1500 people attended.  There was even FL snow (aka bubbles).  The kids loved it. And so did I.

On Dec 23rd Bills family came over to celebrate Christmas. We had a lot of fun. We ate a late lunch and then tore into the gifts.  Hope & Maggie picked up quickly and were so thankful for every gift.  Have I said how much fun it's been to watch them???  Maggie LOVES babies. And she could not get enough of baby Finn.  I was a nervous wreck with her holding him.  But she would cradle him and rock him in her lap etc. She was in heaven. I know she misses the babies in Huainan.

Christmas morning, the ONLY day of the year that I wake up before anyone else.  LOL  Of course Tiff, Abby, Jadyn & Ethan were excited and all smiles.  Hope & Maggie were grumpy and wanted to sleep.  It was only 6:20, they are all usually up by then any other day anyway. I don't know why today they would want to sleep.  LOL  It did not take long for them to wake up and get as excited as their siblings.  They found what Santa brought, opened their stockings, and then we passed out gifts and sat in a circle. They took turns opening up 1 at a time.  And they were all very patient and loved watching what the others received.
Throwing Reindeer Food Christmas Eve night

Later Christmas afternoon my family came over.  We had fun.  We ate a late lunch and then opened gifts.  It was fun watching the kids open their gifts.  Again, all of our kids were very thankful and grateful and full of smiles.

We also celebrated 4 December birthdays with my family.  Edie (my new sister-n-law) is Dec 12, Bill is Dec 14, Jadyn is Dec 15 and Daniel (my brother) is Dec 31.

We had a great Christmas.  The kids have been opening up their gifts and playing with everything.  They received a lot of art & craft kids and that has been fun.  H & M also received some school workbooks and LOVE them.

OH, the tears I mentioned earlier.....This was from Tiff. And they were HAPPY tears.  She has been wanting to go to NYC for a few years now.  At Christmas time. She wants to see the tree & ice rink etc.  Well since she will be 18 in April, and graduating in May, we figured this is the year to surprise her.  We kept telling her it's too expensive and there just is not any time.  She was so upset.  Several of her friends were going and she wished she could go.  Well, her last present she opened was her trip to NYC with her daddy.  And we got the reaction that we hoped for.  :-)  They have been there for 2 days and fly home today.  She is having the time of her life.  She had a list of things to do, and I think they are able to cross of all of them.  I'm so happy that she is happy.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


As we are about to celebrate Christmas, I sit and watch Hope & Maggie.  This is their first REAL Christmas.  Yes, they saw Christmas trees, and santa hats and even got a present (I think) in China, but this is their first REAL Christmas.  Where they will learn what Christmas is all about. Where they will spend it with a family.  Where they will experience the laughter and singing that we all do this time of year.  And let me tell you, the girls are EXCITED!  I took the kids shopping to buy each other gifts.  They LOVED picking out something for their siblings (they all loved it).  But Hope realized that she did not buy something for Maggie, and Maggie did not buy something for her (because they were together when we shopped).  So I told them I would pick something up and show them and see if it was okay.  Bill & I went to Epcot the other night, (just the 2 of us) and I found 2 things.  I picked up a Tinker Bell Coloring kit for Maggie, and a Disney back scratcher for Hope.  Why a back scratcher???? Well when we were there a few weeks ago, Hope saw it, knew what it was and kept asking for it. She said "Everyone can use it".  So, I wanted to make sure we picked it up.  One by one I brought them in my room to show them their gift to the other.  And they both said "Yes, good for her, but not for me".  LOL  Hope could not wait to wrap up Maggie's gift and put it under the tree. She also could not wait for Maggie to wrap up Hope's gift so she could see the shape.  LOL  I keep telling them "on 12/25 we will open them all".  They are counting down the days.

The girls made cookies for all of their teachers (they took 10 or 12 I think) and passed them out last week. They were beaming. And the teachers said "for me???" with huge smiles.  The girls loved it.  Then yesterday one teacher gave them homemade chocolate chip banana bread.  Hope & Maggie said "everybody to share from teacher".  Again, the girls were beaming.

I love that they want to share things with all of us now.  It's precious.  And now every day Maggie kisses me on the cheek when she gets out of the car, and Hope blows me kisses (she's too far from me to actually kiss me).  And at night, they both want hugs AND kisses from us.  I love that I don't have to force a hug or kiss on them, I love that they WANT the hug & kiss.

We still have some hard moments with Hope.  It's mainly just attention seeking issues that we have.  I broke down on Sunday because I realized that I hardly spoke to Jadyn all day on Saturday, which was her birthday, because Hope was demanding all of the attention.  Hope will interrupt anyone and not have anything to really say.  She just does not want anyone to have our attention.  We are working on this.  Telling her she needs to wait her turn.  And she does try.  Some days are really good.

When we came home on Sunday there was a package for us with over 3000 photos.  These are photos of the girls from about 2006 until right before we met them this past August.  And they include photos of the kids from the orphanage.  (no, we did not get over 3000 pictures of just the girls LOL).  These photos are priceless to me.  These are the earliest photos that we have of the girls.  I did not even recognize Maggie.  When we were looking through them (we only got through about 600 photos LOL) I realized how much they have had to go through.  I am able to see what their life was like when they were younger.  Some of the photos they look happy. Some they look so alone and sad.  I'm so thankful they are home.  I'm so thankful they tell us that they are happy. I'm so happy they say they love us.  Because I worry that they might not. I worry they might not be happy.  But last night we were having a discussion about another one of their friends from Huainan who is not happy right now, and I asked "are you happy?" And they both said with HUGE smiles "Yes, very happy".  They want to call their friend and tell her "don't be sad, be very happy".

In case you are wanting to comment on the blog, I have turned off the comment box. I have been getting a lot of spam emails from this blog and it's just freaking me out.

Here are 2 photos of the girls.  Our precious Hope & Maggie.

Maggie 12/2007 age 7

Hope 1/2008 age 8

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

4 Months

I just realized I did not do a post on our 4 month Gotcha Day.  The girls do not understand why I want to take pictures of them every month.  I finally just told them that China wants to see that they are happy.  That's all it took and they smiled big.

God is so good!  Look at the changes in just 4 months.

Gotcha Day 8/6/12

1 Month 9/6/12

2 Months 10/6/12

3 Months 11/6/12

4 Months 12/6/12

Merry Christmas

Just a quick update.  The girls are doing great. They are so excited for Christmas.  They have picked out gifts for their siblings and they wrapped them.  They can't wait until 12/25 when they can open their gifts.  The looks on their faces when they see Christmas lights, or when they see what our Elf of the Shelf has gotten into during the night is just priceless.

I will try to update more soon.