Monday, August 22, 2011

One Year Home

Wow........has it really been a year??  It doesn't seem that long ago that we were all in China, but yet it seems that Lily has always been with us.  Our little girl has changed so much in the year that she's been home.  From a shy, timid little girl who seemed even younger than her years, to a talkative, bright girl with a little bit of attitude! :)  And by "talkative", I mean she talks all the time!  She's our question girl.....always asking questions, most of which don't require an answer.  "why am I sitting in this chair and Tyler is sitting in that chair?", "why did I say please and thank you and Michael didn't?"  

Although she still wakes up a lot at night, we rarely see a night terror and she's much easier to calm.  She is also having less tantrums.  She's a perfectionist and can get upset if she doesn't do something right or if she's corrected, because of her behavior.  Sometimes the 'upset', can escalate into a full blown tantrum, but she's really beginning to learn to control her emotions at a more age appropriate level.  We're so proud of how much she's learning and how far she's come.

As for her health, for those who don't know, she was listed as a special needs child because of kidney stones.  They were discovered when she was 5 months old and we suspect melamine poisoning.  The Chinese milk scandal erupted in 2008 when infant formula in China was found laced with melamine (a substance used in plastics), to cause the milk to appear to have a higher protein content.  The melamine can cause kidney stones as well as kidney damage.  A number of infants in China lost their lives due to acute kidney failure.  We had Lily tested when we brought her home, and although there was a stone in each kidney, the kidneys themselves were not damaged.  She was retested again in June.  After a healthy diet and pleanty of liquids, one stone has completely dissolved, and the other is greatly reduced in size!!  We are so happy, and our hope is that the remaining stone will be gone by this time next year.

Lily is such a joy to our family!  She loves her brothers, and has become quite good at telling them what to do! 

The first 3 pictures were taken a year ago in China

Look below at what a difference a year makes!

We just love our little girl and can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pre-K Begins

It's back to school for the Pre-K duo. least for half the duo.  Michael was sick and wasn't able to go on his first day, but he still grabbed his school bag so he could be in the pictures. :)  Lily was very excited and didn't seem to mind at all going by herself.  They are both in the same class and will be attending Monday-Thursday, half days.

When Lily got home, she couldn't stop talking about her day.  She told me step by step everything they did including bathroom breaks!  She had a great day!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School

The first day of elementary school is here!  Alex is starting 1st grade and Tyler is now in kindergarten!  They were both very excited on the first day and practically threw themselves out of bed.  (I know that early morning excitement will fade quickly :)  Tyler was so excited to be going to the big kid school with Alex.  They both met their new teachers the week before and Tyler took a trial ride on the bus, so they were ready!

Here they are fresh out of bed
Brothers..........Alex sat with his younger brother on the bus and watched out for him to make sure he got to his class ok.

The bus stop gang.
The bus!  The bus!  (Alex always has to be first on)

It was a great first day.  As soon as they got off the bus, Alex tossed me his back pack and ran inside to play.  Tyler, on the other hand, had me sit on the floor and close my eyes as he pulled out each piece of paper he bought home and told me all about his day.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Just like last year, Ruben's awesome boss let us use her tickets for a preseason football game.  What fun!  All the kids seemed more interested in the game this year, and not just the snacks.  (Michael, our sports nut, was the only one who really watched the game last year.)  At one point Lily even nudged me on the arm and said "Mommy, you gotta see this", pointing to the field and a new play! 

Every one's favorite part of the game was during half time.  Four pee wee football teams came out to play on the big field.  They were so much fun to watch.  Lily kept saying, "they're so cute"!

We all had such a good time.  We are very thankful to have such a giving friend so that our kids could experience this special treat.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just Because........

She looks so adorable in her new dress!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Another camping trip.  This one is a little different as we decided to go in the heat of the summer.  We really didn't know what to expect.  We were just hoping not to be miserably hot the whole weekend.  Well, we were happily surprised that it was actually quite pleasant at the camp site.  The sites are very shaded.  We even found ourselves using a light blanket at night!  Of course when we were out and about it was quite hot, but after all, it is summer!

Here the kids are relaxing at the camp site
In the tent goofing around
The fun part about camping in the summer is playing in the water!  There was a small stream right by our tent that the kids playing in every day.  Note to self......make sure to have extra clothes over and about the extra clothes that I brought!

Jordan and his family joined us for the weekend.  Check out my boys holding up their shorts! :)

There's a small pond and beach for swimming at this camp ground.  It was too cold in the spring, but the kids really enjoyed it this time.

Tyler was very proud of himself for sliding down the pole with no help!

We found a fun store in the little town that we had to check out.  Really enjoyed that air conditioning in the middle of the afternoon!

This town had the coolest model train exhibit that I have ever seen.  You don't just walk around the model railroad, you walk through it.  You duck under bridges and walk on paths made to look like water.  Trains go by overhead, and at your feet.  It's a remarkable display.  The best part is that the nominal fee they charge to get in goes entirely to local charities.

Enjoying the campfire on the last night

Loading up for the trip home.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tyler's Birthday

Tyler is six!
What happened to that baby boy who would just snuggle on me because he did not have the muscle strength to support his little head or body? He's now running, jumping, climbing, riding a 2-wheel scooter and even beginning to pedal a bike! He has come such a long way and is such a joy to us.

Ty Ty, we are so proud of you and all you are doing. And although there have been tears along the way, your determination to accomplish all we and your teachers have asked of you has always shone through. You have taught us so much. Because of you, we know the words "special needs" are not something to be afraid of. Because of you, we did not hesitate when we felt Got calling us to the special needs program in China.
Now you're getting ready to start kindergarten and you are so excited! We look forward to see what this year brings your way.
We love you!!
Tyler with his giraffe on his 6th birthday
Compared to Tyler with his giraffe at 5 days old.
We left to go camping on Tyler's actual birthday, so we celebrated the night before. He picked pizza for this birthday dinner (with a little coaching from mom :), and ice cream for dessert.
Brotherly love!Opening presents with a few very interested spectators.Favorite giftWe had his birthday party the week before his birthday at an ice cream shop. They show the children how to make ice cream, and let them help make a batch.Then all the kids make a waffle bowl for ice cream sundaes.
After all that ice cream, we went back to the house for cake
Ummm good!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Lily really loves family. She talks about family and she plays family with her brothers. When they play, she's always the Mommy. I'll hear one of the boys yelling "Mommy", and when I say "what", they say, "no, not you Mommy, the other Mommy"!

Well, the other day Ruben was outside doing some digging, and the kids were watching. He kept digging up worms, so all the kids got plastic water bottles and added a little dirt. Ruben put a worm in each bottle. Lily came back for another one, and when Ruben put the second worm in her bottle, she said "Ahhhhh, now they're a family"!! After that, every times he put a worm in, she said "ahhhhh", in that sweet tone usually reserved for cute things like babies, and apparently.......worms!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Eat Mor Chikin

For those of you that don't have Chick-fil-As, once a year in the summer they run a huge promotion. If you come in with cow ears, you get a free sandwich, and if you come dressed as cows, you get a free meal. At the last minute, as in the night before the promotion, I decided that this would be a fun family outing. So I spent the rest of the night cutting out spots, ears, tails, and ears to make cow costumes! Ruben and I just wore ears, so we had to pay for drinks, but our family of 6 was able to eat out for $3 !!

Check out the cute cows!Mooooo!