All the girls really enjoy the Wii. It was a great family Christmas present last year and we have all really enjoyed it. As you can see, the girls all get pretty excited playing it and it's no wonder they are often sweaty when they're done and need a rest!
They are enjoying a boxing match here. It gets pretty intense at times, but it's all just fun and games! Seems as though it's pretty good exercise too.
On Thanksgiving, we had another birthday at the Forever Home. It was Tiny, our family dog's 4th birthday! All the girls were excited and had been looking forward to celebrating his birthday. They don't even need an excuse to have a celebration, so any ole reason will do just fine! We all love Tiny and felt as a member of the family, we needed to celebrate his birthday too. The girls all went shopping and bought him a gift. They then surprised him by singing happy birthday and presenting their gifts to him. Boy was he excited! That's more treats than he's probably ever seen at one time!! No, he didn't get to eat them all at once,we put them away and are spacing them out as we wouldn't want him to get sick.
The girls made him a special birthday hat. He wasn't real excited about that and we had to do a quick picture to get him in it as he kept shaking it off. We even fixed him his own special plate of food for his birthday. The funny thing is, this is NOT usual treatment for our dog and he really hesitated thinking he would be in trouble! We'd set it on the coffee table so everyone could watch him enjoy his birthday meal. He knows he's never allowed to get on the table, let alone have a plate of his own! He was sure at any moment he would be in trouble! I think he ate with one eye on us and one on his food as he ate it! I guess it was quite a mixed signal huh?!! After he realized it was okay, he then quickly gobbled down all the meat and wouldn't touch the mashed potatoes and gravy or stuffing. Such a picky eater! As you can see he's not at all a pampered dog:)
At one point in the day, we noticed him sitting by the door as if he was expecting something. This is not usual behavior for him. When I mentioned it to Randy, he said "Of course, he's waiting for his birthday ice-cream cake to be delivered! He knows everyone else gets one on their birthday!" Perhaps we should have thought of that? Sorry Tiny, no ice-cream cake for your birthday. And he loves ice-cream too--maybe next year Tiny! We still don't know why he was sitting at the door, perhaps that is the reason? After-all dogs are pretty smart!
Yesterday we celebrated at the Forever Home with a family Thanksgiving feast. Instead of turkey, which is difficult to get here and very expensive if you find it, we had roast chicken and duck. It was quite delicious and went well with all the trimmings. For most of the girls, this Thanksgiving was their first and they got to try new foods. Most of them enjoyed the stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy. Although we'd wanted to have cranberry sauce, we were not able to this year. We tried to purchase some dried cranberry's and make our own cranberry sauce like last year, but they just didn't have the cranberries this year. Oh, well! The pumpkin pie with whipped topping was a hit with all the girls!! It was a good meal with close family--what more could you ask for?!!
Jenna was the first to speak for the duck head! I guess it looked like the coolest part and she wanted it--sorry girls, unfortunately, there's only one (except for the 2 chicken heads)!! Yes, she did eat it and did a fine job too! Everyone knows that's the best part of all, right?! Just ask Jenna, she'll tell you!
The next best part is the feet--don't ya know?! We Westerners just don't know what's good! These parts are a delicacy here as nothing much is wasted! It's kinda like it was back in the states many years ago. Now, we wouldn't dream of eating such parts--that is unless you live in China or other countries.
Today the foster home celebrated it's Thanksgiving by serving all the children a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The girls were all excited as several of them had been studying this week about Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it. Of course, not having class and sleeping in was also a bonus!! They got their faces painted too. It was just all around fun, what's not to like!!
Hannah has a little fun in the ball pit while waiting for lunch to begin.
Serena has a pilgrim hat AND face paint?!!
Elizabeth thought the table decorations were cool!
On Friday and Saturday, Randy and I had a conference to attend. Wanting to keep things on as much of a regular schedule as possible for the girls, their normal teachers were here on Friday and one of them on Saturday. We then had a nanny to also help her out with the girls. I wish I could say all went smoothly, but it didn't and that's another story! Anyway, it was really good for Randy and I to get out for a change. Wanting to give the girls as much stability as possible, it was basically the first time we'd done that, for more than an hour or two that is, since beginning the Forever Home. It was good to just have some time together alone and we plan to continue to incorporate more of that into our schedules on an ongoing basis, at least a few hours here and there, especially now that the girls have all been around for awhile now.
Anyway, Shawna came up with a fun craft project for all the girls to do. They made these cute fish and all the girls had fun doing them. Totally her idea and plan! I found out about after I returned home and figured it was one of their teachers who planned and did it. They then took pictures with my camera knowing mom would want to capture these special moments in a picture. I can't tell you what wonderful helpers Shawna and Elise are with the Forever Home girls! They really love them and help often in many ways. Yes, we all surely know, it is a chore sometimes, but anyone that grew up with several brothers and sisters, (including ourselves) can tell you that life would be boring without them and they wouldn't have it any other way!! Although not all times are easy around our house, nonetheless, we are oh soooo blessed and thankful for one another and what joy each member of the family brings to our lives.
Tomorrow the Forever Home girls will celebrate Thanksgiving at New Day Foster Home. We're making the stuffing and gravy, others are bringing different things. Then on Friday, the Forever Home will have it's family Thanksgiving dinner together. It will be the first time for several of them. Okay, I already know what we'll hear come out of Serena's mouth. She often comes into the kitchen to see what we're cooking and if there's no rice, she says "What, no rice?" I know all Chinese love their rice, we do too. Although we're foreigners, we do eat Chinese more times than not, but there are times when we get hungry for Western food too. Serena loves her rice!! It's not normal though, I have to tell you she not only likes rice, SHE LOVES IT!!! Often times I have to tell her she MUST eat other things with it or she will JUST eat rice! So, yes, she will disappointed on Friday that rice is not on the menu! BUT...she will be able to experience a typical Western Thanksgiving meal! It's funny, when we have something new that Serena hasn't ever seen before, her first reaction is to simply look over it and pass it by. We then say, no you need to at least try a little bit. Then more often then not, her face will light up and then says "Hao chi mama!" and wants more. It's good for her to experience new things and foods, for all of the girls and us as adults as well. Which reminds me, did you all go out and try something new and/or weird after the purple potato post? Nonetheless, we go through the same routine every time!! Yes, you need to try it and then she's surprised it's really good food! If we'd never made her at least try them, she'd really be missing out as some of her new favorite foods are now Western! Jenna, on the other hand, will have little trouble adjusting to Western food as she seems to enjoy most all Western foods!
Today we are sad to tell you that a cherished member of the Forever Home has passed on. Our beloved hamster has died. After one discovered it, they yelled out "The hamster's dead!" and the rest came running to check it out. They all stood over the cage to find out for themselves and sure enough he was gone. There's little doubt when he's belly up in his cage, especially when you shake it and he doesn't move! Aren't you glad I just showed you a picture of the empty cage rather than one of them all standing over it staring at it? We know that a hamsters lifespan is only a few years and we've already had him a couple of years so he probably died of old age.
We haven't decided whether or not we will get a new one. The older girls, who's hamster it was, were really tired of changing it's bedding ever so often. You know how it is when they get a new pet. They promise to take care of it and readily agree to those terms--when after some time, the newness fades and it becomes more of a chore.
I've thought about getting one for the little girls if they wanted but letting them have the responsibility of feeding, watering, and caring for him. We're still discussing it. No worries though, we still have fish, 2 lovebirds, and a dog so the kids have plenty of pets around!
Yes, sometimes we're known at our house for eating weird things! There's probably not much we haven't tried as we are pretty adventurous in trying anything new. Our philosophy is "We'll try anything once, more if we like it!" Soooo when we came across these strange looking sweet potatoes, we just had to try them out:) After-all, how else would we know if we liked them?! By the way, they were kind of a cross between a regular potato and a sweet potato. It wasn't as sweet as a regular sweet potato. They sure were fun for the kids to try. Eatin' purple food was fun! It turns your tongue and inside of your mouth purple! What could be more fun for a kid?!
I think it's also fun and good for the kids to try new things. Sometimes it's even too weird for them and it may take a little extra convincing that they try it. Sooo many things have been new to Serena especially. She's one who looks at something new and says "I ain't eatin' that!" We always make them at least try it. Then what usually follows is a very surprised "Wow, hao chi (delicious)!!" This is especially true of Western food she's never seen before. As it turns out, she likes most of them--even loves some of them and is quite happy when we have them again! But....if she'd never have tried it, she'd never known that it was to be one of her new favorite foods.
Then there's times that we'll never buy that again! But you never know until you try it!! So go and try something new and weird today! Go on, you just might like it!
Boy, I nearly forgot that you can't turn your camera sideways to take a video:) Luckily I remembered quickly.
Some days are nice, some are cold. It's fall here these days with the leaves falling quickly. Soon all will have fallen and it'll be way too cold outside to play much. We continue to enjoy what warm days we have.
Hannah is getting much too big for this riding toy now and next spring when the weather warms back up, we'll get her a bicycle with training wheels. Can't wait to see her ride with the big girls! But for now, it's nice to have a little one or two around. Hannah's laughter is just contagious! We can't get enough of it!
After only about a month, look at how well Serena can ride her bike now! She's also learned how to use the brakes and stop properly without running into something to stop herself. She is quite please to be able to ride like the other girls! I think it has given her some confidence in the fact that if she sets her mind to something and works hard, she can do anything!
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.