Back to School 2016

Uggggggg, it is here again. School. I understand that it is necessary, I just wish that it wasn’t.

The lunches, the homework, the hours of missing my kids. I just really could do without all of these things.

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Hannah actually broke us in starting first grade last week.

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Hannah LOVES going to school, so this was an easy one. She was thrilled that morning and thrilled when I picked her up and she yelled, “Now its time for after school SNACKS again!!!” (as if she didn’t get snacks in the summer time??)

My oldest 3 started today. Z in 6th, D in 4th, and K in 2nd. They were all feeling pretty good this morning. I am counting down the hours until I can pick them up.

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179 days until next summer. It can’t come fast enough for me.

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Summer Wrap Up

How does it go so fast? I love summer SO much, and I try my best to savor the days, but no matter what I do they continue to fly by. Here are some of my favorites moments from this year.

Kai and I went back to Ohio for his post-surgery check. Another couple of days at the Ronald McDonald house and an all-clear. 🙂

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At our house, June is devoted to swim team. There aren’t many activities that have a place for every child in our family, but swim team works for us. We love the time with our friends, and we have a rock star coach that makes everyone excited to go the the pool every day.

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Swimming has become especially important to Z. I told his coach this year that swimming filled a hole for him that I didn’t even realize was there. With her encouragement, he began swimming year round, and through that experience he has gained more confidence all around. He has seen the benefit of hard work, and he has found an activity that he truly loves. It makes my heart want to burst!

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We even got to see this special guy again at a swim meet. 🙂

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Of course our house is a tennis house too, so there was plenty of tennis going on. Miss K particularly loves playing.

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I peaked on my father’s day gift this year, giving my husband and my boys a night at a Weird Al concert. There is nowhere I can go but down from there. They reportedly had an “epic” time. 😉

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We celebrated the 4th with our annual bike parade in the mountains, and fireworks with family.

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Family time is the best part of the summer, and this year was full of fun times with our cousins.

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We also had some fun times with friends, including a trip to the mountains and a rafting day.

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D has been learning to play the guitar.

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We had a fantastic trip to the Florida panhandle with family in July. 🙂2016-08-10_00032016-08-10_0001

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Z and I got to watch the U.S. Olympic swim team practicing. So much fun!

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We closed out our summer with a family day at the lake, trips to the zoo, the Childrens’ Museum, ice cream, and a movie. We like to close it down in style.

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Good-bye Summer 2016. I will be eagerly waiting your return next year. Only 180 school days, right?

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The Story of Two Brothers

I have been waiting to write this post for SO long, and I’m so happy that I can write it today. It might be a long story, but hang with me, its a good one.

We were so lucky to get to spend a couple of days with Kai’s foster family when we first met him in Beijing. It gave us a true sense of his life before he joined our family, and let us get to know the people that were his temporary family. Well, while we were there I fell completely in love with Kai’s foster brother, Wei. While we were there he stayed gently by my side. He held my hand and touched my heart, and I wished deeply that I could just bring him home with me too!

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When we got home I told my social worker about him at our initial check in. She laughed at me, reminding me that I said that Kai would absolutely be my last adoption. I told her that I still thought that he would be, but that I could not forget Wei, and if another family didn’t step forward for him soon then it would have to be me. I told the same thing to my family and friends.

I did not feel prepared to start an adoption right then, so I started doing what I could to advocate for Wei. I saw that his file had been placed with an agency in the U.S., and I talked to several families about him, and forwarded on videos and pictures, raving about what a wonderful child he is. I prayed deeply that his family would come, or that I would be ready to take the leap myself.

Shortly after that, I received this message through Facebook, “I think we are meant to know each other 😉. Our families apparently know many of the same people and we are in the process of adopting a son from Little Flower. A friend shared your blog with me a couple of weeks ago. Then last week we received more photos of our “Jonah”. And guess what?! I recognized your Kai in one of the photos❤️!”

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This message was from a friend of a friend, and after a couple of short messages I put together that she was adopting Wei! Amazingly enough, she lives less than 10 minutes away!!

We quickly got together and bonded instantly over our excitement over finding each other and our attachment to this wonderful boy.

Over the months as she was waiting we got together several times, always bubbling with excitement and anticipation.

A few months ago, Wei came home to his wonderful forever family. Although I was wishing that I could be there to scoop him into my arms when they landed at the airport, I knew that this new family needed their time and space to be together. So I waited with great anticipation until I could see him again.

That day finally came yesterday. These two brothers from China were sitting next to each other again. It was an incredible moment. There are 147 MILLION orphans in the world, and somehow these two were able to end up 10 minutes from each other. They will be able to grow up with a bond that is deeper than friendship. It just continually brings tears to my eyes. This is absolutely one of the most amazing answers to prayer that I have ever experienced.

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His mom shared with me that now that Wei is learning English and can talk to her a bit about his past, he told her that he was very scared when he first came to Little Flower. He had not had much stability in his life, and I’m sure that not all of his experiences were good ones. He told her though that when they opened the door he saw Kai Yi, and he knew that it was going to be okay.

Let that sink in for a minute. And then think about the fact that before Wei had to go through the scariest transition of his entire life, where he had to leave his country, his culture, and all of the people he has ever known, he also had the knowledge that Kai was already there.  I hope it helped his heart again to know that it was going to be okay.

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God is so good. So thankful for the way this story has unfolded, and so excited for future memories shared with these now treasured friends!

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Last week of school!

Here we are at one of my favorite times of the year- The LAST week of school!!!!! 🙂

HOORAY!

In this final week of school I am going to try to get some blog posts out from the last few months that I started and never published for whatever reason.

The first throwback post will go out today.

As for our littlest guy- he is doing great! He still gets tired pretty easily, but we have been able to have a few outings, which has been fantastic. 🙂 This busy family needs a mama that can leave the house!2016-05-23_0005

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Kaitlyn- Talent Show 2016

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Kaitlyn recently decided she wanted to be in her school talent show. The boys have always adamantly declined to participate, but K was thrilled.

As another parent said, “First grade girls spend about 95% of their time together PLANNING what they are going to do, and only about 5% of their time actually doing anything”.  This quickly became apparent with these 4 first graders. Although the school encourages the kids to come up with their own acts, us moms were too concerned that if we didn’t do SOMETHING that we were going to have an onstage disaster.

We asked our sweet 12 year old dancing friend to come help these first graders. She and her friend took on the job, and helped them with choreography.

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It ended up being a fantastically fun night. I loved every minute! Super proud of these first graders. 🙂

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