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!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Another year into adulthood, Daniel's 22nd birthday

This year we were again at the beach for Daniel's birthday. He had just started beach lifeguarding and was exhausted, but he took time to come to Holden and enjoy a little birthday celebration.  For his dinner, he requested fried chicken.

The sad looking plate in the lower corner was mine. I was about a month into my diet. Skipping this particular dinner though, didn't bother me; I'm not a big fan of friend chicken.

Now, strawberry shortcake, on the other hand.....

As usual, it was a complete joy to spend time with our big boy! His zest for life fills me with joy. I love hearing about his passions, which he was able to live out while lifeguarding. It's always wonderful when we get a chance to visit with him. The younger sibs absolutely adore their big brother. At this point, he was a bit nervous about his future, not knowing what he would be doing in the fall. We all agreed that he was in God's hands and that was the best place to be! As I'm writing this much later, I can attest that God was working!

Daniel was featured on the cover of "Wrightsville Beach" magazine.

He loved lifeguarding and helping save people! This love goes perfectly with who he is. I'm so very proud of his heart and concern for others!

Even though we celebrated his birthday, he came with a present for me.

He bought me a picture done by a Wilmington artist. This artist photographs the Wrightsville Beach waves up close. You can see Crystal pier in the distance. It's a one of a kind gift and one that I'll always cherish, not only for the significance of a local beach, but the thoughtfulness and love of Daniel choosing it for me! It has a place of honor on the shelf at our beach house. Everytime I look at it,  I'm reminded to thank God for the special young man Daniel is, and the gift that he is to all of us in our family!


Monday, August 15, 2016

My, how he has grown!

It is amazing how this sweet little face

Has so quickly grown into this bundle of energy

Solomon is 10 months old. He can be very sweet, loving to be petted, but he can also be so rambunctious and wild. He weighs around 80 lbs and is very tall.

He does love his family and is afraid of many things...

the pool, the broom, the vacuum, the fence and the mop. (I guess he just prefers that things be kept dirty)

Here he is seeking refuge from the pool

He might detest the pool, but is a definite beach bum!
Abbey is totally obsessed with him. As we traveled out of town this summer. She was distraught the entire time with worry about Solomon. As soon as she wakes every morning, she goes and gets him out of his crate. He loves her too!

He adores most dogs, unless they bark at him. His favorite dog is Daniel's dog, Lou.

"Sun's so hot he has to......

He knows the commands for sit, down, shake, up, get in your bed and get in the house.
We are investigating formal training as Solly-boy is so big and we want to make sure we can control him.

Like his deceased older sister, he lives for tennis balls. Here he is showing his "ups" for the yellow spheres.

He is the apple of his dad's eye! (this was taken about 3 months ago)