Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Elizabeth Turns 11!!!!

This year Elizabeth decided her, Elise and Shawna could make her cake. After learning to bake some this past year, they went right to work.

After the cake was baked and cooled, they were done and mom took over the rest. She wanted an ice-cream cake and I guess they'd done all they wanted to.

It turned out to be a beautiful cake and Elizabeth was quite pleased with it especially knowing she had a hand in making part of it.

Of course, it's traditional here to have the birthday girl cut and serve the birthday cake.

Elizabeth Turns 11 Cont.

Can't forget the gifts! Shawna and Elise gave her a big hoola hoop!

The birthday person always gets to pick their favorite meal. Guess what Elizabeth wanted?!! Chili Cheese Dogs, onion straws and fried mushrooms!! That's right, in the US she came to love them and couldn't get enough of them. Though they are bit hard to do here (only cause we can't get good hot dogs here), we went to a special store in Beijing and purchased her some hot dogs so we could make her favorite meal!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Time For Some Beautiful Nails

What else is a girl to do when she has more time on her hands?! The little girls enjoy having their big sister, Shawna, paint their nails.

Gotta let 'em dry now girls! Shawna doesn't like to do them more than once each, however, she often ends up doing at least one touch up job on one or more of the girls and this time was no exception :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!!

Much like Christmas in the Western culture, it's traditional here to give gifts to the children and the all important hong bao (red envelope with money inside).

Serena is enjoys the gifts she's received and these last few days before her parents arrive this Wednesday. She's getting excited about moving to America and we couldn't be happier for her! It's the day we've all been waiting for! We hope that ALL the Forever Home girls find adoptive families.

Elizabeth loves lanterns--especially those that light up and play music!

Hannah's pretty excited about Chinese New Year too!

Elly.....well...she's always a happy girl!

Holly especially likes the music her lantern plays.

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone Cont.

Much like Christmas, it wouldn't be Chinese New Year without lots of snacks that much include candy, fruit, and various nuts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It'd NEVER be Chinese New Year without fireworks!!

Fireworks Cont.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Year's Eve Activities

It's jiaozi makin' time!!

That's right, it's traditional in China to have jiaozi on Chinese New Year's Eve. Then, many people also have it a second time at midnight that same day!

Serena, being one of our older girls, is much better at making jiaozi than some of the smaller girls, who are just learning. Way to go Serena!

Holly thinks making jiaozi is great!

Elly is always happy to help out with food preparation and such.

Hannah can hardly wait until we get to eat one of her favorite dishes!

New Year's Eve Activities Cont.

Making jiaozi (dumplings) is a family affair! Everyone gets involved. That's the Chinese way. People sit around fellow-shipping, making food, then eating together.

Then....the best part of all--EATING THEM!!!

Right girls?!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Decorating For Chinese New Year!!

Yes, I'm a bit behind in my posts! Been a little busy here these days and is sometimes hard to find the time to do less important things than the basic every day taking care of the girls.

Last week we decorated the house for Chinese New Year! THE BIGGEST and most important holiday in all of China!! The girls are always excited about decorating.

Here, Elizabeth hands one of the traditional Chinese decorations.

Holly gets a bit silly in her decorating and decides to decorate herself :)

Elly likes the big red lanterns that are traditional to hang each year for Chinese New Year!

Holly thinks they're pretty cool too!

Hannah LOVES decorating too! Who needs a reason, right Hannah?!

Decorating For Chinese New Year Cont.

The older girls such as Serena get to use the ladder to hang things up high. Looking good Serena!

More lanterns girls?!!

The whole gang! Where shall we put this girls?!!

Shawna, Elise, and Elizabeth enjoy helping to decorate and helps out sooo much with the younger girls. You guys are awesome!!

Another group picture!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy Holly!

While Holly has only been here at the Forever Home for about 3 weeks, it's evident she's happy and adjusting well. One of her favorite things to do in the evenings and weekends is look at books. Though she can't read yet, she loves books. Don't worry Holly, you'll be reading in no time at all and you'll discover that books are even better when you can actually read them!

I LOVE this picture! Holly's personality is beginning to emerge and she's a real sweety!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hannah's Favorites

Two of Hannah's favorite things--her dolly and our dog, Tiny. She loves to play with both. Here she has both at the same time. What could be better, huh Hannah?!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Look At Me!!

Look--no hands!!

It is exciting to see the progress Elly is making after just one month here! She's on a physical therapy program at New Day 5 days a week. At home, we also do strengthening exercises each night. That is all on top of the 2 flights of stairs she walks up each night.

Elly wants to walk like all the other children and we all know that a willingness to persevere is the first and biggest motivator in obtaining any goal. Perseverance she has--now all we need is to strengthen those leg muscles enough to allow for the physical part of walking to manifest. We eagerly await and help Elly work towards the day she is able to walk on her very own!! Keep up the good work Elly!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Soon Farewell

Count down has begun!

If you haven't heard, Serena's parents now have travel notice and will be arriving here on the 25th with her leaving us on the 29th. We've begun a count down calendar that we mark off each day until the day they arrive. They'll be coming during Chinese New Year!! What an exciting time for them to be in China!! The biggest and most celebrated holiday in China!

As with all the girls that leave, it is a very bittersweet day for us here at the Forever Home. Though we are sooo happy and thankful for her forever family (and something we actively advocate for each of our girls), we will also miss her terribly when she leaves. Each child has a special place in our hearts that can never be filled by another. You see each is unique in their own special way--just as He made us!

Celebrate with us as Serena will soon join her forever family!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Girls!!

Elly and Hannah have really bonded. Can you tell from this picture?!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Enjoying The Holidays!

With a little more time during the holidays, we were able to get the bikes out and have some outside time. Though the girls have outside time at school each day, by the time they come home and have dinner, it's dark outside these days. Usually our outside time is limited to weekends during the cold winter months. It was nice to have a few days to take the girls for some bicycle time.

Serena was sure enjoying it!

Elly thinks these riding toys are great! Since she can't ride a regular bike--yet!-- she can sure ride one of these as you can make them go with by turning the steering wheel back and forth. It's a great alternative for those who have leg muscle challenges.

Elizabeth also enjoys her biking time--something she really misses during the winter months!

Hannah's still on the training wheels, but hope that come spring time, she'll be able to learn to ride without them this year!!