Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where have we been? A much needed update #1

Well, for those of you that might have checked our blog from time to time over this past year, thank you

As I sit here thinking back to my last post which was last April, there are so many things that go thru my mind it's hard to sort it all out.  So,  I'll try.  But, it may end up kinda all jumbled and in mulitple posts.

Last May Natalee performed at Tulip Time in the new Kinder Dutch Dance program.  She was a "boy" and they have their own costumes and dance different than the high school/alumni dancers.  She had a lot of fun, and we did too as we watched her and the Calvary group perform.  Her first performance was cold, in fact we were in winter coats, hats, gloves.... everything.... it was brisk!  By the end of her performances a week and half later, we were worried about the girls getting heat stroke and being dehydrated it was so hot.  That's Michigan weather for ya. 



We enjoyed a vacation to Gulf Shores at the end of May.  It was a much needed break and a beautiful get-away!!! 

June brought Megan's 6th birthday!  I know everyone says, "how can she be 6 already"?  We wonder the same thing.  The past couple years have gone so fast.  She has grown and changed so much it's really astonishing.  She chose a Toy Story theme for her birthday party and instead of cake, which isn't her favorite, she wanted root beer floats. 

June was also busy with Natalee's dance recital and the Dad/Daughter dance (which is a family highlight to see Daddy dance).  :)   Nat's dance was beautiful!  She really has a gift and it's so fun to watch her dance.   The dad/daughter dance was to the song "Hello Goodbye" by the Beatles (the whole recital was Beatles songs by various artists, it was neat).  Dad did great and maybe I can upload the video again. ---- I tried but it won't upload.  Maybe later. 


July we went to Nashville for our China reunion with Natalee's adoption group.  We always have such a fun time!  We all just pick up where we left off from the last time and we laugh and reminisce, it really is a special bond we have together.  Life long friends! 

Oh, in June the girls and I participated in our first ever China Heritage Camp sponsored by Families for International Children.  It was awesome!  I volunteered to teach the Kindergarten class, figured if I'm drivin' to GR everyday for a week and have to be there by 8am, I might as well help out.  They needed a teacher - I love to teach - win/win.  It was so much fun and so very well put together.  Not only is there a China camp but also a Latin America camp, Korea camp, Eastern European camp, preschool multi-cultural and teen camps.  I can't wait for this year!  I'll be teaching the 1st grade China camp.  The girls really enjoyed it too and are looking forward to this year again.  They made some great new friends. 

This spring/summer I began watching my two beautiful nieces (home from Ethiopia since Feb) a couple days a week.  It was such a blessing to be able to pour into their early beginnings at home and help them learn.  My girls loved being "little mommies" and helping me with them.  We got to do some fun stuff like going to Dutch Village, playing on the swings and wading pool, reading books and just laughing together.  It really was a neat opportunity. 


Although it's been two years since Megan has been home, this summer we have very much experienced the "post" honeymoon stage.  Do ya know what I mean?  That time when the person realizes "wow" this is for real, no turning back.  This stage has had a very "ugly" side to it and has presented several challenges.  Ya know, I'm going to save the rest of this for another post where I can devote more to it and share more about what we've learned. 

Right before school started (Megan Kdg & Nat 4th) the girls needed haircuts.  Natalee has been growing her hair out for almost two years, maybe even a bit longer, in order to donate it to Locks of Love.  So... finally the time came.  Here's the pics... aren't they just beautiful girls!





Well, for not having updated in the past year... that's a glimpse at the first half of our 2011.  I'll try to post update #2 soon so I can get to the more current events.  Thanks for joining us on our journey. 

Blessings!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy 18th Anniversary

April 3, 1993 – our wedding day!  Now, 18 years later we are still happily married, enjoying time with each other, learning to parent together, having fun doing ministry side-by-side and incredibly blessed! 

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The girls desperately wanted to watch our wedding video, so on Friday night we had a “slumber party” and snuggled together watching the video.  It has been a long time since we’ve watched this and it was a little funny to see the styles and various people from 18 years ago.  During the video the girls kept asking, “when are you going to have the wedding?”  Not knowing exactly what they meant, I explained about the ceremony and such but that didn’t answer their question.  Finally, Nat said, “No, when are you going to KISS?”  Oh, so that’s all that really mattered to them was the kiss.

  Winking smileThen, the girls wanted to take a picture of the “happy couple” on our anniversary so this is the best snapshot they got.  Thanks girls! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

2nd Gotcha Day & More

Well, March is just about over and spring is hopefully right around the corner.  Thankfully it's been sunny the past couple of days but it's still really cold!  March has been a pretty "normal" month - if there is such a thing - with the exception of our 2nd Gotcha Day celebration with Megan.  Two years ago on the 18th we met Miss Megan and her foster family in Guiyang, China (see post here) and we received the second greatest blessing in our lives.  That day seems so long ago and yet just like yesterday.  This past year was a little more challenging in that Megan is grieving in such a different manner now.  We have learned a lot about trauma and parenting children from hard places.  It's not always easy, in fact at times it is very hard!  But, I can't imagine anything else!  This past year has also been filled with great blessings!  We love to see Megan learn and grow.  Megan, we love you to the moon and back!  Happy Forever Family Day!!


For Megan's Gotcha Day celebration, she decided she wanted to play at the famous fun place with the crazy mouse and greasy pizza.  You know that place.  Well, it was fun.  During the day there really aren't many people there so she was able to play lots of games.  As we were eating lunch, she noticed something fall onto the seat.  She picked it up, set it on the table and said, "look it's my tooth!"  Her first tooth fell out!  She was so excited!  She has had two loose teeth on the bottom since February.  Daddy has tried several times to get them out but she just wouldn't let him, she was too afraid.  So today, at the famous CEC, she lost her first tooth!  Way to go Megs!!




Natalee only had a 1/2 day of school so she joined us at CEC for some fun, pizza and games.  But then, she went to Gramma & Grampa's for the night and Megs had a slumber party with Daddy and I.  After she opened her gift (of which she had been bugging me all week to tell her what it was) we had a great night of snuggling, watching tv, snacking and coloring princess pictures. 


Just as it was time for bed, she second tooth was so terribly loose one good deep breath and she would swallow it.  So, as Daddy was helping brush her teeth, he kind of "helped" it out.  Megan was so excited!!! She lost her first two teeth on the same day and it was gotcha day - what happiness!! :)  Of course she was very eager to get to sleep that night so the tooth fairy would visit her, twice!  :)  What a great day making memories with our precious girl! 


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Beautiful Princesses Arrived Home

Our nieces are home and are adorable!  Can't wait to get the 2 Chinese princesses and the 2 Ethiopian princesses together for a photo shoot this spring.  Check out their blog to follow the rest of their journey. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Busy Winter Days

Today we've had a "heat" wave with 38 degrees. Whew - bring on springtime!

We've been keeping busy (as usual) this winter, I'm not sure we'd know what to do if we weren't busy. But, it has to be the proper type of busy- things that will help our children to grow and mature, things that will help others, things that please and honor our Savior - that's a "good busy".

I have gotten much better at not stressing that my house isn't just "so" in order to be with the girls or tackle a more important task. It's not always easy for my "everything in it's place" personality - but hey, I'm getting there. I'm trying to remember that in such a short time they will be out on their own and I'll be wishing I was tripping over small plastic animals with oversized heads. ;)

Nat participated in the 3rd grade spelling bee and took home 3rd place. We're proud of her, she did her best which is all she wanted to do. Megan had a field trip to GR and got to ride the bus which she was so excited about. Last night she realized that she has a loose tooth so she's walking around continuing to wiggle it hoping to make it come out. Recently she hasn't wanted to brush her teeth. So, we told her that the tooth fairy won't accept dirty teeth. She ran into the bathroom and started brushing away. :)

We celebrated the Year of the Rabbit for Chinese New Year with a great dinner with fellow adoptive families and then a big celebration with crafts for the kids and fabulous Chinese entertainment from various groups.

Here's a few pics from our busy winter days. We hope that no matter what you are busy doing, you too are doing a "good busy".









Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Nieces are coming home!!

My BIL & SIL are on their way to Ethi*opia finally to bring their daughters home!  They leave today and should be home next Saturday.  You can follow their blog here.  I can’t post any pictures but let’s just say – they are beautiful little girls.  E is 2 1/2 years old and B is 1 1/2 years old.  It will be fun to have little toddlers around again!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010 Catching Up

The last several months of 2010 were busy, tiring, fun but not without great challenges as well. After Megan’s birthday in June, the summer just went crazy which led to an even busier fall and then some tough events happened and low and behold it’s 2011. Whew! So, in an effort to catch up and try to share our family journey, I thought I’d post some pics and stories of the last several months of 2010. So, here we go…

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Fun Times during the summer: bowling, playing volleyball in the yard, zoo trips, the beach, and so much more! On one zoo trip Nat decided she wanted to do the high ropes course. It was definitely a lesson in letting go for Mom. I was so nervous watching her but she was confident and wanted to go again as soon as she came down. I’m glad she doesn’t have fear of heights like Ip1150652 do.

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Chi*na Reunion with 4 of the 11 families we traveled with back in 2002. Getting together with our adoption family is always a highlight of our summer.

Kristin's 40th bday surprise at Mackinaw

Our 40th Birthdays! We weren’t going to do anything special for our birthdays except surprise the girls with a trip to Disney we had planned for the end of September. However, my sweet husband decided we needed to do something special for my birthday. I woke up to balloons and presents from the girls and Kyle had told me to pack for 4 days and what specifically to bring. Being the “control freak” I am sometimes, I needed to know exactly what the plan was and who was taking care of the girls but Kyle assured me he had everything under control and to relax. Hard to do sometimes but I tried. Well, long story short… he planned a wonderful trip up north to Mack*inaw and the U.P. for a few days. At first I was quite hesitant to go away just the two of us but, once gone, it was quite refreshing and fun! He had everything planned, he’s great at being romantic & fun. Well, on our second night gone, we ended up pulling back into the same hotel we had checked out of earlier that morning. I just laughed & asked why we checked out. He said he had to keep me guessing and if we didn’t check out I’d know we were coming back. Too cute!

So, we pull around to where our room was and I notice a truck that looks similar to my FIL, hmm, I wonder silently but quickly dismiss the thought because why would his truck be here? Meanwhile, Kyle is totally distracted by who knows what and doesn’t hear me chattering about a wedding party bonfire down on the beach…. he’s grabbed our luggage and is heading into our room. I head in, still chattering, put my stuff down, silently notice how disheveled our bed looks (that’s odd), turn around and coming out of the bathroom are my daughters yelling “SURPRISE”!!!

I SCREAM!

Kristin's 40th bday surprise at Mackinaw

Then, my MIL & FIL (it was their truck). I SCREAM and LAUGH!

Then, my Dad, my Mom and my Grandma! I SCREAM, LAUGH, and start to CRY! I’m SHOCKED! I playfully hit Kyle saying something like, “how’d you do this?” Wow! But, the surprise didn’t end there. While I was calming down & chattering a mile a minute about the trip so far, Kyle & the Dad’s went to get pizza. We went over to the lobby area and before walking in Kyle wanted to get a picture of me. This is because my mother didn’t have her camera ready to capture the shocked look on my face – I know – I was a little irritated too – doesn’t she know I’m a scrapbooker?!? Anyway, just as I walk into the lobby area, I see my BIL and SIL too. That did it! I’m now on the floor LAUGHING & CRYING trying NOT to wet my pants. WOW! My husband got me good! My sister & her family were not able to come otherwise all of my immediate family was there. I couldn’t believe it! It was so much fun! Thank you Kyle – you’re the best!!! (His 40th bday would be 6 days later & I’m now thinking, honey, you’re going to be disappointed because I didn’t plan anything like this!)

We enjoyed the rest of the weekend together and took the girls over to Mack*inaw Island. Megan had her first ferry ride & carriage ride too. It was the BEST birthday party ever!!!

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First day of school! Nat started 3rd grade and Megs started preschool at Cal*vary Schools. They’re very excited and looking forward to their new year.

Downtown Disney - hats & dressup

Downtown Disney - hats & dressup

Magic Kingdom castle

Dis*ney was MAGICAL! We had so much fun!! Not only was it the first time for the girls, but Kyle had never been to Mag*ic King*dom either. We took the trip with “Jake” G’ma & G’pa but they weren’t able to do a whole lot because of the high humidity, that was a big bummer! It was a lot of fun. The girls met all the Princesses and most of all the other characters, and their favorites, Mul*an and Mary Pop*pins! We’re looking forward to going back again.

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Natalee’s 8th Gotcha Day! Hard to believe it’s been that long already. It’s gone so fast. We have been so blessed to have you Natalee as our daughter! You are an amazing young lady and we love to watch you grow and mature. You are so patient and kind and have a sincere desire to honor God in all that you do. We love you Nat!

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Trunk or treating fun! We have a Magical Mic*key complete with light up hat and our sweet Alice in Won*derland. They had fun making their costumes from things found around the house (except the hat – which came from Dis*ney).

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Christmas was a busy time but it wasn’t without blessing. This Christmas Megan got more into the meaning of Christmas and understood it better than last year. She was thrilled that she was able to give some special gifts that she picked out with her own money from the kids’ workshop at a local church. She’s still big into San*ta, which we never had with Nat. It’s sweet to see her innocence and pure joy at the thought that San*ta snuck into her house to leave her something special. My girls were blessed beyond measure by all the wonderful gifts given to them. In all honesty, it was a little overwhelming. I have some thoughts on this and will save them for another post another day.

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Natalee’s birthday is 5 days before Christmas and this year we decided to have a little mini-getaway to a local hotel. The girls had a blast as they were treated to breakfast in bed and swimming for two days solid. It was a nice treat for everyone, time to just relax and be together before going back to school and starting a new year.

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God’s beauty in our backyard!

“Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

I also like how The Message says this passage. “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:18-19 The Message

God has been so good to us this year. Yes, we’ve had difficult times in our attachment/bonding process but overall, it’s good. We can be thankful for SO MANY things. We look forward to the new thing that God is going to do in each of our lives and in the life of our family. Stay tuned, thanks for catching up with us and Happy New Year!