Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Seth in the Woods

A boy in the woods is an adventure waiting to happen!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Playing Beauty Shop

Just a little fun we had the other night!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This Week's Photo Challenge~ Pumpkins!

So the photo challenge that Donna issued last week required just a little too much thought for me to accomplish... it was reinterpretting classic art with a photo. But this week's challenge, pumpkins, is a little easier. I decided to repost the cute photo montage our agency put together for their e-newsletter last fall with the referral pictures from Gwen's referral month, along with a current pumpkin photo.

Don't we have a cute little pumpkin?!

On Becoming Playmates

"Gwenny, you want to get on my back? Say Giddy-up!"

"Gwenny, want to pretend we're froggies?"

"Gwenny, let's pretend the couch is our home."

Madelyn and Gwen are playing together, really playing. I can't say when it began in earnest, but the last few weeks Gwen's speech has exploded to the point where she is just plain talking. Maybe this makes her seem like a more viable playmate to Madelyn, I don't know. I do know that it cracks me up when Gwen crawls around on all fours panting, pretending to be a puppy. Gwen's ablility to pretend makes interaction with Madelyn more fun for both of them. Between the talking and the pretending, I think Madelyn can see real potential here, for her sister to be her friend!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Two different kinds of pictures, although they are posed exactly the same...

First is the very sweet sister picture, a little moment that just happened and I was fortunate enought to catch it on camera.
Second, we have the silly picture, the one with a little too much "Cheese!" from Gwen and not quite enough real smile from Madelyn!
Photographing children can be quite unpredictable... anyone else concur?!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I'll take the road less traveled....

Our girls in the woods... October 2006.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Small Miracles

I mentioned that I had lost my camera a week and a half ago at an apple orchard/ pumpkin farm that we went to with our friends. The camera is back... and I am amazed! Here is the story.

We had such a nice morning with our friends, picking apples and eating apple cider doughnuts from the orchard bakery afterwards. We walked out of the bakery to discover that our friends' new Radio Flyer wagon had been taken, with all their apples in it. We all hunted, but the farm is huge and it was crawling with people, many with children and wagons either of their own or wagons that were available to use while at the farm. We left disappointed, but hopeful that perhaps someone had "borrowed" the wagon and that it would turn up later.

When our family arrived at home, I realized that I didn't have our camera. Since its usually my constant companion, I grieved it's loss immediately, but was hopeful that it could be found. I immediately emailed the orchard with a description of it, and we also called that day. Both that call and the calls we made the next two days left us discouraged... not only was it nearly impossible to get through to a live person, when we did get through they told us how swamped they had been that whole 3 day weekend, and that they hadn't even gotten to sort out the lost and found.

I called again each of the following days that week, only to be transferred from person to person who had definitely not seen the camera. On Thursday I decided to drive out to the orchard (40 minutes each way) and do my own search. It was freezing that day (we had that freak early snow that morning!), and Seth and I nearly froze our noses in the biting wind. We looked for the camera all around in the area where we had parked during our weekend visit, and we hunted for the wagon in all the farm's wagon storage areas with the help of the farm staff. I gave fresh camera descriptions to the staff and looked through the lost and found, but nothing turned up. We drove home with half a dozen more apple cider doughnuts, but neither of the lost items.

When we arrived home, there was a voice mail from the orchard. They had hunted some more after I left, and low and behold, they had the wagon! I was so amazed that it had actually turned up, and couldn't wait to tell our friends their wagon was back.

Would you believe that the next morning, nearly a full week after losing the camera, I got a call from the farm saying that they had found it. I was incredulous! I had just been there the day before... we had looked through all the lost and found... thousands of people had been through since I'd been there with the camera in my possession. When I asked them how they'd gotten it, they said it just "showed up."

Maybe it did. But to me, it was a miracle. God had His eye on my camera the whole time, and He brought it back to me. I'm so thankful!

And now, here are the pictures I took at the orchard!

Our friend Becky with her two little ones and Gwen, enjoying the apples!

Sharing an apple with Daddy.
Our crew!
I found a good one!
Is this beautiful, or what?
Trying to get up...
I did it!
Queen of the world!

Friday, October 13, 2006


My fellow blogger and adoptive parent, Donna, has instituted a picture game among those of us with adoption blogs. Each week we are to post pictures on a specific topic, which she will link through her blog. This week's topic is Anticipation. There's nothing like the anticipation we experienced waiting for Gwen. Enjoy the pictures from last December!

Her bed in the hotel room in Chengdu, waiting to be filled!
Me, in the Civil Affairs Office, waiting for the bus with our daughters on it to arrive!
Gwen, just off the bus, anticipates the moment when she will be in the arms of her new mommy and daddy!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fast Forward Seasons

This morning we had an unseasonable hour of snow! Madelyn had heard yesterday from someone that a "blurry" was expected for today... I think somehow she mixed up blizzard and flurries in her mind! Anyway, this morning we went from cold and sunshine in a blue sky to big flakes falling fast and furious! I was in the car with Gwen when it started. We arrived home to find Seth and Madelyn already in scarves, boots and mittens that they had dug out of the basement, and at a fevered pitch with excitement! After all, it was 75 last Sunday! I got Gwen out of the car to join them in the snow on the driveway.

She was amazed by the white stuff falling from the sky. She clearly did not remember the snow she experienced last winter... I guess there really wasn't much to speak of. She walked out of the garage into the snow that was already sticking on the driveway. She walked cautiously, gingerly, with both arms outstretched. She watched in amazement as the flakes fell onto her arms and hands. She couldn't see this, but her black hair was quickly covered with flakes, like a little halo on her head! I ran to the basement and rummaged around to find mittens for her. When I emerged from the house with them and held them out to show her, she said, "Kitten?" At first I thought she misunderstood the word mitten, then I realized she was remembering the three little kittens book we read! (You know, they lost their mittens?!)

The snow is all gone now, (we're in for a beautiful fall weekend, supposedly) and I have no picture of my girl experiencing snow for the first time in her rememberance. Sadly, I lost my camera at an orchard we went to last weekend. I am still hopeful that it will turn up. But even without the image recorded on camera, I have it in my head. Her little wondering face looking up into the sky...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fall Girls

So neat to experience each new season with Gwen... playing in the first of the leaves to fall was great fun for the girls last week!

Friday, October 06, 2006


...from Madelyn, as she chased Gwen around and around the basement, causing great giggles.

"I just love that laugh!"

This from a girl who 8 months ago felt that having a little sister wasn't all it's cracked up to be.

Thank You, Jesus!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cold Water... One Year Later

"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land."
Proverbs 25:25

I can't believe it's been a year ago today since we got our good news from China. October 3, 2005 was the day that we got the call from Children's Hope saying that they had our referral... the first thing they said to me was, "She's beautiful!"

And certainly she is very beautiful, in so many ways. You've seen the pictures and read my glowing descriptions. She is also a two and half year old that wants her own way, that tries my patience, and that needs to be potty trained. She gets marker on her clean clothes and spills her cereal. She has learned how to stick her tongue out at her siblings and sometimes says, "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom" so many times in a row that I think I may lose my mind.

She's two and a half. These things are all normal and difficult and trying and sometimes funny. She may look like an angel when she's sleeping, but she's a regular little girl.

And that's the thing... she's a little girl, our little girl. She is as much a part of our family as Caleb, Seth and Madelyn are. Yes, I do think about China and her birth mother and the orphanage, but not in the day-to-day moments of parenting that make up our days. She is our child, the little girl that God meant for us, just like He meant our other kids for us.

Sometimes when we're out I feel people noticing us (or staring at us!), noticing that we don't all match. Sometimes I wish they would ask about our family, because I'd love to tell them what an amazing thing God has done for all of us by bringing us together. If they wanted to know, I'd tell them about all the other little girls who don't have families, the ones Scott saw standing in their cribs, or sitting in the cold and sparsely furnished playroom at Gwen's orphanage.

I know I have digressed... all I really want to express today is my thankfulness for this incredible gift of children. However they come to you, by birth or adoption, they are most certainly from God. And I am so grateful for the four He has trusted to our care.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Look What My Daddy Did!

Daddy and his friend started tearing our deck apart on Saturday morning! At first it seemed like they were really having fun knocking off the railing and spindles, but they started to slow down once they got to the floor boards.
Caleb and Madelyn helped them take out nails and move boards... Sethy couldn't help because he was tired from a sleepover the night before.
I was all-time supervisor.
Madelyn pulled out so many nails... she's really good with the hammer!
Daddy and Madelyn were right back at it after church Sunday, figuring out how to disassemble the foundation boards, which were bolted into the house.
Look! He did it! My dad is amazing. Now all that's left is a lot of gravel... we could have a lot of fun in that!
Oh yeah... we have this big pile of boards now too. Daddy needs to figure out what we're going to do with those now!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Madelyn's Teeth Are Dropping Out

See that top front tooth hanging by a thread? The morning after I took this picture, she woke up to find it lying in bed next to her. :-)

By the way, don't you think she has amazing brown eyes?!