Monday, April 28, 2014

Andrew's Birthday

Andrew turned 4 on Saturday.
What a tender, gentle, and kind boy he is!
He. is. AMAZING!
On Saturday morning I told Andrew he was 4 years old. He ran to Hope and said, "Me 4! We twins!" (I thought she might be upset to share "4" with him.) Instead, she quickly moved toward him and embraced him--and didn't let go. They stood there hugging and hugging. When she did let him go, she said smiling, "You my buddy!"
Little did she know, we were going to let her share the day with Andrew. Hope's birthday is 6 days after Andrew's, so on Andrew's birthday we planned to celebrate both of them with cake and gifts. Then, for Hope's birthday, we were planning a trip to LEGOLAND for both of them. (They both LOVE Legos and play with them every day, so we thought they could both have a cake and present day and a day for an outing!)
Andrew was sick on his birthday. 
However, he has never complained about being sick.
Never complained.
So, since it was Andrew's birthday, and Derek had heard of a wonderful event happening at the park near our house, he and Pappy took the children to the park while Nanny and I attended our church's women's retreat on Saturday morning.
The children had their faces painted, and then the family stood in line to bungee jump. Derek said Andrew stood in line (in the heat) for over an hour, because he really wanted to try bungee jumping. As you can see from his face, he wasn't too well (though he was pumped with steroids and medication).
"Are you ready, Buddy?"
"I can't jump."
 "I'll do it for you."
And, up he went:
Look at that face! He just got to sit back and relax.

Hope decided it looked too fun not to give it a try:

 And, then Cherish took a crack at it:

After "jumping", they came home for lunch and cake.

 are you ok?"
A quick swipe of the face with a baby wipe,
and he spent the rest of the day very close to his nebulizer.
We are hoping the day he celebrates his birthday at LEGOLAND, he will be well and ready for lots of fun.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Andrew!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hope loves her "Gong Gong"!

"Gong Gong" and Hope grew up together in China. They were both adopted at the same time and got to travel China together with their new families--experiencing the transition time together as well.
Hope talks about "Gong Gong"
Throughout the day.
She and Andrew even play that they are Gong Gong and Bei Bei--because that's mostly what Hope talks about.
So, when Hope gets to Skype with her friend, she is all smiles!

Tonight, Hope kept saying, "Wǒ ài nǐ, Gong, Gong." (Translated: "I love you, Gong Gong.") She holds him so deeply in her heart. There's something very special about their relationship/friendship.

Derek and I are so thankful "Gong Gong's" parents understand the deep friendship these two share, and willingly and eagerly allow their son to continue his friendship with Hope. What a precious family!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Because he gets it:

Hope always wants to look good. All.the.time!

And he did what he could to make her feel prettier. After he finished "curling" Hope's hair, she was squealing with excitement, running around the house showing everyone how pretty her hair looked. What a sweet pair these two are!

I love to watch them play together! They really "get" each other. She loves to play trains, cars, legos, dig in the dirt, collect bugs, chase lizards, and make "poison ivy fruit salad", "road hot dogs", and "amazing grace brownies" out of sand with Andrew. In turn, he colors/paints/draws with her, plays dress up, plays "rubber people", makes play dough creations, and plays "mommy and daddy" with her (a lot!). The two of them get along so beautifully well. What sweet playmates! What a blessing they are to our family!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Caught Being Good!"

In September I found this little poster/chart at a dollar store, and I thought it was a great idea for me to reward the children for their kindness to one another and for their manners. So, I bought it.

It's been hanging on our refrigerator for months now. I have loved looking for the "good" in the children and then watching their excitement when they are rewarded.

Hope is slightly behind in her stickers, but it's simply because she has not been with us as long and the language barrier has kept her from understanding the "game" until recently. However, now she understands the "game", and she gets so excited when she is "caught" being kind and helping out.

What I love the most is that I often forget to "catch" the children being good, and they forget the game now and then as well. It has become part of their nature to look out for each other and to be kind. As an example, last night after dinner, Andrew began cleaning up the table and then went to get the broom. He swept the kitchen floor without being asked! No, this is not his "chore"; he was simply being helpful and thoughtful. You can be sure that I thoroughly enjoyed writing his name on the chart!

Then, I pulled laundry out of the dryer, and Hope and Cherish folded the load of clothes! Hope LOVES(!!!!!) to match socks and fold them. Cherish thought the way Hope folded socks was so cool, that several weeks ago, she asked Hope to teach her how she does it. (Hope learned to fold clothes while in China.) Now Cherish and Hope love matching and folding socks and helping with the laundry. And, I, of course, love the help!

This morning, after staying up very, very late last night with Derek, I found I had overslept. I awoke to all the children dressed and the beds in the process of being made. Cherish was keeping the children quiet and taking care of them so well! You can bet I loved putting her name up on the chart this morning!

For every 5 names that are written up for each child, he/she gets a sticker. After 5 stickers are placed on the chart, he/she gets rewarded. Cherish gets game night with mom and dad after the little ones go to bed--games like Monopoly, Ticket to Ride, Stratego.... Hope and Andrew get a "date" with mom, and we go riding around the town on momma's bike. They each love the one-on-one time with me, and they get to be with me since their bike trailer is hooked up to my bike.

I love that the children now have a habit of looking out for each other and being kind to each other. How's that for a dollar spent at a dollar store?!