On Christmas Eve, while mom and dad cleaned up dinner dishes and such, the girls (prompted a bit by Shawna and Elise) found a way to entertain themselves by singing some Christmas songs. Of course, mom had to go get the camera and film such cuteness!! Absolutely couldn't let that pass without a picture or two! They all love music and singing, and this year they learned some new Christmas songs in English and Chinese! I thought you all might enjoy hearing them sing Jingle Bells in both languages. Enjoy!
Christmas has finally come! The kids have been sooo excited and the day finally arrived! It was the first Christmas for several of our girls. It was fun to see their wonder at it all! Beside it just being great fun, we are so pleased to be a part of them learning about Christmas. It was a good time for us to grow together as a family and to show our love for one another. We have all truly been blessed this year!! The Forever Home girls have all really enriched our lives and it has been a good time to reflect on that.
The Forever Home wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous, blessed New Year!!
Part of our Christmas Eve tradition is to eat by candlelight and watch a Christmas movie while enjoying our special foods. When all the foods are prepared, Elise lights the candles. All the girls get excited!! Wow, they say!
Jenna checks out the candles. Look at that flame! I obviously forgot to trim the wicks, which I did shortly after this.
Once the candles are lit, we prepare to eat.
Another tradition at our house on Christmas Eve is to let the kids open one gift. ALL DAY the girls have been looking forward to this event!! Jenna received a Micky and Minnie Mouse fishing pole from Shawna and Elise. She was thrilled!
Then...... the handle broke off! This, Jenna thought hilarious as you can see in this picture! It continued to amuse her as each time we put it back on, it would come off again only to have her laugh all over again! Perhaps it was more fun broken than not, huh?! I say, hey...at least she didn't cry when her toy was broken!
Shawna and Elise found these musical Christmas cards in the village, which they gave as gifts to all the girls. It was a huge hit with all of them! It was great entertainment the rest of the night. Not only did they play music, but they also had lights. How cool is that?!! Great job girls!
It's Christmas Eve and we are cooking up a storm of special traditional treats for tonight's dinner. The girls have all wandered in periodically to see what we're doing and helping out. They soooo enjoy these times when they can help out in the kitchen. I think it makes them feel special, feel big! Jenna is one who doesn't particularly like getting her hands dirty. She wandered in about the time I was going to bread some chicken wings for our spicy wings. Although she clearly wanted to help, she had to go wash her hands off 2 or 3 times during the process!! Just couldn't stand to have that stuff stickin' all over her hands!
Tonight, we had some special foods, candlelight, Christmas punch, and a Christmas movie. We also traditionally let the kids open one smaller gift on Christmas Eve. They've been so excited all day anticipating tonight's festivities. They weren't disappointed and we all had a great evening. Now, we're just looking forward to Christmas morning! And opening the rest of the gifts!
Knowing just how much she loves to sing, Serena was asked to sing at New Day Foster Home's Christmas party. All week, however, she's said she wasn't going to do it. I guess she was nervous or wasn't confident in knowing the words to a Christmas song. Shawna's helped her practice all week. I wasn't sure if, when the time actually came, whether or not she'd follow through with it. To our delight, and many others, she did!! Her big performance and mom couldn't work the camera right! UGH!! It seemed as though suddenly I forgot how to work the camera, which we've had for a long time! I kept turning it off instead of hitting the button to start the video. As a result, I lost the first song, which was actually the Christmas song, Jingle Bells. So sorry, guys! I did, however, capture the 2 songs following it. Enjoy!
Today was the big Christmas party at New Day Foster Home. The girls were so excited they could hardly contain themselves! Okay, some simply couldn't and showed their frustrations at having to wait ALL MORNING for the party to get here!! It couldn't have been more exciting when Santa himself showed up to hand out the gifts. They all eagerly waited for their turns as he handed out gifts to each child!! They were all blessed by people's generosity and were quite thankful for what they received.
We then had a wonderful dinner and some performances by some of the foster home staff, children and families. Serena was asked to sing some songs and I'll share that video with you tomorrow.
On Friday, Hannah had dental surgery. Due to her previous heart condition, she could not have any dental work done until 6 months after her last heart surgery was complete. Having no prior dental work or preventative care, her teeth were in very bad shape. We saw the same thing with Elizabeth. Both girls required much work on their teeth once their heart conditions improved. It was decided that the best plan of action was to put her to sleep and do all the necessary repairs like they did with Elizabeth. Both girls' surgeries were paid for by a foundation in Beijing. We are oh sooo grateful for their generosity!! They help us out with all the Forever Home girls' dental care. They truly are a blessing!
Hannah had 3 root canals, 7 cavities filled, 1 extraction, a good cleaning, and sealants put on several teeth to help prevent further cavities. Whew!! They were able to complete all the work in a 3 hour surgery.
We went early and they did some tests before her surgery. Once that was done, they got her a room and we waited about 2 hours before they took her back for surgery. During her wait, she expressed her opinion about the whole thing several times:) Although we knew it wouldn't be too pleasant, we also knew it was the best thing for her. Her teeth has been hurting off and on for 6 months. We even had to have one pulled out several months ago as it was just too bad to save and giving her much pain. Then there were abscesses we had to deal with. Needless to say, she REALLY needed to get her teeth fixed!!
Normally Hannah is a real ham for the camera. This day, when I went to take a picture, she said "I'm mad!" then struck a mad pose for me! Although she said she was mad and tried her best to complete the look, she couldn't help but smile while trying her best to frown!! Hannah, you're too funny!!
Then as they say, "Okay, Hannah, it's time to take you back to surgery," she says "Carry me!" I guess she thought if she had to do it, she may as well be carried! Did they carry her? No! They looked rather shocked at her and stated she was too big and she could walk! Nice try though Hannah! 3 hours later she returned on a bed not too happy with me:( After a 2 hour recovery, we were on our way home.
We had left for the hospital at 8am and returned that evening by about 7:30pm. Whew, what a day, huh Hannah?!! Hannah had a new mouth when we returned home!! Hopefully we won't need any more dental work for some time!
A couple of days ago, a few of the older girls were invited to a friends house to help bake Christmas cookies for the upcoming New Day Foster Home Christmas party. They had a blast making lots of cookies!
Since it's always great if we can get the girls involved in cooking projects, we thought we'd make some good old fashioned hand-pulled taffy. Food you can play with! What could be more fun than that?!! After-all, it's not every day that mom lets you play with your food! The girls had a blast helping pull the taffy but soon got tired of pulling.
We'd never made taffy before. It's hard work!! Although it didn't turn out as well as we'd have liked, it certainly was fun. It was a bit soft and didn't hold it's shape well, although it had really great flavor! It was only a handful of ingredients including water, sugar, vinegar and vanilla. We tried to stay away from recipes that had ingredients we have a difficult time getting here such as corn syrup. If you have a good taffy recipe to share, we'd love to have you share it with us! Perhaps it just wasn't a very good recipe. We also wondered if our candy thermometer was accurate too. Whatever the reason for it being too soft, we surely enjoyed it anyway, but would love to make some more sometime with a different recipe!
The girls are really getting in the Christmas spirit! Check out this cute video that we took of them singing one of their favorite Christmas songs, of course, it's nearly the only one they know by heart. Jenna got a bit distracted by all the pretty lights on the tree shortly after beginning their performance! Hannah seemed a bit embarrassed which is waaaaay unusual for her as she is normally a real ham for the camera!! If you listen closely, you can even hear our love birds who got in on the action. They often put their two cents in when it involves music. They pipe right up and chime in anytime they hear music!
It has been a busy few weeks here at the Forever Home! We've had 3 birthdays in the past 2 weeks and Thanksgiving also thrown into that mix. Elise, Shawna and Tiny all had birthdays!! Today was Shawna's 13th birthday. Elise's 13th birthday was November 21st, and Tiny's 4th birthday was on Thanksgiving. We now officially have 2 teenagers in the house. As the oldest girls, they are such a big help with the other girls! I can't tell you how proud we are of them! They are really special girls and anyone that spends time with them often remarks what wonderful girls they are and how much they love and care for their foster sisters. Happy birthday girls!! You are such a blessing to us and so many others!!
We are the Rippee family! We manage and are house parents in a home for older orphaned girls in China. It's called the Forever Home, and it is a project of New Day Foster Home. Like all foreign workers at NDFH, we receive no salary for our work, so if you would like to support our family's living expenses, please click the button below to donate through PayPal. Donations are tax-deductible. To learn more about the Forever Home and ways you can directly support this work, please visit New Day Foster Home's website.
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Elise was adopted at the age of 3 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elise is home- schooled and really loves music, cooking, arts and crafts, and enjoys being the big, older sister to the Forever Home girls.
Shawna was adopted at the age of 1 year old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Shawna is home-schooled and is good at piano, arts and crafts, and thoroughly enjoys playing with the Forever Home girls.
Elizabeth was adopted at the age of 10 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elizabeth is home-schooled and loves the outdoors, computers, bike riding, and crafts.
THE FOREVER HOME GIRLS
Click on the pictures below to find out more about our Forever Home girls.
We provide this information to give our sponsors and supporters a general idea of the challenges our children face. For prospective adoptive parents, the information on the blog is not intended to be a substitute for a complete and up-to-date referral packet from your adoption agency. Please keep in mind that in our blog posts, we always try to focus on a child's strengths, accomplishments and positive developments, not in an attempt to gloss-over their often serious medical conditions, but in an effort to share a glimpse of their precious personalities.