Like any family, all the girls have daily chores around the house. From setting the table, to drink preparations for meals, sweeping around the table after breaks and meals, and other such things. Like most kids, it's a lot of fun when you're younger, but as you grow older, it becomes more of a chore--something not that desirable but necessary. Jenna and Hannah are still in the it's so much fun stage. The rest of the girls, well......let's just say they don't think it's all that much fun. It does, however, teach them responsibility and gives them a sense of being a part of the family as well as feeling good about doing their part in the family.
As you have probably noticed, the Forever Home has a new look! It is all thanks to Mandi, who offered to give us a new, free blog design some months back. She did a wonderful job, don't you think?!! Thank you so much Mandi!!
Over the weekend, Shawna and Elise decided to make some dessert for dinner. I have to tell ya, it's really nice to have girls old enough to do these sort of things! They're enjoying it, we're enjoying it! It's just all around good. Anyway, I couldn't help taking a picture when I saw that they were cooking in high heels! Hey, why not look good while having a good time in the kitchen! All this in a culture who doesn't wear shoes indoors, only slippers. I guess that's why it seems so unusual, at least to us here in China.
The girls were at New Day for a special birthday celebration for the August birthdays. Serena was one of the honored guests as her birthday was in August. I regret to say that I was in a meeting and couldn't attend and therefore didn't have other pictures. I'm sure you can see others soon on New Day's website though. After-wards they were all playing outside when they decided to hold some relay races with the riding toys.
You know sometimes you're just feeling a bit silly. Shawna and Elise got out the fans and enjoyed treating the younger girls like little princesses. They don't seem to mind at all! In fact, they love the attention!
I love this picture of Jenna! These moments are sometimes hard to capture on camera with her. Usually when the camera comes out, she's looking the other direction and ignoring me. Not much on picture taking most of the time.
Elizabeth and Serena are learning to roller blade. Elizabeth is picking it up more quickly as she has better balance. Serena has much more difficulty and is a bit more challenging for her. She's never done anything like bike riding or roller skating and it will just take her a bit more time to get the hang of it, but I'm sure she will!!
Serena gets some help from big sister, Elise.
As if regular roller blading or rip sticking isn't challenging enough, both of which Shawna & Elise have mastered, they decided they wanted to try the free line skates. Now, those are challenging!! They just got them and haven't yet mastered them, but I know it won't be long!!
That's Elise using the wall for balance as she learns to master these things!
Shawna also tries her hand, or feet I guess is more accurate, at these things.
When the days are a bit cooler, we take advantage and play outside more. The girls love the outdoors, but when it's in the upper 90's, mom and dad don't care much for the heat. Besides, Hannah and Elizabeth, with past heart issues, tend to sweat a lot in such heat. We had a few cooler days and the girls enjoyed going out doing bubbles, riding bikes and playing badminton. Serena looks real excited learning this new game of badminton, doesn't she?!
Elizabeth decided to make bubbles on top of some of the playground equipment. Of course, then Jenna also had to! Elise is the one more into sports these days. She really enjoys a good game of badminton!
Shawna also looks pretty into the game to, doesn't she?!
Jenna and Hannah playing badminton, now that was interesting! I think they need more practice and help understanding the game better.
As you can imagine, with 6 girls in the house we loose a few teeth! This morning Hannah had a pretty loose tooth. Since, while in that stage, it is quite annoying and painful, I usually encourage them to go ahead and pull them out and even give them a little help if necessary. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries, but the tooth usually comes out pretty easily. You know, it's the stage where it's so loose it isn't even upright anymore, but they hurt when they eat something. I helped her for a few minutes and then encouraged her to go ahead and pull it. She then stuck her fingers in her mouth and wiggled a few times and pulled out what we (and she) thought was her tooth. We were all praising her, that is until I looked a bit closer! Apparently what she pulled out was not a tooth at all, but a grape seed which she'd been eating just a few minutes before. Apparently while eating the grapes, a seed got stuck there between her loose tooth and was a bit painful. That's when she came and told me and I thought, wow, that tooth is really loose and needs to come out. After we figured out it wasn't her tooth, she then wiggled the real tooth and it promptly came out only a few minutes later. She was quite proud of her accomplishment!! Since we don't do the tooth fairy thing, we just give them some money with each tooth that is lost. Funny thing is, then Jenna decided she needed to pull some of her teeth!! Hey, if there's money involved, she wants in on it!! The only problem with that was the fact that she didn't have any loose ones right now! Sorry Jenna, you're just gonna have to wait until they get loose to pull them out:)
Today a supporter of New Day came to visit and bless the kids. They played some outside games, donated some toys as well as other things, and brought lunch for everyone. It is rare to get such a treat as McDonald's fish sandwiches or Subway sandwiches. The kids all enjoyed themselves, and some of us big kids too!
What a beautiful smile, Serena!
Jenna loves any chance to play outside!
Elizabeth gives Jenna a ride. Woah horsey!!
Elizabeth gives the younger girls a ride on the merry-go-round.
Last weekend, my husband and Elise went to the local lunar market. It's an outdoor market that has just about everything from food to goods. It is held 3 times a week according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Anyway, Shawna, who was here at home, received an excited call from Elise saying they'd found a hammock. Shawna--all excited--told Elise she'd better buy it!! After she got off the phone and told me, I asked her what would we do with it? It's not like we had any place to use a hammock! I was sure there was no place here in the house that we could utilize one.
Well, they did come back with one and the whole house was excited:0 It didn't take them long to find a place to put it up--without even needing a screwdriver or hammer!! No preparation necessary, just tie it up! We have real creative thinkers in this house! As you can see, between the bunk beds was a perfect place.
It is a bit interesting and takes a bit of maneuvering to get in and out, but once in, they had a blast! They can then take it down and put it up whenever they want to use it. They never cease to amaze me!! What do I know?!! Of course, there was a place to put it up!!
This past week, we said good-bye to the girls' teacher. She has been working with the Forever Home girls since January and she will surely be missed. Lois was very faithful and I could always count on her being there when I needed her. Although we say good-bye as a teacher for the Forever Home, we will still be seeing her around New Day as she moved into a new position with the English school as the activity coordinator. Good luck in your new position, Lois!!
We decided to present her with a gift, a t-shirt with a picture of all of the girls on front. The older girls then came up with the idea of making paper hearts to hold up saying "We all love you Lois!!" She was really touched as they gathered around to watch her open their heart-felt gift.
We also had a luncheon in her honor this week. Thanks for blessing us Lois!
This has been a great week here. The weather has cooled down, we have a friend, Susan, here visiting from the states, the girls are all off school, we've gone shopping, played outside more, and we've just been able to spend some great time together as a family. Jenna and Hannah decided it was time for some Wii. Although they aren't all that good at it, it sure is fun for them and they so enjoy doing it! As you can see, it can be an intense game!! Go get 'em Jenna!!
Although Elizabeth is out of school for the summer, we continue some daily reading. Since you all hadn't heard her reading in awhile, I thought I'd give you a peak at just how much her reading has improved since the last video. This is one of her favorite books and she enjoys reading it so much that sometime we have to say, hey, how about a different book today?!! Of course, these are some classics and they never get old and how could we ever get tired of hearing her read?!! However, sometimes you just need to expand your vocabulary!
Sunday was Serena's birthday. The night before, after Serena went to bed, the older girls (Shawna & Elise) put up some nice birthday decorations to surprise her the next morning. Imagine her surprise and delight when she got up that morning to see birthday decorations in her honor!! She was quite pleased:) After a breakfast of noodles in egg drop soup, which delighted ALL the girls and they each stated they wanted that on their birthdays too, Serena got to open all her presents. Each of the girls, as well as mom and dad, got her gifts. She was excited as she opened each one. Since Serena seems to desire and enjoy jewelry, many of her gifts was that. She got a necklace, ring, headband, bracelet, notebook and other various small things. Later, we had an ice-cream cake delivered to New Day where we were having a carry in dinner. She was able to celebrate her birthday cake with many of the New Day foreign staff. Of course, we always need to sing happy birthday in Chinese and English! As you can see in the video, she had a bit of trouble blowing out her candles! It was a great day and I think she was pleased with it being such a special day!
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.