Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost Summer (Edited: Summer!)

I didn't want a whole new post because I wanted this one to be at the top. Thanks for all the comments and emails about the camera. Please continue to comment about that if you have any input... so now onto the last day of school: it was great! The Spanish exam was fairly easy and our whole class was done within just over an hour! We got to spend the rest of the 45 minutes talking and taking pictures, while counting down until summer!! Afterwards, I went to McAllister's with quite a few friends. I'm now getting ready to go to a pool party with most of our grade. I'm so excited it's SUMMER! Enjoy the pictures. The first two are (obviously) of AnnaClaire. I love this dress on her... especially the back. The third is at school today... last day as freshmen!!

Tomorrow is our last day of school. School starts at 9 and we have a 2 hour exam (Spanish) and then it's... SUMMER. This year really has gone fast and it's hard to believe that as of 11:01 tomorrow, I will be a sophomore! Today I erased almost all of my school work off my computer... I threw away all my notebooks and binders... it felt so good. I am so excited for summer.

Things to look forward to this summer:

Jersey Shore:
Next week, Mom, AnnaClaire, and I will fly to New Jersey to stay at our friend's shore house for a few days! I'm so excited! Lucy (one of our chatty sisters) is just a month younger than AnnaClaire and is also from Chenzhou. The girls met in November at Disney and were fast friends, playing lots together! AnnaClaire still talks about Lucy and how much fun they had at Disney! Claire and her mom (also chatty sisters) will also be there, which I am so excited about. We traveled with Claire and family and became very close. I will never forget bringing KFC through security and eating it with them at our gate before flying to the girls' provinces (Claire is from Guizhou.) We have not seen them since then, December 2006, so it will be so fun to see them again!

Romania: In early July, I will be going to Romania for 2.5 weeks! I am so excited. A team of 2o something highschoolers from my Church are going. We are leading a Christian sports camp for orphans and other kids there for 2 weeks (2 one week sessions.) Our last few days there, we get to go to Budapest, which will be awesome, too! By the way- I sent out letters to a few of my readers and I just wanted to let you guys know that thanks to your support, I have raised over $2,700... more than $200 over what I had to raise! Thanks so much!

VBS: I was going to go on a trip to Panama City Beach in June (with Church), but unfortunately the trip was canceled due to the low response of people going. While this is definitely unfortunate, there is a really fun VBS (Vacation Bible School) that week that some of my friends and I are going to work at! (Not only that, but I will also get back the birthday money that I put towards to trip and will be able to get a new camera... mine broke.)

Other than that, just hanging out at our pool (always a high, especially because I have so many friends my age in my neighborhood and we all go to the pool almost every day! Oh and yes- AnnaClaire does come with on most occasions and she will this year as well!) Doing things with friends, and of course the whole family will be home, so that will be fun, too! Who knows... maybe we'll even get a summer referral?! We've now been on the IF list for over 8 months.

One more question for any camera people out there... We collect change in big jars. Before traveling to China, we counted all the change and we had close to $3,000 which we used for the orphanage donation. Dad and AC have been counting this time and while it isn't nearly as much (we had been saving for a lot longer than 18 months last time!) we still have close to $1,000! We are thinking about using this money to get a new camera (different from the new one I'm getting with my money.) I'm talking a nice camera, that we could get some amazing pictures with when we go back to China for Kate (and of course before and after China!). As of now, we like the Nikon D-60. Does anyone have that camera (or anything like it) and have any suggestions/comments on it? Or if there's another camera that you want to recommend- go ahead! Please comment and let me know!

original picture on this post:
(picture from 5/27, edited)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jumpin' In the Puddles!

What could be better on a gloomy, rainy day then jumping in the puddles with Daddy?
(and looking extra cute while doing it! :) )

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I look at you..

... and I am reminded how BLESSED I am.
I love you, sweet AnnaClaire Chenhui!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Peddle boats with Daddy!

Me and my mommy and daddy

petting the animals

riding on the merry-go-round

Me and grandma... this is my "OHHH" face... see my dimples?

First of all, I wanted to remind everyone to continue the prayers for the Chapmans. One of SCC's managers keeps a great blog and has been posting on it often. I urge you to look at it. Under the post titled "Maria's Memorial Service", he mentioned, "some days ahead will be difficult for this family because the rest of the world moves on and forgets." I put a little picture/remembrance of Maria on the sidebar of my blog so that anyone who reads this blog will always be reminded to pray. Yes, the rest of the world will move on. However, this loving family will always have to deal with this tragedy and will need prayers to get through it.

With that said, I figured I should update about whats going on here... Grandma came last week to watch us, because Mom and Dad flew up to Boston. Drew (who goes to college near Boston) left on Friday for a 2.5 week trip to China (with a group of students and professors from his college) so Mom and Dad flew up to help him get ready and drive his car back home. Mom and Dad got home late Saturday night. Drew arrived safely in China and from what I've heard, he's having a great time. Anyway, today Grandma, Mom, and Dad took AnnaClaire to a big park with a petting zoo, train, picnic tables, and peddle boats. They said it was a great time had by all. Here's a few pictures from that.

I had my first exam on Friday (English) and have 4 more the rest of this week. So the next four days, school is from 9-11 and we take an exam the whole time! We get out on Friday, which I am definitely excited for.

Anyway, remember those who have given their lives/service to our country, allowing us to live and have rights that not everyone has! Thank you to all those people! Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Memory of Maria

My heart aches right now. Although I do not know him, I feel like I do... As most people know, yesterday Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, Maria (adopted from China), went to be with Jesus after a tragic accident, while playing in the driveway at her house. Unfortunately, the driver of the car, was Maria's brother... a complete accident as he did not see her playing. I have no words to describe how saddened I am by this news. SCC and his family have done so much for advocating for orphans. They have a sincere love for children and orphans and they do not deserve this grief. However, God had other plans and sweet Maria Sue went to be with Him yesterday evening, around 5. There is no doubt in my mind that this 5 year old girl is dancing with Jesus, but that doesn't make it any easier for the Chapman family to cope with this. I have no other words to say, just pray. They need all your prayers right now. Especially their son who I'm sure is going through so much guilt and pain. I cannot imagine. I simply don't even have words. Please keep this family in your prayers... they need them. The Chapmans have set up in blog in memory of Maria, which you can see here.

I end with these lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman's song, With Hope:
This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Truly Blessed

We would say your name
A hundred times a day
Like speaking words in faith
And with a mixture of
Hope and fear and trust
We prayed for the strength to wait
And dreamed of how we'd feel the day
You'd be in our arms and…

Swept away
Caught up in our love
Home to stay
You'll never be alone
You'll be amazed
At how much you are loved
Your life will never be the same
Once you're swept away

What once was just a dream?
Is now reaching up to me
And I hold her in my arms
Father thank you for the way
You held her all those days
That we had to spend apart
And now I see the impossible dream
Is holding me and I'm…

Swept away
Caught up in your love
Home to stay
I 'll never be alone
And I'm amazed
At how much I am loved
My life will never be the same
I've been swept away

I am often amazed at how blessed I am by the sweet girl God has placed in my life. I think back, 17 months ago today, we arrived home from China with our precious AnnaClaire. She became a US citizen. She came home, she came home to the life she lives and loves. Today, 17 months later, LIFE is one word I could describe her as. She is so full of life. She lives life to the fullest and loves every moment she has. She is always happy. Her smile characterizes who she is. I love this little girl so much. It almost seems unfair that I am the one to have such an amazing gift, a sister. However, not just any sister. A sister who is brave, who lost all she ever knew, but who has picked up and blossomed into the most amazing little girl I have ever met... and she's only 2 and a half. A sister that is not related to me by blood, but by love. A sister who was not born in my mom's stomach, but in her heart, and the hearts of my whole family. A sister whom we traveled half way across the world, to Hunan, China, to receive. A sister who I would not trade for anything in the world... I love her so much... almond eyes, silky black hair, flat nose and all. I love her, I love you, AnnaClaire.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Little Red Riding Hood

Thank you for the joy that you bring me every day.
Thank you for the funny things you always say.
Thank you for always smiling, and laughing away.
Thank you for being you because I love you just that way.

I love how today you watched Barney and you wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood just like Baby Bop. We put on your little red bandanna and sang that Grandmothers house song. We made up our own words to tell the Little Red Riding Hood story. You giggled and sang along and pleaded to sing more, instead of going up to take your bath.

I love how you came to pick me up from our track pool party and the whole way home you asked to go in the pool. At one point you said, "I need my bathingsuit! I can't go in the water in my diaper or panties and dress because I will get them all wet when I swim! I need to wear my bathingsuit!" (yes, you said that whole long sentence at once with the right pronouns and everything! You are so smart!) I told you that as soon as it was summer, I would take you to the pool. Satisfied, you agreed but did not stop talking about the pool... it's okay, sweet girl, I'm ready for summer, too!

With that said, only 3 more days of school until exams. I am so excited. Our first exam is on Friday and then they continue next Tuesday-Friday. We get out on May 30! Today was our awards ceremony. I was awarded Honor Roll award, which was exciting :) I am so ready for summer. I feel like it is finally setting in!!

P.S. my ticker just reminded me that we are now 5 months into the wait for Kate. We've been on the IF list for 8 months now.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Runner Ups!

Yesterday and today we had states for track and it went so well! We ended up getting 2nd in the state, out of 17 teams! That was really good for us, especially with a team of 1 senior, 1 jr., 2 seventh graders, 1 eighth grader, and 7 freshmen. We were so proud, as we definitely were not expecting to bring home a trophy (or a new banner for our gym, for that matter)! Our boys ended up with 5th, but that was still very good for them, especially being a mostly freshmen team. Nonetheless, we were all really happy and had a great time celebrating at Qdoba and Marble Slab afterwards! Other than the fact that everyone got really sunburned, it was a really fun meet and we all did amazing! It was also nice that it was close by (although a little disappointing that we didn't get to stay in a hotel... oh well, we had our own sleepover anyways.) The track was amazing... right in the city with a view of our skyline. Anyway, it was a successful weekend and we're all excited for the competition next year... we're moving up divisions...

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I had the full intention of doing a nice long post tonight, with a few pictures from May 15, 2007 and May 15, 2008. Of course, my pictures are scattered on 3 different computers at the moment, and I can't find any pictures to use from May 15, 2007 on my old blog (they are all on collages from that day.) Not only that, but I had way too much homework tonight. We have one week until exams. ONE WEEK. Yet we have the most homework we've had all year. Oh well, I'll get my long post in sometime. But anyway, I know I probably won't be posting tomorrow or Saturday (we have states for track!!) so I thought I should post tonight.

Her smile literally brights up any room she is in. Her joy just radiates right through her, and into anyone she is with. Her smile literally makes my bad days good. And to think she's mine. My little sister. I love you so much, AnnaClaire Chenhui! I hope you always stay joyful. Ever since our first night together, you have been happy... always smiling. I love that about you and I hope you never change that! I love you, sweet girl!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I scream, you scream

Tonight, Dad took Will, AC, and I to Brusters. It was so good :). AnnaClaire got her very own free baby cone. She loved it! The whole way to Brusters, she said over and over, "I LIKE ICE CREAM! DO YOU LIKE ICE CREAM? ANNA LOVESSSSSSS ICE CREAM!" She cracks me up sometimes. Once we got there, she excitedly told the lady that she wanted "Ice cream please!" The ice cream was thoroughly enjoyed after a fun evening in the sandbox!

Did I mention we had to dissect a frog in biology class today? Can you say disgusting? Oh but I left out the fact that Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we are dissecting a SHARK. Ew.

On another note, my heart continues to hurt for China today. China will always be a part of me, having a sister from there. No one should have to go through the pain and hurt of seeing their child, their only child die from a terrible earthquake; or anyone for that matter. The death count has already surpassed 12,000 and that just tears at my heart. I really want to share something that another blogger wrote. Please go here to read it. This is a really powerful and true post... about why God allows bad things like this to happen. Continue to keep China in your prayers.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Look what Will and his friends made me! (& Mother's Day)

We had a wonderful Mother's Day. We went to Church and afterwards had On the Border. it was SO yummy. AnnaClaire looked absolutely adorable for Church. Costco has Lilly dresses that are very well priced~ we got AC two of them. She wore one of them to Church and she looked so sweet. We came home pretty late and took some pictures with Mom (see post on mothers day) before AC went down for her nap. While she napped, Will and Ben (one of Will's best friends) started building AC a sandbox! They have been planning on doing this and got it done. It looks great! They went to Lowes and got all the supplies. They put it together and got a nice place in our backyard to set it up. It looks so good! Yes- when you are 2 with a 17 year old brother, there is no such thing as a FisherPrice sandbox! Dad, AC, and I went and got sand and by the time we got back, 4 of Will's friends were over! They all finished the rest of the sandbox, put all 30 of the bags of sand in, packed up mulch around and then let AC get in. She LOVED it. Finally, after 7, we went back in so that Mom could open her presents. Will got her flowers, chocolate, and a card, AC got her a little flower that said that she was going to plant flowers for Mom (that's what Mom wanted), I got her a picture of AC, me, and Mom that was in a really pretty frame, and a mini scrapbook that had pictures of her with each kid for the first time... Will, Drew, and I in the delivery room with her, AC being given to Mom on gotcha day, and a picture of the Great Wall of China with a red thread heart stitched through for Kate. Dad got her plane tickets to the Chatty Sisters Reunion in Colorado this fall (Well a picture from the last one, saying that she could get tickets once we know the exact dates). So it was a good Mother's Day. I think if you asked Mom, she would say it was a VERY good Mother's Day. After the presents, we went back outside and AnnaClaire played in the sandbox awhile longer. We found her little truck from the beach and she loved filling it with sand and dumping it out. She cried when we had to go back in, because it was pitch black... and she never cries. She absolutely LOVES her sandbox. She is so lucky to have such a great big brother (and such great big friends of brother) to build her her very own 6ft x 8ft sandbox!

Today, I got in the car after track and AC begged me to go in the sandbox with her when we got home. Mom informed me that AnnaClaire has been just loving her sandbox all day. She spent over 3 hours in it today. Um... can you say someone loves her sandbox? We found a funnel and she loved playing with that. She also loved burying me and Bunny, and me burying her! (well not really... just the legs). She had so much fun. She literally LOVES her sandbox. I have never seen someone love something this much. It was starting to get dark before we finally came in (and it was dinner time) and even then, she did NOT want to go in. This is the best "toy" she's ever had... she just loves her sandbox! It is so roomy and perfect for her. We'll need to get her some real toys for it... right now all she has are measuring cups and spoons, old cups, a few shovels, and her little truck. However, she loves it all the same. She could care less what toys are in there... as long as she's in her sandbox!