Friday, January 27, 2012

Student Of The Week

Shane was so excited when it was his turn to be student of the week. 

The girls got to come from their classrooms to join in on his special morning. 

There is something about being able to stand in front of class with a pointer in his hand. 

He and fun sharing his pictures with his classmates and I always love hearing the questions kindergarteners ask.  

He brought his favorite book to read to the class and asked his dad to read it for him!  He got the book Good Morning China from his preschool teacher when we were in process for Max.  It is a book that Shane loves but loves the person who gave it to him even more.  He will always have a special place in his heart for Miss Jean.

At the end of our time we were given a quiz.  Shane answered some questions for his teacher earlier in the week and then she asked them to us to see how well we knew Shane.  We did pretty well but what he wanted to be when he grew up stumped us for a moment. Then we got it .... being a dad .... his teacher responded with Shane I think that is a pretty special thing to be when you grow up! I would agree and am thankful he has a daddy he adores and is a wonderful example of what being a daddy is all about! 

We all enjoyed our time in Shane's classroom! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shane's Self Portraits

Shane loves school and loves his teachers.  Emma also had Mrs. Wynja and it is so fun to look forward to Shane bringing  home some of the things that meant so much to Emma too. 

One of those very special days in kindergarten is when your name gets picked out of a jar and everyone gets to draw portraits of you. When they are learning their letters and sound they have certain items they learn to draw that go with the letters.  I love seeing these drawings come home.  They learn how to draw people the real way verses stick people and the same thing for various animals and other items.  

Shane was beaming as he laid out all the portraits of himself that his classmates had drawn.

This was his masterpiece of himself.  Oh the things that can make our little ones love tanks full. It is as simple as having their name drawn out of a jar and pictures drawn of themselves by their classmates.  It makes me want to do more little things out of the ordinary to fill those little love tanks when I saw just how special Shane felt today!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Celebration

When we went to China we fell in love with the Chinese culture and the people.  We have always wanted to take part of Max's culture and integrate it into our family. We also have wanted to be able to share his culture with friends and family.  We decided January would be the perfect time to do that with our family.  This year January is when the Chinese people celebrate Chinese New Year.  It is the largest celebrated Chinese holiday.  We thought it would be fun to share the customs and food of Chinese New Year with our family and also celebrate Max's 1 Year Anniversary of being in our family! 

This year is the Year of the Dragon so we hung the dragon from the ceiling. 

We spent a large part of the day preparing food.  We are rookies when it comes to Chinese cooking.  I will say it is a little bit hard to entertain a large group of people with a large amount of Chinese food because everything is cooked fresh and it is hard to make things ahead of time.  I really should have gotten a picture of the stove and all the dishes.  I think we used every pan in our house. 

I wish I would have gotten a picture before we all dug in but it was  little bit of a blur as we finished up the food prep and tried to get it all on the table at the same time.  The girls helped make fruit kabobs that we put into a fun arrangement in the empty pineapple.  We also had dumplings and spring rolls. 

We made a chicken dish to make lettuce wraps. We also made pork to put in buns that resembled one of Eric's favorite dishes in China "the Chinese hamburger" well at least that is what we called it.

Our main dishes were beef and broccoli and orange chicken that we served with rice.

The Chinese don't eat a lot of dessert.  We usually had fruit at the end of our meal for dessert in China.  We decided to have some cupcakes for a treat.

The kids had fun trying to teach their cousins how to use chopsticks. 

Max enjoyed his food!

It was fun watching everyone try out the chopsticks. 

It was fun to have everyone over to celebrate! We had a dinning room full and in this picture Eric's sister and husband and kids are missing.  They decided to venture up in the snow and got to our house after we started and I had snapped the picture.  

Happy Gotcha Day Anniversary Max!

We finished the evening with sharing a book about the Chinese traditions of the Chinese New Year.  The kids handed out some bracelets and notebooks to their cousin.

The kids also got to take a Red Envelope home with a special treat in side!

We put together this video of our journey to Max to share with our family.  

We feel so blessed by all their love and support on our journey.  It was fun to share some of the Chinese culture and traditions with them. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

The local Chinese Community puts on a large Chinese New Celebration in our time.  We had received an invitation to come to the celebration.  We went with our good friends who have also adopted from China.  There were numerous other adoptive families as well.

It was a family style pot luck and were advised to take pizza or pasta salad rather than Chinese food.  The Chinese woman who emailed my friend advised us to let them take care of making the Chinese food.  I thought that was pretty cute! We all enjoyed the various Chinese and American food! 

These two are quite the pair and thought they would get serious when I took their picture! 

Shane enjoying a brownie.

Miss Samantha enjoying her night out!

The girls had fun putting on their Chinese silks.

Max hanging out with his buddy Jarrod!

Max went through his fair share of oranges!

Then it was time for the entertainment. The Dancing Dragon was a huge hit with the kids.

Some of the kids from the Chinese school sang some songs and recited some poems.

There was sword fighting ....

and Tai Chi.

It local Chinese community was so welcoming.  It was fun to be able to experience this with our family. I know it is something we will look forward to in the years to come.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Gotcha Day Max

It is hard to believe that one year ago today we stood anxiously by our hotel elevator jumping at every beep as we waited to see and hold Max for the first time.

(You will want to pause the music on the side bar when you play the videos)

As I watch this video it seems so surreal that we stood and watched our little boy walk off the elevator with a director from the orphanage.  I remember feeling overwhelmed how precious he was.  It all happened so fast.  After a few questions were answered the director left and there we stood with our little boy, he was forever ours. 

It was so overwhelming for both of us as we held him for the first time. We both fell in love with him instantly.  I still can hear Eric's voice saying, "Oh my goodness, he is perfect!" Yes, he was perfect but little did we know just how perfectly he would fit into our family.

We have watched a little boy with sad, hollow eyes transform right before our very eyes.  

The sparkle in his eye, the dimple on his cheek and his love for life continue to grow.

We have experience so many first with Max this year.  There have been special days, holidays, milestones, but there have also been hugs, playing in leaves, swinging at the park and touching the grass.  A whole new life and world was at Max's fingertips this past year.  We have stood with anticipation as we watched Max experience the world and life with a family for the first time.  He soaks every ounce out of life and embraced it with every piece of him.  

He is not just a happy little boy, he is a boy that is FULL of joy!

There are so many times Eric and I have sat and watched our son and stood in awe.  How in the world can a little boy that never set foot out of an orphanage, laid on a red mat in a red room with out any toys day after day for 17 months, just had his basic needs met, did not get a lot of love or attention ... come out of that environment with a love for life and a joy that is infectious.  Others are draw to him because of the joy he exudes.  I often get asked if he ever stops smiling.  No, he rarely stops.  I know God held our little boy, guarded his mind and protected his spirit until he was in our arms.

Max has moved right into our family with ease.  His sisters and brother love him to pieces.  There is no doubt God's hand placed this little boy to fit perfectly into our family.

So today we celebrated Max's Gotcha Day.  A day we will never forget.  A day that changed his and our life.  We broke out the chopsticks and enjoyed a meal around our table together.

We finished the night at one of Max's favorite places ... Cherry Berry.  He ran in yelling "ICE CREAM" and also ran up to everyone in Cherry Berry yelling"HI!"  We can't help but smile at how much life is in this little boy.

This video is a glimpse into Max's first year home! It pretty much sums up how perfectly he fits into our family and the joy he brings! 
Happy Gotcha Day Max! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life Is Always Better With Bubbles

I am pretty sure these pictures speak for themselves! 

Life is ALWAYS better with BUBBLES! 

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