Saturday, December 31, 2011

Princesses

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What a day this was for the little girls! We started the day at Bippity Boppity Boutique, where they had the full princess makeover. This place really goes over the top, but it was very sweet and they loved it!

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We are stared at every where we go on a regular basis, but this day... we were REALLY stared at. The girls got a lot of compliments.

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We then headed over to Ariel's Grotto for lunch were we met a few of the princesses.

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"Laughter is timeless, Imagination has no age and Dreams are forever!"-- Walt Disney

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Preschool Christmas Concerts

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The girls had a tots concert at our church Saturday night and did a very good job. My camera did not work when I got there so I am hoping that someone will send me a copy of their video.

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Sunday morning, we headed to the Lutheran Church where they did part of their preschool Christmas concert for the congregation and then Tuesday night was their actual preschool concert.

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No close up photos of Lilah… she wasn't in the mood.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and wonderful 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sweet Silas

"I have seen the Vision and for self I cannot live;
Life is less than worthless till my all I give."-- Oswald J. Smith


This is the very first photo we saw of Xingui.

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How could I not fall in love…

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He is only 18 months old here.

Silas has post-operative meningocele. It is a type of Spina Bifida, but his diagnosis is looking pretty good from the information that we have. He walks and runs and is potty trained.

He is said to be introverted and shy. People love him. He is clever and smart.

He was found in a subway station at ten days old and taken to the hospital. He weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. He had pneumonia a umbilical hernia and a cyst on his back, which was operated on immediately through the Tomorrow Plan. He was in hospital for two months, then transferred back to the orphanage until he was placed with his foster family at eight months old.

He lives in Hunan. I am very excited to visit this Province. It is known as the spicy Province and has some beautiful places to see.

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Every adoption from China can be so different. Depending on the orphanage, the director of that orphanage, the location, etc. We have had a short note sent to us from the director and she says this:

"MS ZHAO YING SAID LI XIN GUI IS IN FOSTER CARE.SHE IS VERY HAPPY TO HEAR FROM HIS FOREVER FAMILY.THEY WILL SEND UPDATE SOON."

We hope to meet the foster family (as we did Lilah's) to tour the orphanage (we have never been able to tour the girls orphanages) and to visit his finding spot (also never got to see the girls as they were too far away). We hope his care is overseen by Half the Sky as they will provide a lot of information and photos from his very first days… although not until he is officially adopted.

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
But those who make their journey home across time & miles,
growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,
are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us
by God's very own hands.
--- Kristi Larson

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Along came a boy...

You have all picked up on my hints…

Lilah drew that family photo back in the Spring, when we were just thinking about doing this again -- trying to ignore the calling and ignore the image of his sweet little face in our minds… But she handed me that picture and it struck me hard.

ALL OF OUR KIDS have asked repeatedly for us to adopt again. Our family has a heart for adoption and a heart for the people of China.

There is a long story behind this adoption. One I can't share publicly until he is home and officially ours, as things here are being done slightly out of the norm. Our Province has strict rules on how things are to be done. But I will share eventually.

Introducing our newest family member and beautiful son…

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Li Xingui
From Changsha, Hunan, China
Born February 3, 2008

Soon to be Silas Xingui Riegel

We are hoping to travel in the Spring to get him. We were matched with him December 13th and are now waiting for our Letter of Acceptance from China (which means they approve of us adopting him). This letter can take anywhere from two weeks to four months to come. Once we have that letter, we will get our travel dates.

Xingui has been in foster care for three years (which terrifies me) and we believe he is involved with Half the Sky Foundation. His orphanage and foster family have now been told that he is being adopted and we are preparing a care package for him in celebration of this!

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We are so excited and feel so blessed to adopt this little boy. I will be sharing more about him and his story soon!

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.-- Psalm 16:11

Monday, December 19, 2011

the Ladybug tree

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When taking photos in the Fall, I came across this strange tree. The leaves were FULL of ladybugs. Lots were alive, but it seemed to be a tree where ladybugs go to die, as there were a lot of dead ladybugs as well.

I have never seen anything like it.

Ladybugs hold a special place in our hearts. Ladybugs represent good luck in the Chinese community and seeing a Ladybug often means that a referral is imminent in the adoption world.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Adoption Christmas Party

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Yesterday, was our Adoption Agencies annual Christmas party.

We have never gone before, but were really glad we did this year. We were able to connect with people we haven't seen in awhile and the kids had a blast. There were jumping tents, crafts, stories, music and lots of food.

Santa also came and surprised all of the children with a gift. When our kids were called up, Lilah ran up to Santa and hugged his leg with the biggest smile on her face!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Mischievous One

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Zoe is a cutie and always makes us laugh… but the girl is wearing me down!

I understand her need for wanting certain things… like picking her own clothes (usually a summer dress with no tights and summer shoes)… or asking for a snack, being told to wait a minute and throwing a tantrum on the floor… just being told to wait and her saying "I wait too long!"… or her trying to do her own hair (which involves many small elastics and bows over top of her ears)… but the big one right now is us saying NO to something and her laughing and doing it again. Her sneaking into any one's Lypsol or lip gloss, because it is very important for her to look and feel pretty and girly.

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It is all pretty typical toddler stuff and she is testing her boundaries. The good thing about Zoe is she accepts discipline well. She goes to her time out spot willingly and after a few minutes is ready to apologize. And she always knows exactly what she did wrong. And she forgives easily.

Zoe will climb up on our laps and cuddle. She will walk by me and kiss my hand or arm. She will blow kisses if she is across the room. She loves to play with my hair.

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Her newest thing, is that she will ask for something (like polishing her nails) and when I say no, she says "But I NEVER tried it before!"

Through all of her mischievous and trying ways… she will suddenly look up at you with a grin and sparkly eyes and we melt all over again.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Loving Preschool

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The girls love Preschool. They love going every single time. They have made great little friends and I have seen such improvements in maturity in both of them. Lilah is seeing that everybody has to obey the rules and follow orders and Zoe is learning to stretch her attention span.

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The teacher told me yesterday how much she loves my girls. How she fell in love with them the first day of school. Because they are adopted. She is also in the process of adoption and is in the waiting stage and it is wearing her down. She often pulls me aside to talk and I am more than willing to encourage her that it will happen and her fears are quite normal.

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The class is preparing for their Christmas concert. Lilah is a sheep and Zoe is the donkey. I have been warned by the teacher that Zoe has to stand in the middle of the stage and it will likely be quite entertaining. Anyone who knows Zoe... knows exactly what that means! I really hope her future teachers will find her just as amuzing!

I am so grateful for this multi-cultural Christian preschool, that has biological families, adoptive families and foster families. I am so grateful for such a wonderful teacher, who loves my girls!

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*crazy hair day!

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Photos

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It's a lot of photos of a lot of kids… I wonder if other mother's yell at their kids "Just smile and we can be done!"

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As I was preparing my kitchen area to do a newborn photo shoot this weekend, I decided my own kids would be good practice. I wanted to try Christmas lights as a back drop and it took a few tries to get it the way I liked it. But I love taking more formal photos of my kids a couple of times a year, especially at Christmas.

We are headed into a crazy couple of weeks and I will be glad when it is over and we can settle down, head to the desert with our family and just ENJOY the season.

I am joining in on Sunday Snapshot.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's beginning to look...

A lot like Christmas!

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I have been trying a lot of new recipes that I find on Pinterest.

Angel Bites

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3 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
food coloring (optional) - i used a few drops of yellow to get a very soft butter color
4 to 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
about 1/4 cup superfine or granulated sugar
beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy, about two minutes. add the mint and food coloring, if using, and mix until blended.
add the confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a stiff mixture.
form balls with about 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture. roll in the superfine sugar and flatten with your thumb or tines of a fork. store in the refrigerator.

Candy Cane Blossoms

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1 bag Hershey's Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green coloured sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 - 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies.

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