Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Break

Again, I am behind...we have been home from Spring Break now for almost 2 weeks! It was a very different spring break for us this year as we left the "golf town"-all 7 of us- as a family! It was nice, a bit sad for what is past, but a new "new" and it was nice.

Exploring downtown Jacksonville

Miss Smiley

It is sooooo hard to get all 5 to look, smile and hold still!


Enjoying the early evening on the beach

The traditional Dairy Queen run

Sunset out our window!

Do we have tans yet.......?

The little mermaid

The sand castle team

Xin ALWAYS closes his eyes!!!!!!

A last gaze at the surf before we return home.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Beautiful".....and Lulu is 3!!!

When we were waiting for Lulu we heard the song "Beautiful" by Mercy Me and knew it had to be "her song" so we put it on her adoption website. As we celebrated our beautiful girl turning 3 yesterday I couldn't help but hear these words and think of her story...where she came from and how far she has come in just a little over a year! 

Here are the words to that amazing song:

Days will come when you don't have the strengthAnd all you hear is you're not worth anythingWondering if you ever could be lovedAnd if they truly saw your heart they'd see too much
You're beautifulYou're beautifulYou are made for so much more than all of thisYou're beautifulYou're beautifulYou are treasured, You are sacred, You are HisYou're beautiful
Praying that you'd have the heart to fight'Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonightFor all the lies you've held inside so longThey are nothing in the shadow of the cross
You're beautifulYou're beautifulYou are made for so much more than all of thisYou're beautifulYou're beautifulYou are treasured, You are sacred, You are His[ From: ]You're beautiful

Before you ever took a breathLong before the world beganOf all the wonders He possessedThere was one more preciousOf all the earth and skies aboveYou're the one He madly lovesEnough to die
You're beautifulYou're beautifulIn His eyes
You're beautifulYou were meant for so much more than all of thisYou're beautifulYou are treasured, You are sacred, You are HisYou're beautifulYou're beautifulYou're meant for so much more than all of thisYou're beautifulYou're beautifulYou are treasured, You are sacred, You are His
Here is the celebration in pictures!

Look at that smile! It radiates beauty! And joy! And love! And worth!

At 3, Lulu is still very tiny and looks more like an 18 month-2 yr old. She is still very much a baby in some ways and then in others well beyond her 3 yrs! Very precocious! She is a dare devil and tries anything her siblings are doing! She loves anything princess, Barbie, babies, playing house, playing outside, pretending, playing in the bathtub and playing with Jaida and Xin-the 3 are best of buddies! She loves her big brother and sister fiercely. She will run to me with arms up for her "Mama fix" and rest her head on my right shoulder with thumb in mouth. She eats well and is actually a bit chubby now! So cute to see some"fat" on that little body. She is smart and funny and confident. She still struggles a little with strength in her lower body and we work that little left leg hard to build it up! I guess if you have enough kids eventually you get the "issues" you thought "Really, kids do that?" Lulu is that one.....playdough up the nose,weird objects in her mouth, climbing on anything, hiding in the clothes racks from me at stores, writing in and on things that shouldn't be written on,etc! Maybe it is the fact that at number 5 I am not right by her side watching for "those things" as I was for numbers 1 and 2????? She has come such a LONG way and we are just so in love with this daughter/sister of ours! We are blessed by her immeasurably! Happy 3rd Birthday Lulu! We love you so very much!!!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

3 years!

April 14th marked 3 years that Xin has been with us, his forever family! He has come so far in those 3 years! He was just 4 when he walked out of one life and into another with nothing but the clothes on his back! Can you imagine? 3 years seems like so long ago yet he still, even 3 years with us, lived longer in the orphanage. He is a kind little fella with a sharing heart. He does so well in school. He is happy and he loves life. At 7 he still seems young, more like a 4 year old really. But there is great progress! We love you Xin and are so glad God made you our son/brother! Happy Forever Family Day #3 Xin!

We celebrated a day early as the 14th was a travel day home.We were at the beach and had donuts in the morning, beach time in the afternoon and dinner out to cap off the night!

He got a little dinosaur egg as a gift.

He worked hard to excavate the dinosaur inside...he had no idea he was covered in dust from the egg!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Catching, get it together Amy!

So..... I am so far behind I am going to do several random "happenings" into one big post! We have rented out our house this year for the Master's tournament, what most people do in this city this time of year, and so I have been readying for that. OH MY! Pandora's Box! But now I will have a CLEAN, VERY CLEAN house when we return with fresh flowers planted and ready for spring and summer! Here goes.........


Decorating eggs

Celebrating Nana...with just 1 cousin this time :(

My Mom always sets the prettiest tables with lots of natural and interesting elements!

An Easter bonnet on an Easter cutie!


So glad the Wilson's made the trek from Michigan during spring break to visit us! We traveled with this family in 2007 to get Jaida. Nicole and Jaida are Ning Du buddies- they were in the same orphanage. These kids have grown SO MUCH! Such a fun afternoon!!!!!

Look at those cuties!

And the "Bigs", who picked up right where they left off!
 Such sweet relationships have been made on all of our journeys to China, a blessing we never could have anticipated!


Jaida won a ticket to the Green Jackets baseball game by reading the required amount of books. So proud of this little love! She is an amazing reader...and only in Kindergarten! She and Daddy had a special night at the ballpark which included a parade on the field of all the winners, ball park concessions, and time spent with her #1 man! Way to go Jaida!!!!


What you can't really see in this bad photo is the amount of accessories this little spitfire has on...rings on those cute little "nubbins" bracelets or ponytail holders posing as bracelets, necklaces, beads, and a ribbon purposefully placed and draped around her neck, Elton John-like glasses, and Dora earrings! Oh she cracks me up!

Here she is sporting the same Princess dress as above as we must ALWAYS have on a Princess dress these days, high heels-also a necessity, and a Happy Birthday crown. She was dancing like princesses do! Oh the joy of a lager-than-life 2 year old! Never a dull moment!!!!! :)

Ok, so now I think I have caught up! Off to clean some more. For those of you in the south, you know the lovely yellow pollen that befalls upon us this time of year and coats EVERYTHING outside in that golden/green dust....must go tackle that today....but first I will swallow and allergy pill!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Eagles

Ok so I am behind on my posting..... two weeks ago my sweet big girl went to Missouri with the Eagles basketball team, boys and girls. They made the 14 hour drive to the National Homeschool Basketball Tournament in Springfield MO for 6 days of fun. Oh how I wish I could have been there! Two of the girls' moms drove them in a 15 passenger van and became surrogate moms for the 6 days they were gone. Bless their sweet hearts! These girls are such an awesome group of girls and emotions were running hi...and low....over the days. Between winning, losing, saying goodbye to a teammate, and ending an amazing season, snowball fights and sled riding down hills on pizza boxes, yes they had a snow storm, and the camaraderie of the teams..... these brave moms cheered on the happiest of moments and soothed with hugs and pep talks on the low, teary moments for these teenaged vessels FILLED with emotions.

The girls ended the season with  4th place in the highest division, not too shabby for a 1st time appearance at the National tournament. The poor boys did not fair so well....but they had a good time!

Julia played extremely well and earned a spot on the All-American team! I REALLY hated not being there and cheering this first born of mine on. I did receive pictures and videos each game from the precious moms that did go! So proud of Julia! She plays with such heart and emotion, a trait I know will carry her far into life once her sporting days are over.

Beautiful girls inside and out!

Team huddle before game

Praying before a game

Returning home

A tired bunch of girls

  But still a silly bunch of girls!!!!

The kids wanted to welcome her home with signs on the doors

My All-American! I love you Julia and am so proud of you....and SO glad you are back! We all missed her soooo very much!