Monday, November 30, 2009

What we have been working on...

I know I have talked about how smart my Lizzie is. She knows her colors and can sing her ABC's and she is just 3 and just began learning English a little over a year ago!! WOW! It is incredible to me that this three year old who had hardly been spoken to for 2 years and could say only mamamama when we met her a year and a half ago, can now name all her colors and say her ABC's! She is amazing (I know I have mentioned that before)!!! The other day, Lizzie came up to me and told me that she wanted to color. As she was coloring, she told me that she wanted to write the first 2 letters in her name, "all by myself" (her fav phrase, along with "me do it"). I didn't pay much attention as this usually means a bunch of squiggly lines, very cute but still just squiggly lines. However, on this day, I looked and to my delight and utter shock, I saw an "L" and an "i"!! OK, back up the bus here!! When did you learn to do this?? The "i" even had a tiny circle above it for the dot!!! Wow! She, however, was not done with me!! Oh no, she (my little 3 year old) began to spell her name for me! It was the sweetest sound, "L-I-Z-Z-I-E, that spells ME!!!" How cute is that???? She was so very proud of herself and I was once again blown away by my littlest daughter's strength and courageousness and perseverance and just plain old smarts!!! Love ya lots my little L-I-Z-Z-I-E!!!

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Of course Em had to keep up with baby sister so I thought up a little song to help her learn how to spell her name, which ain't easy for some adults much less a 3 year old! After a couple of trys, she got it!! I swear, between these 2, hubby and I are wwaayy outgunned!! Hehe!!

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Snapshot

I have decided to participate in Stefanie's Sunday Snapshots over at Ni Hao Y'all. I am hoping that I can keep up every week and might need some encouragement. Hint Hint!! So join in, cause I would love to hear about your kids too!!

Ni Hao Y'all


I thought I would simply go from oldest to youngest because with age come privilege, right??

Twelve years ago this October, our sweet Christian was born. Little did we know how his little soul would change us forever and drastically alter the plans we had for our future. Before Christian, we knew we wanted kids but thought we would be good with 2 maybe 3 (at the most and that was only if we had 2 boys and wanted to try for a girl)! I remember the moment I looked into his beautiful eyes for the first time and thought, WOW this is so cool!!



When can I get pregnant again??? From day one, he captured our hearts and introduced us to the wonderful world of parenting! He threw up constantly (and still does - doesn't bode well for his college years) and cried a lot but from that first gassy smile on that first night in that hospital, he was our sweet baby boy and we were officially hooked!! As he grew, we noticed a definite streak of hardheadedness (a trait that was to be handed down to his siblings) which would later turn into more of a tendency toward perfectionism in certain areas of his life. He can be very hard on himself and DOES NOT like to fail. This, however, does not stop him from trying things and taking reasonable risks. He is a natural born athlete and is good at just about every sport that he has tried. His love right now is soccer and is he ever a soccer player!!



He takes a leadership role with his team and was team captain this year. He really enjoys playing and it shows.

Christian is also the best big brother. He is wonderful with his younger brothers and adores his sisters. He will often help without being asked and I can always count on him to just know when I need an extra hand. His sisters will often seek him out for comfort or help and his brothers have learned so much from just being around him.



He was so excited about Lizzie's adoption and has been her guardian and teacher and protective big brother from the start. There are times that Christian will come to me all excited about Lizzie's latest accomplishment, just beaming with joy for his littlest sister!!



Christian is kind hearted and compassionate with a huge heart.



He is my responsible child and we have often joked that he is going to have his hands full with his bother, Charlie!! Hehe!! He is my rule follower and the family "cop!" He is pretty handsome too (If I do say so myself)!!



He has a good sense of humour but is too reserved to show it too often. When he does, it is so great!!



Oh, and did I mention that he has a ton of hair!!! Why do the boys always get the good hair and long eyelashes???? Hehe!!



So, this is my sweet son, Christian.



Next week, the one and only, Charlie!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

How do you know you've had a good day?

After yesterday's turkey and collards and sweet potatoes and dressing and lots of pie, today was full of Christmas tree shopping and dodge ball and red rover and monkey in the middle!! And people ask me how I stay so skinny!!! LOL!!



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Everybody had their fav, but this one was the one!



Can't forget the wreath!





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Now the answer to the question - how do you know you've had a good day??











Even the dogs were tired!! It was a good day!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pics and Percentiles

Wanted to share the boys' soccer pics and the girls' school pics, because, well, they are just too cute not to share! Just you wait until next season when I will have soccer pics of the girls to share! Hehe!! All 5 kids will be playing in the spring, yikes!! But wait, all 5 kids will be playing Flag Football starting in about a week!! Yeah, we are officially crazy but that's how we like it!!! Hehe!!







My handsome boys!!

Now for the girls' school pics and some exciting news!! Lizzie is now almost 26 pounds and 33 1/2 inches tall!!!!!!! This puts her in the (are you ready for this) 50% for weight on the Southern Chinese girl's growth chart, and (wait for it) the 25% for height!!!!!!!!!!!! Can I get a big, fat HALLELUJAH!!!! For those of you who have been with me for a while, you know the struggle we have had with our little Lizzie and food and how tiny she has been and how worried I have been about her growth. Yay for red rice, taco meat and cheese (the breakfast of champions), chicken nuggets and french fries, pizza, pediasure with carnation instant breakfast and dare I say, even junk food!! A year ago Lizzie was not even ON the Southern Chinese growth chart and this is the chart that plots the growth of the girls from Southern China because the Southern Chinese are typically smaller than the Northern Chinese. She should have been at least on this chart, but she wasn't!! I didn't even bother to plot her on the US charts because, well, that chart would have just laughed at her and I could not have that!!! Now, however, (drum roll please) she is in the 10th% for weight on the US chart and aallmmoosstt in the 5th% for height!!! So there US chart!!! Ha Ha!! Seriously, I am very relieved to see this kind of growth and am forever grateful to all the great advice I have received from the adoption community. Thank you! Now on to the cuteness!!





Can you pick out the difference in these 2 pics (above and below)? Hint, there must have been something on the scanner when hubby scanned one of them in the first time that looks kind of funny in a "boy humour" kind of way!!



And the pies ta resistance:



How cute is that????? We are blessed and very thankful this Thanksgiving!! Hope you all have a great one!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Really Easy and Really Good Recipe!!!

Having 5 kids, I LOVE really easy and really good recipes!! Here is one that I have been making for a while and it is always good and so, so easy! It doesn't have a name but I guess you could call it Cheese Ravioli Lasagna. You start with 2 bags or frozen cheese ravioli (big ravioli).



Just put the ravioli in a colander and rinse with hot water to partially thaw. Next you need any jar of pasta sauce and shredded cheese.



Next, just layer the ravioli, sauce and cheese - twice.



Bake uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes or so and enjoy!!! Sorry I don't have any pics after cooking. We ate it too fast!! YUM!!! Oh and Lizzie's breakfast of champions (previous post) was left over taco meat and cheese!!! YIKES!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just Some Random Friday Fun Stuff!

First of all, lookey what Em is thankful for...



Can I get a great big, AWWWWWW!!!! Thank you!!!

Next, this is what I was told yesterday by little Miss Em...



Momma when I grow up, I am gonna be a baby doctor and a momma and a firefighter and a police officer!!! Wow! she went on to tell me that she is gonna be a mommie and have a baby and live on a boat thiiiiiissssss big!!!! Wait just a minute here, has your father been talking to you again???? And then it was, "Momma, when will I growed up?" Way too soon sweet girl!!!

Next, it was Lizzie's turn.



She told me that she was gonna be a doctor, a doggie and a daddy!!! I think they must have been working on the letter "D" this week in school!!! Hehe!!

Lastly, I have a question for you. Can you guess what Lizzie requested (and ate) for breakfast this morning???



Really???? It was all I could say!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tie Man

Ok, so as I have posted about before, our older two boys are taking Cotillion Classes. These classes meet once a month and are all about manners (very important down here in the South), dancing (very important to 2 boys born to a Daddy with no rhythm - sorry honey) and etiquette (very important to well, their Grandmothers)! So anyway, once a month the boys get all gussied up and head over to Mrs. K. to learn them some manners, yall!! Their Cotillion ensemble (their duds) consists of a jacket, khaki pants and dun, dun, dun, dun.... a tie!! Yep the clothing accessory that can strike fear into the hearts of even the toughest of men!! My boys, however, don't seem to be bothered by it at all, dare I say even a little bit excited about it!!! SHOCK!! Their mother, on the other hand, thought it was great (my little men, sniff, sniff) until the only person in the house who actually knew how to tie a tie, was not in the house or even the state when Cotillion time rolled around again!! OH NO!!!!!! Well, you should have seen Momma and son desperately trying to figure out how to tie a dern tie!!!! Can it be that hard??? Apparently so!! We were twisting and pulling and bending and folding and eventually knotting and I thought I had better stop before I actually caused bodily harm to my son!! I then had (I must say) a brilliant idea!! We could look it up on the Internet! Certainly we could find an illustration about tying a tie, right?? Well, not only did we find an illustration but we found a whole series of videos showing us novice tie tyers (is that a word?) how to tie. We even had several different forms of the tie to choose from. Did you know that there were 4 different ways to tie a tie and that actually have names??? It's true!!!

There is the Four in Hand Knot



and the Pratt Knot



and the Half Windsor Knot



and last but not least is the Windsor Knot (I guess this would be the full Monty Windsor knot - hehe)



So there ya have it! All you wanted to know about tying a tie and then some!! To check out his videos (you know, just in case you are having an extreme tie emergency) go to www.tie-a-tie.net and oh yeah, THANKS TIE MAN!!!!! Hehe!!!!

Fun Fundraiser!!

Calling all shopaholics!!!! Jennifer over at My Adoption Website is hosting an auction style fundraiser and all proceeds benefit:

AN ORPHAN'S WISH!
"Every child deserves to be loved, needs to have hope
and a dream they can believe in."


I am certain she will have some really cute clothes for up for auction (pre-owned and new) and I am certain you can get some really great deals and I am certain that you can totally justify this shopping fun!!! Hehe!! I donated a very cute Gymboree Jumper with a sweet little doggie on the front!! Pre-owned but in great shape!!



The auction starts at noon today!! Sorry for the short notice! Go check it out at

http://www.myadoptionwebsite.com/chinaadoptionstories.htm

Monday, November 16, 2009

Help Needed!

Just found out about this family and their efforts to bring home their son before he ages out in December. God will have to move very quickly on this one. This family was already in process for a beautiful little girl that they have named Christina when they found out about this wonderful young man. They are now trying to bring them both home and could use some help. Please head over to their blog and chip in if you can!http://www.afamilyforchristina.blogspot.com/

Shoe Sale!!!

Now that I have your attention!!! Hehe!! Lookey what I found (or should I say my 6 year old son found) at Target today!!




Not only did he find these great Converse shoes for the girls, but he found them in exactly the right size for both girls AND, are you ready for this??? Drum roll please!! He found them on sale for $4 each!!! He is definitely My child (re: cute shoes) and his father's child (on sale)!!! Hehe!!! Notice big sister's shoes already have a stain on them!!! Sigh!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

List of SN's Sweethearts!!

Bringing Hope to Children has an extensive list of SN's kiddos.

We have added 6 new children to our list of special needs children looking for their homes. They have a variety of special needs and are of various ages. You can take a look at their information and request additional information and photos by going to http://bringinghopetochildren.org and log in. If you are not registered just complete the simple registration under the "Members Area". Let others who may be interested know about these children. Their families are out there somewhere, we just need to get the would out to them.

Dick and Cheryl Graham

Friday, November 13, 2009

Collecting for UNICEF

No, I am not but my very sweet 9 year old wanted to and did despite his Momma's ineptness!! Do you remember those orange boxes at Halloween time when you were a kid? I do. You were supposed to take it with you trick or treating and collect change along the way for UNICEF. Well all 3 boys came home with those familiar orange boxes and you guessed it, not a one was remembered on Halloween night!! In my defense, I have to say that we did not get home from a FULL day of soccer (3 games no less) until 3:30 where I had 3 faces to paint and 4 costumes to assemble (my 12 year old took pity on me and did his himself)to get to our neighborhood party by 4:30! No wonder those little orange boxes didn't make it! I was lucky to remember the kids!! Hehe!! Anyway, the next week my 9 year old got in the car from school all excited because his teacher said that she wasn't going to collect those orange boxes until Friday!! He quickly asked if we could go around the neighborhood and knock on some doors. Now, I have never let my kids do this for ANY fundraiser and not because we don't live in a safe area but because in all honesty, it makes me uncomfortable. Charlie, however, was determined and began to inform me of all the things he could provide for kids around the world that didn't have what he had. The boy knows his Momma and continued in his beautiful 9 year old way saying, "Mom, for $1, I could provide safe drinking water for one child, for $10, I could provide vaccinations for a child and for $20, I could provide food for a child in need!" I am paraphrasing a bit there, but who could resist that???? I sure couldn't, so off we went, through the neighborhood with everyone in tow. Charlie and his little bro hit the first few houses and then the girls had to get in on the action. By the time we were nearing the end all 5 kids plus a friend were knocking on doors. Can you imagine opening your door to find 6 kids standing there looking at you and asking if you could donate some loose change to help kids all over the world who don't have as much as they do?? You would donate right? Even if you had to dig through the sofa cushions, you would donate, right? Well, my wonderful neighbors did and Charlie ended up raising $36 for UNICEF! I was so proud of him and as I watched my beautiful children with their very large hearts knock on door, after door, after door, I was thankful for my ineptness. I don't know that I would have appreciated my son's compassionate soul as much if he had just taken that orange box around at Halloween. Watching him go from door to door, sometimes with one of his little sisters on his hip, allowed me to just soak up the beauty of my child!! Thank you little orange box! See ya next year!!!









Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jinx!!!



I jinxed it!!!! Darn!!! I knew that somehow by posting about Lizzie's recent progress, I would mess it up!! OK, I don't really believe that but DARN!!! I have to start by saying that Lizzie does have an infected foot and I know it hurts but when that child gets stuck in her whiny, melt down over everything mode, it is HARD, foot or not!!!! The slide back into tantrum land began yesterday. She had not slept well the night before and when I took her brace off that morning, I saw that her sock was covered in blood - NOT a good way to wake up!! We went to the doc and got her on some antibiotics. The rest of the day was spent either whining or tantruming or both. I tried my best to keep my patience because well, her sock was covered in blood!!! Good reason, right?? I found it harder as the day went on, however, and finally announced to the kids that my patience was GONE and they had better be careful cause Momma had "had it up to here" (a phrase always accompanied by the hand to the forehead). Unfortunately, my warnings went unheeded and the kids (in particular my sweet Lizzie) continued to misbehave ie: whine and meltdown. At one point right before bed, I told the girls that I was "done" and that I had had it!! At which point Lizzie corrected me and said, "No Momma, you have had it up to here," accompanied, of course, by her sweet little hand to her forehead, making it very difficult to stay mad!!! DARN!! I think what makes this step back even harder is the fact that she had been doing so great and was just LOVING all the positive praise that she was getting as was I!!! After getting a good night's rest, this morning started better but rapidly went downhill simply because hubby poured Lizzie's cereal into her bowl and Lizzie wanted to pour Lizzie's cereal into her bowl. She ended up having a big tantrum and dumping her entire bowl of cereal onto the floor. This is usually how most of her fits begin, something so small can trigger something so big!! I have read enough to know that she is desperate to control her environment and that small things can trigger feelings "from China" but exactly how am I to handle these feelings and as a result, fits? We have done timeouts and we have done "holding timeouts" which seem to work a bit better but leaves me physically and emotionally drained and just today I tried putting her in her crib until she calmed down but that didn't feel quite right. To further complicate matters, I know Lizzie suffers from SID (sensory integration disorder) and that is a contributing factor in her tantrums. Already having one bio child with SID, I know those tantrums can last well past 3, Lord help me!!! I must say, however, that she does not and never has spit or hit or wet her pants on purpose or said that she hated us, but her tantrums just don't seem "normal" and I would love some help!! In my head, I understand her extreme emotions and all the reasons (unconscious and otherwise), but after a while it gets hard and I have mornings like this morning where I just broke down. I, of course, rallied and we ended up having an OK afternoon which included some snuggle time on the sofa and a very healing game of charades with the boys!! At one point in the afternoon, Lizzie was looking at pics from China in her book and I asked her if she missed her ayis. She said no, so like the very informed (yeah right) AP that I am, I told her that it was ok to say that she missed her ayis if she did really miss them. She then said, "No. I love my Momma!" OK!!!!! All the "difficult" just got way outgunned by that one precious statement. Momma loves you too, Lizzie and tomorrow is another day and we will make it through and we will figure it all out, together!!! So, anybody have ANY tantrum advice. Anything would be better than what the nurse at our doc's office told me, "It could just be that she is 3!!!!!" Yeah, it could be but could ya throw me a bone here!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Blog Hop!!

I am participating in a new blog hop, description below:

The Blog Hop theme for this Monday is "ASK A QUESTION". Ask your readers ANY question and invite them to leave a comment with their answer. ANY QUESTION. Examples: "What do you think would make my blog better?"; "What are you ideas for making Christmas less materialistic?"; "Can you give me ideas on how to lower our food budget and still eat healthy?"; "What's your favorite Bible verse and why?". This is a great way to interact with your blog visitors.

So my question relates to my previous post. How do other Mommas of adopted sweeties deal with temper tantrums????

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thank you!!

I just wanted to thank everyone again who was kind enough to comment on my "I Cried For You In China" post. I don't know if some of the things I learned has made a difference but Lizzie has just blossomed in the past week. The first way in which I see a difference is something that I didn't really notice was missing until it happened the other day. Lizzie has started to rest her sweet little head on my shoulder when I take her out of the car after she has fallen asleep or if she is simply just sleepy. There have been several times that she has remained asleep with that precious face pressed into my shoulder as I bring her into the house and rock her and cherish every single second!! Maybe it is the lack of naps but I truly think we have turned another corner. The second amazing thing that we have seen happening is a testament to her incredible strength of will. All of a sudden Lizzie is visibly learning how to control her temper and her fits. Over the summer, we seemed to have hit somewhat of a plateau as far as Lizzie's progress, socially. She was very whiny and clingy and her temper was flaring. Even though her tantrums are sooooooo much better than a year ago, we could still go through VERY rough patches where they were more frequent and difficult to deal with. It could have been that she was feeling my stress as I was dealing with my father's illness and ultimately losing him, worried about my Mother and finances and finally losing our sweet pup, Tippy. Yikes!! I think I deserve a temper tantrum or 2 or maybe just a long morning in bed!!! Hehe!! Anyway, for whatever the reason Lizzie's progress had stalled and I think I was too wrapped up in what was happening to me that I didn't have the energy to deal with it. Just a few days ago, however we were in the midst of the third or forth or fifth tantrum of the day and I decided to try again. I just talked to her about trying to take a deep breath to calm down so she could use her words to tell me what was wrong. I told her that it was ok to be mad and it was ok for her to say that she was mad but it was NOT ok to throw a fit. I have told her this a thousand times before but this time, she stopped, took a deep breath and said, "OK" with the biggest Lizzie grin ever! Since that time, she has been trying sooooo hard and it is so awesome to watch. She can stop herself most times now and even has a more carefree way about her now. I am ashamed to admit it but today when she lost it a bit and started down that road, I got down on the floor and screamed and cried and kicked my feet and pounded my fists as my beautiful daughter looked at her mother like she had lost her mind!! After a few seconds, she began to laugh and I asked her if she could tell what I was upset about. She said "no" in between giggles and I then told her "using my words" exactly why I was upset, hoping that she would see the difference. I don't know if it worked but I do know she was laughing to hard to continue her fit. I know the boys weere thanking their lucky stars that none of their friends were witness to their Mother's temporary lose of sanity!! Hehe!! She is trying so hard and we are so proud of her! The last thing I have seen in Lizzie recently is her wonderful sense of humour transforming with her growing grasp of the English language and all of it's nuances. We were at a soccer game yesterday and I was trying to explain to the girls about making mistakes and how nobody is perfect. All of a sudden, I heard this little voice say, "I am!!!" Ya know what, you are about as close as it gets sweet girl!!!