Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

... from all of us!

Friday, December 22, 2006

At the Mall

My little snow friends!

A Year Ago Today...

On December 22, 2005, we were in the midst of the longest day of our lives... about 37 or so hours! Included in those 37 hours were two airplane flights with a toddler we had only known for about 10 days. The second of the two flights was 13 hours long! That was the flight brought our whole family together for the first time... we walked through the airport to our waiting three children to introduce them to their new sister for the first time! It was an amazing time... and the fatigue was immense! I'm so glad to be here at home for December 22 this year... but so thankful for the events of last December 22 that made us Six!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Here's something funny...

...when a person several inches shy of being only three feet tall holds something over her head and says, "Try and get it!"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Up, Up, and Away!

Seth had a main part in our church Christmas musical this past weekend. In the play, he and his inventor grandfather and older sister took a hot air balloon to different countries around the world to experience their Christmas traditions. They ended up in Bethlehem, where the older sister finally understands the true meaning of Christmas, kneeling at the manger. The part was perfect for Seth, and he had a blast doing it! The whole production was really well done... the hot air balloon on stage that really went up in the air made it so cool! What really added to the play was that we attend a church that has over 40 different nationalities represented, so in each country that the balloon traveled to, there were people who were actually of that race there. They sang and danced... it was amazing. I am so thankful for Seth to have the opportunity to be a part of something like this (THANK YOU, Lana!). I'm also thankful to have gotten to actually see the play this year... last year we were in China for all four of the productions of "Gospel According to Scrooge" that Seth was in at church!

Getting make-up on before the play.
On stage with Gramps and Dana
Up, up, and away!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Childish Point of View

I hidin' from Madelyn, Mom.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just For Fun!

Seth had Madelyn and I pose for this picture last month!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gotcha Day Anniversary Celebration and Thoughts

We had a fun day yesterday, remembering the events of a year ago. I took Seth, Madelyn and Gwen to the children's museum for a few hours mid-day, where they played with water and bubbles, hammered and sawed, cut and glued and colored, and watched balls roll down ramps and through mazes. After her nap I gave Gwen the pretty blue Chinese outfit she's wearing in the pictures below... Scott and I bought them in several sizes last year, along with some traditional Chinese items to give to her on future gotcha days. She loved the outfit and asked to put it on right away! Of course Madelyn wanted to put a Chinese dress on too, so they would match. :-) Later after dinner, we watched some of the gotcha day video together. She recognized herself in it and kept saying, "Daddy hold you, Mommy hold you!" I hadn't seen the video in a while and was amazed at how young she looked... I've felt like she hasn't grown very much since she can still wear clothes from a year ago, but I guess she's been sneaking up on me! We gave her two Chinese ornaments in little red boxes. Madelyn opened one and Gwen opened the other, and then they put them on the tree together.

We continue to be amazed and so very thankful for this girl that God chose for our family. I think some of the best moments of this first year with her for me have been the times when she walks away from me, holding hands with one of her siblings. Caleb, Seth and Madelyn have received her with such open arms. I remember the fears I had while we were at the beginning of the paperwork for Gwen's adoption... I was afraid this unknown child could perhaps wreck what we already had with our three children. I had such reassurance from God that stepping out of our comfort zone was going out to where He was waiting for us... and He truly has been with us, every part of our journey and through this first year. There have been difficult times this past year, some because of the added stress of a fourth child, and some completely unrelated. But in all of our days, He has been the Faithful One.

Opening the ornaments together

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing Gwen to us!

Monday, December 11, 2006


Today is it... the one year anniversary of the day that we met Gwen!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Year Ago Tonight...

December 7, 2005 we were busily adding a few last things to our suitcases, reviewing notes about our three children with my parents, and pinching ourselves to see if the adventure we were about to embark on was real or only a dream. We got a scant four or so hours of sleep that night, and then headed off to the other side of the globe to go get our girl!

I've been feeling really nostalgic about our China trip the last few days. This past Tuesday morning I happened to dress Gwen in the first outfit I ever put on her, after her bath on the day we first met. Later in the morning I realized it and marveled first of all that it still fits, although the sleeves are a tad on the short side, but mostly I marveled that it's been only a year, and that it's already been a whole year, since she's been a part of our family. The whole journey to her is fading now, sadly. I love to look at the pictures from last December and occassionally I read the journal we kept on the trip through this blog, but a lot of the details of our first days with her are getting fuzzy around the edges.

Gwen herself, though, is very much a force of life! Nothing fading or fuzzy around the edges about this girl! I know the people we traveled with a year ago felt a wee bit sorry for Scott and I, that we got this total bundle of energy child that kept us running constantly. We chuckled about it even then. She is certainly still a bundle of energy, now not just in actions but in words too.

I have more thoughts about a year ago and how our lives changed... to be continued!

A Message from the Boys

Boys like to do things their own way... Caleb came into my bedroom last week, laid down on the bed, and held his feet up in the air in front of me! I had him hold the pose so I could get a picture! Of course Seth then followed suit. :-)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Winter is Here!

The kids were so excited that we "finally" got a real snowstorm last Friday. Caleb's school was closed due to the storm, so they all were able to get out and enjoy the white stuff!

Got to get ready... the other kids are already outside!
That Mom is always taking pictures... you all can stand there, but I need to check this wierd weather out!
I'm happy to help with the shoveling...
...since Caleb is just sitting around.
I wonder how this stuff tastes?
Not bad!
Heading up the hill for my first sled ride! (She loved it, by the way! Laughed all the way down and then laughed some more when she fell off into the snow face first at the end!)
Hey, that was fun! Let's go again!
Maybe it's time to go in now... I feel like I'm turning into a snowman!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Girl

Scott took this of Madelyn and I last weekend when we were all out on a walk together. Isn't she lovely?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Guys Stick Tricks

Seth did a song and dance routine on the lawn with his cane on Thanksgiving Day!
I think Uncle Shann managed to balance this stick on his chin for about half a second... just long enough for me to get his picture!
This is really amazing, what Caleb and Seth could do with the cane. They held it out in front of them and could jump back and forth over it!
Scott did something cool with the camera to get all these shots of Caleb jumping back and forth over the cane onto a single image.
You can't tell in the picture, but Seth is jumping really high here! Bravo, boys! Great stick tricks!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Taking Care of Babies

Gwen enjoyed her role as Older Cousin to the two babies in the family, when we were all together for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Here she is checking to see if EmmaClare's nose beeps when pressed.
And where is she hiding her feet?
Stay right here, Alyssa!
Look where I'm looking, and we'll both be okay.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Whining... or not

We've had a little whining problem with Gwen recently. I am trying to remember how to handle this, but my "dealing with a two and a half year old muscles" have gotten weak with disuse in the years since my older three were toddlers. Now I am needing to exercise them again to recall the forgotten methods as they need to be called into service.

This afternoon Gwen was very definitely whining. You know the tone of voice. I said, "What are you doing?" in kind of a joking way, hoping to snap her out of it. She replied, with an impish grin on her face, "Whining... just kidding, whining!"

Oh my word. My toddler told me she was just kidding about whining. I think I need a real workout on those "dealing with a two and a half year old muscles"! Any suggestions on ending whining once and for all?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Striking Similarity

This illustration is in a book that I read to Gwen frequently. For a long time, she has said that it was "Seth and Gwen." I didn't even realize at first what she was talking about, but I finally figured out that she thought it was actually a picture of the two of them.

So this morning I decided to try a little comparison experiment... I think the results reveal a striking similarity, don't you?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tongue Twister

Tonight Madelyn and I were playing an Angelina Ballerina board game. Gwen joined in, after a fashion. Her presence interrupted our game considerably, but we loved her attempt at saying the dancing mouse's name... "Annie-ween-ja". So cute!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sliding Down a Slippery Slope

Look what my brothers did to my slide! They put it up on our little table and chairs... So now there's kind of a big drop-off at the end, and I go flying down!
At least they put a lot of pillows and blankets at the end, so I have a cozy place to land.
It's still a little scary, though!
I think I finally got the hang of this!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Artist at Work

Gwen's first time painting at the easel... the same one her twelve year old brother got for Christmas when he was two years old!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


This week's photo challenge from Donna is hats! Madelyn and Gwen had great fun posing for hat photos, although Gwen was reluctant to change her hat. She declared many hats too itchy. Madelyn totally hammed it up, and Gwen did her best to do what Madelyn did!