Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 Summer Swim Season

It started like this.....

Our pool has a raffle to determine who gets the honor of jumping in first. Since there were only 4 kids interested, they allowed all of them to jump together. Of course, the youngest D kiddos were 1/2 of that four!  It looks like Abbey might have hit the water a little before the other 3.

Both of the kids participated in swim team. They demonstrated the same personality differences regarding swim team that we see in everything....Elijah has no pressure, just wants to talk and enjoy the people. Young, old it doesn't matter, he loves to talk and socialize.

Yep, no, calm and collected, that's my boy!

Then we have the jack rabbit. She doesn't nothing slow. Eats, plays, swims and lives at full speed. "No time to talk, gotta go!" that's my girl's life creed.

Dad even got in the action this summer.

Sporting Abbey's goggles, he participated in the parent's/old timer's relay.

and was awarded a participant's ribbon!

Abbey swam at the city championship meet.

All too soon, the season was over, and we celebrated the accomplishments of all of the kids at an awards banquet.

Elijah is sporting his participant's medal.

Abbey won high point for her age group.

I'm proud of both of my Amberjack swimmers!


Monday, October 3, 2016

Monticello and Skyline Caverns

We had planned to enjoy a little vacation trip as we journeyed home from Pennsylvania. As we were enjoying our last breakfast with Abbey's China sisters' families, we got a phone call that rock us a bit. Quite unexpectantly, John's brother, Chuck, had passed away the night before. He choked on a piece of chicken skin. We continued our trip, but our hearts were hurting for his wife and kids.

The first stop we made was to Skyline Caverns. The sites are amazingly beautiful and to think it's all underground is even more amazing.

This is one stalamite that people were allowed to touch. You can see how smooth is has gotten.

Sunset in the mountains of Virginia

We had a really nice hotel room for the night, and then went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home/museum,  as we made our way home.

We signed up for the kid's tour. They had hands on activities for the kids and explained things so they could understand. It was very informative, not just for the young, but also the old.

Trying to write with quills.

Since we have the beach house, our vacations are usually spent there. It was nice to be able to do something different!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Celebrating 9 years since "Gotcha" and Mei-Mei reunion 2016

We celebrated 9 years since we first met Abbey and she met her forever family. Each year the kids get to choose a sweet treat to celebrate such a sweet day.  (It was sweet for us, but I acknowledge it was probably terrifying for her.)

This year she chose to go to Goodberry's for some frozen custard.

A week or so before, we were able to reminisce about this momentous day with the other folks who experienced the day with us. There is a group of people that we will always have a special bond with. These couples had their lives changed for the better, along with us, that day in hot Chongqing, China. We get together each year to reestablish those bonds between the parents and the girls. This year we went to the Aron's house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We made the 10 hour trip by car.

 stopped for lunch amid the mountains.

It always is such a special time. John and I both "click" with all these parents and Abbey loves seeing her "China Sisters".  They will always share a special bond. They experienced their earliest days together.

l-r front-Gabrielle(hasn't attended the reunion.) Lacy, Hannah, Abbey. Backrow-Esther, Ellie and Kai.

Two of the girls were at a different orphanage, but they were picked up at the same time, so they are part of our yearly get togethers.

This was my baby....

This picture makes me so sad... I just want to pick her up and love on her.

as does this one.  Knowing Abbey as I know her, I bet she is plotting her escape out of that crib

 I love this one...I wonder about the kids that have slept there since.

This is what the outside of the orphanage looked like

For this weekend the girls spent time reconnecting over card games,


Funny pictures...

Swimming and pool activities,

eating out

and just being girls

We lined them up according to age. With the exception of Dorina and Jody, (who were from a different orphanage), they all celebrate birthdays in September.

It was a long, long trip but this makes it all worth it....

That smile...that smile says it all. This is a wonderful thing for Abbey and the other girls.

Elijah doesn't share the same type of extended family. China had changed the way they did things when we got him. But, he has a special friend among the group. Emma is Esther's little sister who was adopted years later. She and Elijah have been special friends for years. This year, as the previous ones, they missed not a beat and hung out in their special little world.

They went off to eat by themselves. It was so cute, Elijah put down a towel for them and had Emma sit on it. They were inseparable the whole weekend.

It was an inspiring, wonderful, fellowship full weekend. Such a special time with a special group of people!