Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Mornings

I love Saturday mornings!  It is the one day of the week that we are not rushing off to go school, work, hockey, appointments,etc. and most often, little or no household chores.  We all sleep in, except for Alex, who is usually the first one awake.  The kids quietly go downstairs to watch TV while we sleep.  I usually don't hear them at all. This morning I decided it was high time to capture the essence of this special day...

Alex is usually found reading a book or playing his DS.

Malia, without a doubt, will be cooking something up in her kitchen and caring for her babies.

 Raina loves all the toys in the sun has been turned into her special toy room.

This morning Martin and Morgun were playing mini sticks...I'm not sure who enjoyed it more!

And I got to enjoy a yummy Mocha, frothed to perfection in my Magic Bullet!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Discovering Narnia

Since Christmas break Morgun and Alex had been begging to go see the new Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  A few weeks ago the boys and I finally saw the movie and what an awesome movie it was...although, according to the critics in our house, not as good as the first movie.  Since then Morgun has had his nose stuck in a C.S. Lewis book!  For some reason he thought he was not allowed to read the books (influenced by his brother, who thought Morgun was too little), but as soon as he was given the green light he has been devouring the stories!  I love seeing my kids enjoy reading...especially books such as The Last Battle!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Precious Pictures

I decided to post a few more pictures of Raina with her foster family.  Here she is playing with one of the toys we sent to her.  The little boy is also in foster care and has a mental disability.
 It is so comforting to see Raina was loved by her foster father...precious!

 Can you see the mischievous look in her eye?  Obviously very proud of herself that she managed to get the pen and paper.
 The following photos were taken the day we met Raina.  The purple sweater and the yellow cardigan and pants were made specially for Raina by her foster mom.

All I can say, over and over again is "Thank God for our wonderful blessing!"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Precious Pictures

I finally developed the rolls of film we had sent to Raina's foster parents.  The story they tell is amazing!  It is clear that her hair was shaved and it appears that, at least initially, Raina was dressed in boy clothes.  The explanation may simply be that the only clothes available were boys clothing (she did have an older foster brother) or , as is common in Guiyang, the family chose to dress Raina as a boy for the social status a boy brings.  Whatever the case, she is adorable!

She obviously spent a lot of time crawling on couches, which explains her uncanny perception to know when she is too close to the edge of a bed, stairs, etc.

 I love this photo!  The gentleman holding Raina is her foster dad and I'm assuming the other gentleman is a grandfather.

 This is another favourite!  It shows her playful and fun-loving spirit!

It warms my heart to know Raina was in a loving, caring environment.  And yet it breaks my heart to know that this family is grieving the lose of a very special child.  We will be sending an update to the SWI in hopes that the foster family will receive it and find some comfort in knowing that Raina is adjusting amazingly well and is loved beyond words!

Friday, January 21, 2011

When it Rains it Pours...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

This past week has been extremely difficult.  It began with us inviting family over to discuss some issues.  Issues related to them completely ignoring our girls and anything adoption related.   Apparently, it has nothing to do with racism, but rather with misunderstandings.  Misunderstandings that led to less than honorable behaviour.  To make a long story short, all issues were resolved.  I can hardly wait to see what happens now!
Then our dog disappeared for almost 3 days.  We arrived home one night to see 2 coyotes on our yard and our dog cowering under the deck.  The next afternoon we arrived home to another coyote on the yard and no dog.  We assumed that most likely the coyotes had killed Cheeko, although we did not mention this to our kids.  Our boys were devastated.  They have experienced death too often in the past few years, including their previous dog, Skippy, who was hit by a car and died instantly.  We searched and called for Cheeko, but found nothing, not even tracks as it had snowed.  On day 3 we spotted Cheeko as we were leaving the yard.  As soon as he saw us he retreated...odd behaviour for our dog.  He was very ill and skinny.  We managed to coax him into the garage and by the next day he was very congested.  We took him to the vet who put him on antibiotics and sent him home.  Cheeko is beginning to eat again and is moving around.  We continue to pray that he will be fine.  He encountered a porcupine a few weeks ago and we're not sure if some of the quills broke and possibly are making their way up to his brain.  If this is the case we will have to put him to sleep.
Raina finally had 1 good night after we changed her formula to lactose free.  But the next night was horrible!  She did not want to eat yesterday and had diarrhea.  Last night she awoke, crying every 3/4 hour and preferred to lie on her tummy.  She is eating today, but still not feeling well.  On the bright side though, I did get a decent sleep after Martin took over for me and I went to sleep in the basement.
Malia continues to act out.  She has begun peeing her pants and pretends she doesn't know the simplest thing.  We have finally resorted to making her wear a diaper (she somehow managed to pee through a pull-up), much to her dismay.  I know the adjustment is hard for her, but some days I feel like screaming!  But I don't...I know it would only make matters worse and what Malia really needs is lots of love and reassurance.  I continue to read and research on the best methods to respond to Malia's behaviour.  We are regressing with her once again...going back to the things we did when she first arrived home.  In fact, treating her and the behaviour as though she was recently adopted.
To top it all off...
Morgun has a hockey tournament this weekend and I forgot to buy items for the raffle table and Morgun informed me last night, just before practice, that his helmet strap was broken.  He can not play if his helmet is broken so I thought I would head into town today to get it repaired and pick up items for the raffle.  But, with Raina sick I can not do that.  Thank God for Martin...instead of going straight to work he first got Morgun's helmet fixed and bought a few things for the raffle.   Man I LOVE that man!  He is my soft place to fall!
My stove doesn't work properly and one burner doesn't work.  My bread machine is ruined as well.  Last night as I was mixing a batch of bread the hook twisted to the point that it looks like it is crossing it's arms.  I guess I'm not the only one that feels like crossing my arms and saying "I've had it!"  lol!!
On top of that the pump on my washer is not working properly.  I have to re spin the clothes 2 or 3 times to get them dry enough to throw in the dryer.  I'm hoping it will finish my last load today and then we should be OK until next week when I can go to town to purchase a new machine.
My wonderful Norwex mop is falling apart, making it difficult to mop the floor.  I will need to get it replaced.
And finally, even though it does not involve me, Alex and Morgun have once again not received their Lego magazine.  It is a minor issue to me, but not to them!  And so the drama continues...
Yes, I am whining and complaining...not to make you feel sorry for me though!  But to let you know specifically what you can pray for, and more importantly to share that even though I am exhausted physically and mentally, I am NOT spiritually exhausted!  I feel God's presence every day and I praise him for all of that I can grow and become the woman he wants me to be.  Romans 5:3 says "...we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God had poured our his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us!".

It is this love and hope that allows me to praise God and thank him for all he has done for me...
I thank God...
 that for some weird reason I made and froze or canned many meals, baked lots of muffins,cookies, bread, and buns before Christmas. 
That our boys have adjusted so well and quickly.
That  I have a husband who willingly helps whenever he is around (amazing, because he did not grow up in a home where a man did any household chores at all!)
That it is winter and less demands outdoors and Martin's work is not as busy.
That we have good friends and family that lift us up in prayer.
That our church family supports us.
That, above all else, at the end of the day, Martin and I look at each other and can honestly say we are content and happy...exhausted, but oh so VERY blessed and happy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Malia's 5th Birthday

Malia celebrated her 5th birthday on December 28th.  With all the craziness of jet lag, Christmas, illnesses, etc, we finally got around to making cupcakes for her to take to preschool.  The cupcakes are cute and so easy and fun to make.  The flowers are large marshmallows cut with a wet kitchen scissor and dipped in colored sugar. The center of the flower is a Rocket candy.   Malia was very excited and couldn't wait to share!


This past weekend I took the boys skating at a friends house while Martin stayed home with the girls.  The weather was rather miserable; cold, windy and snowy.  It made for the perfect setting for pictures and the boys didn't seem to notice the cold.  I finally ventured out when it was time for hot chocolate in the shop. 
 I loved the way Morgun had to lift his face shield to drink.  He could have removed his helmet, but it is difficult to make it fit properly while wearing a toque and I was not about to adjust it...too much work!

Morgun crawling to the dugout so as not to dull his skates.

Alex clearing the dugout.

Morgun is playing hockey this year and loves it!

I love this photo of totally depicts who he is.  He likes lots of space and is more fascinated in how things look and work than in actually participating.  Here, as always, he is observing the ice...all the lines, cracks and all that is underneath.
This kid has the most amazing smile!  I think it looks like his cheeks were half frozen when he smiled and they appear to be very wrinkled.  Love it!!!
Beautiful blue eyes!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Month With Raina

One month ago we met our precious daughter, Raina Liuji Marie!  What a blessing!  I will never forget that day and will treasure it in my heart forever! 
Raina continues to bond and develop both emotionally and physically.  She still sleeps in our room, right beside me in her playpen.  Most nights she will awaken 5-10 times.  She settles quickly and 2-3 times a night she needs me to put her soother in her mouth.  She is more than capable of doing this herself...I think it is an insecurity issue.  I am exhausted!  Most often when she cries I am startled awake.  I know this is only a phase and will pass quickly.  Even though Raina cries a lot at night, she does sleep for 12-13 hours and still naps 2-3 hours a day(but usually wakes up once as well).
Raina loves to play with her siblings and has an amazing sense of humor!  I can only imagine the mischief she will get into!  She loves to climb stairs and likes to crawl where ever I go.  Overall, she is happy and has a ready smile.  Most mornings she loves to cuddle and is in no hurry to play, eat or see anyone but Mommy.
I took some photos today, although it was extremely difficult!  Raina is very active!  I really could have used an extra set of hands.  Here are a few of the better photos.

 Trying to to get a picture of her feet and hands was almost impossible, but I did it and I love it!  It may sound strange, but I think there is something incredibly sweet about Raina's club seems so vulnerable and baby-like.  Her hands are huge, not a whole lot smaller than Malia's.  Perhaps she will be a pianist...or a farmer!  lol!

 These next 2 are my favorites!

 And this one is just for fun!!! ;)