A very special day

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30th is a very special day in our home. It is Yana's birthday (she turned 11 today), my birthday (I turned 38!) and Lily's adoption day! This year, Lily opted to celebrate her adoption day on the 31st, as it was actually the 31st when we got her in China (it was the 30th in the U.S. and we have always said that she was my birthday gift). This is our 3rd year with Yana, and I really wanted to focus on her birthday this year. She is 11 years old and hasn't had that many birthdays celebrated, so we wanted to make it special.

We went to The Butterfly Pavilion first. It was so much fun. None of the kids, except Adam, had been there. And Adam was only two when he had gone, so he didn't really remember it. We had free passes from the summer library program, so it worked out really well.

Then, we went to Cinzettis for lunch. Oh my, that was good! On the way home, we got Yana's friend, Naomi, from her house. Then David and the kids swam (at our neighborhood pool that's just a block from our house), we had dinner and some friends came over for ice cream cake. It sounds like a busy day, but it actually wasn't too crazy. Yana had a good time and I am so glad for her. She is a precious, wonderful girl. She has a servant's heart and truly cares about others. Happy Birthday, beautiful Yana!

Tomorrow we are making Chinese food and playing Chinese games, as well as singing "Happy Adoption Day" quite boisterously! We'll probably swim in the afternoon since this is the last weekend for the pool to be open. Happy Adoption Day, sweet and precious Lily! I am so grateful to have you as a daughter! What a gift you are to us!

Still Waiting

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our LOA is supposed to be in the mail, and we will hopefully receive it by the end of the week. Apparently, we are being grouped together with some other folks from our agency. These families are also adopting special needs children from Grace's orphanage. This is probably why we did not receive our LOA sooner. But, we are really happy that we will be traveling as a group. It will be wonderful to get to know some of the families who are adopting children from the same orphanage. Since Grace is almost 4 years old, I know that it will be meaningful for her to be able to continue relationships with children from her orphanage. We would just really like to get Grace before her 4th birthday. Please pray with us that God would make a way for her to join our family before October 15th.

What happened?!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hey! What happened to that super-clean drawer? The boys got a new dresser and Jadon's organizational skills seem to be going downhill! LOL!

puppy love

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

These two are so alike. They are super affectionate and are completely and totally attached to me (I love it!). They are also both absolutely mischievous and love to get away with things. Aren't I blessed (especially with the dark-haired beauty with the cute little smile)?!

First day of school

Monday, August 18, 2008

We had our first day of school today and it went really well. We are using My Father's World, Exploring Countries and Cultures for our main curriculum this year. Adam has always loved geography so he did fairly well on the "pre-test" where the kids named the continents and countries. I am looking forward to having the other children learn more about the world. After all, we really are an international bunch! Besides my two from China and one from Ukraine, I am also tutoring our friend's daughter, who is from Kazakhstan.

We filled out "passport applications" and the kids were really excited, as they just got their real passports in the mail recently. Of course, Yana, wrote "Russia" as her birthplace. Am I ever going to be able to convince this girl that she is from Ukraine?!

Tomorrow will be fun. We will try to flatten a mandarin orange to show how it is difficult to depict a round earth on a flat map. We'll also start learning the continents (I really have taught the continents to all of my kids in the past, but hmmm....they just don't seem to remember all of them!). My friend, Lisa, will be here tomorrow to do science with all of the kids. We will be constructing various environments.

We started spelling and handwriting today and I'm doing math with the young ones. David will be doing math in the evenings with Yana and Adam, but he is at a Randy Clarke conference tonight (can't wait to hear about it when he gets home!). We didn't get our language arts books that I ordered yet, but that was just as well. Our day was pretty full. Yana had piano lessons and Lily and Adam had violin lessons. And, of course, we had our afternoon "quiet time" (an absolute must for mom, even if the kids don't need it!).

I am enjoying the order and structure of school (of course, this is only the first day!). We had a great summer, but I'm glad that we're back into more of a routine now.

Special Helper

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've got the cutest little baking companion. But, I'll let you in on a secret: The main reason that he likes to help is because he wants to be the one who gets to lick the spoon!

Being Captured

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This past week has been rough in regards to waiting for our LOA. I have been tempted to discouragement a number of times. But, the Lord is good. On Monday, as I was praying, He gave me an overwhelming sense of His Kingship. I was singing a song with the words, "We are captured by your majesty." And truly, I was captured. He is the perfect King whom our hearts truly long for (whether we know it or not). He is perfectly powerful, merciful and just.

I have loved meditating on Psalm 72, which extols the characteristics of the One, True, Righteous King. I am claiming verse 14 which tells us that the blood of the needy is precious to Him. Grace's life is precious to our Lord.

I have also been reminded of King Christian X of Denmark. Have you ever read the children's book The Yellow Star? It is beautiful. Here was an earthly example of a righteous king. He saved many Danish Jews during WWII and the hearts of the people were truly with Him. They loved their king. I am inspired to love our Eternal King even more by reading about King Christian X. A righteous king always cares for the needs of his people. And in return, they give their lives and hearts to him.


Monday, August 11, 2008

We had a weekend conference at our church on the power of spoken blessings. Actually, we didn't talk about that topic until Saturday because we ended up spending the whole time on Friday in prayer and worship (which was a breath of life from the Holy Spirit).

But anyway, Friday morning before the conference started, I was praying at home. I said to the Lord that He just absolutely had to answer my prayers (talk about being a little bossy!!) regarding relationships. Just to fill you in: The Lord has been convicting me in the area of fear of man. I struggle in some relationships because I am far too concerned about what people think of me. As a result of this fear, there has been tension in some relationships. So, I asked the Lord, in His mercy, to answer this prayer RIGHT AWAY.

And He did!! I knew that we would be talking about blessings and I had just finished the book, The Power of Spoken Blessings by Bill Gothard. I thought that the book was great, but I didn't really understand the power that blessing another person could have. At the conference, our pastor emphasized how blessing another person has such a profound affect on relationships. After hearing what he had to say, I raised my hand and explained how the Lord had answered my prayer from Friday morning (I knew this was the answer when our pastor started talking about relationships). Then, our pastor said that was good and that the Lord was going to give me even more freedom now, because everyone there was going to say a prayer of blessing for me (there are only about 50 people, including kiddos, at our church).

Really, this is so powerful. Talk about eradicating fear and replacing it with sweet words of encouragement and power. Read in Numbers 6, and you'll see how the Lord commanded Aaron to bless the children of Israel. And if Aaron wouldn't have spoken blessing over them, then they wouldn't be blessed! Wow! Obviously, it is God who does the blessing. But, He asks us to participate in blessing others. What a privilege and honor.

David and I have been spending the past couple of days taking every opportunity that we can to speak blessings to our children, friends and one another. What a gift we can give to those around us--the blessings of God!

Water Balloon Fun

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Some pictures of a great water balloon fight that David had with the kids a couple of weeks ago. There's always something fun going on when dad's in charge!

lovin' little boys

Friday, August 8, 2008

Jadon is such an affectionate little guy. And he loves his big brother. Every morning, Jadon wakes up about an hour before Adam wakes up. Jadon waits patiently (or not so patiently) until he hears their bedroom door open. Then he shouts out, "Adam!" He then runs over to Adam to give him a hug, or to tackle him, or some other such form of affection. I love that they love each other so much! Boys are so sweet.

No more asthma!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Adam went to see the allergist yesterday. He has had a regular yearly visit with the allergist since he was three years old. He saw a lot more of her when he was younger, as well, since he had very bad asthma. He used to take three different types of medication (including a steroid) just so that he could breathe normally. We have been praying for Adam for the past year and yesterday it was confirmed: HE HAS NO MORE ASTHMA SYMPTOMS!!! He took a breathing test without an inhaler, and with an inhaler and they were EXACTLY THE SAME. We are so grateful to God!!!

Getting Ready for School

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Whew! It's been a busy week! We've had a number of play dates with friends, and I am trying to get everything ready for the new school year (where did the summer go?!!!). We are starting school on August 18th (a bit early for us), so that we can take off 2-3 weeks for our trip to China.

I'm just going to have 3 extra little cuties this year (whom I am tutoring along with my own little cuties). We're using My Father's World curriculum for history, geography, Bible, science, and art. It is a multi-aged curriculum called "Exploring Countries and Cultures." It is the first year of a 5 year cycle. After the geography overview, we will have four years of history, beginning with the creation. The curriculum uses missionary stories as a basis for much of the study of geography. So, it's a great year to be visiting China! We'll really gets some hands-on experience of another culture! We are looking forward to this year.

Of course, we add in math and language arts to round out our curriculum. David will be teaching Yana and Adam math this year, so that will be a big help. We have all of the kids (mine, plus the 3 others) on Monday through Thursday from 8:30-12:00 (on Tuesdays they stay until 2:00). David will be here until about 9:30 to help with some of the one-on-one teaching.

Up above is a picture of my precious kiddos on the first day of school last year. My goodness, how they've grown in a year!

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