Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

There in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.
-Deuteronomy 12:7

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Someone is turning ELEVEN!

Celebrating sweet Grace!
She was so excited to get to pick PF Ch*angs for dinner! She told Mom "I want K Cakes place... with lettuce," which of course means PF Ch*angs (we went there for Kate's gotcha day last month and had lettuce wraps, which she LOVED)
And Will came home last night, so we had the whole family home to celebrate! And Grandma is here, too, so Gracie is just feeling extra special! :)
The littles were all enjoying shoulder rides, and Gracie didn't want to miss out... :)
There was a big pile of presents awaiting when we got home!
But first we had cake... Gracie picked chocolate with chocolate icing, so that's what Mom made for her!
She loved having a day all about her!
And Mom loved having the whole family around our table!
Gracie had lots of presents to open... here she is opening the Bop it that I gave her! She loves it :)
Gracie's big present this year was a rip*stick. She had been talking about this thing for awhile and telling us all about how her foster brothers in China had one and she loved it. Our neighbors have one and she rides it over at their house and is really good, and that was the one thing she asked for for her birthday. She is incredible on it! We were all trying it out and just couldn't understand how she's so good at it!
She was even riding around while looking at books! I'm telling you... she is amazing!

Tomorrow is not only a special day in our house because of Thanksgiving, but it is also Miss Gracie's birthday! Not only that, but it marks one year since we first fell in love with that big, bright smile and knew that Tong Jiao was a part of our family!

How fitting that her birthday should fall on Thanksgiving this year! We are oh so thankful for our precious (soon to be) 11 year old! I fall more in love with this sweet girl every day... her bright smile, her love for life, her confidence, her desire to learn... that's not saying that every moment is perfect, because it's not. But she truly amazes me. She is so loving, so brave, so sweet. She communicates more than I EVER thought would happen having just been with her for 5 months. She's beautiful on the inside and out and has such a sweet heart.

She has been looking forward to this day for so long and could hardly contain her excitement all day. And I don't think that it was a disappointment. She soaked the whole celebration in and loved every moment of her "birthday." She got to spend the day with her Grandma, go on a long bike ride on the trails with Will, go shopping for a bit with Sissy, have a delicious dinner out, open lots of presents, and eat chocolate cake... yes, it was a perfect birthday! :) Tomorrow the celebration will only continue as we sing "happy birthday" a couple more times, celebrate Thanksgiving, and remember a year back when we saw that precious smiling face for the first time.

To my sweet Gracie, I love you dearly and hope that your first birthday in America has been everything you could've asked for! I can't wait to celebrate more tomorrow! I love you precious girl!

Happy 11th Birthday sweet girl!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ready for Thanksgiving Break!




That is all I have to say! I am so very ready for a nice break from school...

I just LOVE this time of year. The weather, the food, the beauty, the decorations... I love it all.

We are doing well! I know it has been forever since I have given a legitimate update, but we are doing great. Gracie continues to learn more and more English and she is now reading some, too. She understands pretty much everything and can speak enough to communicate with us. I so remember just 4 months ago when we questioned how she would ever be speaking with us. People just kept saying, "you will be surprised." And we are. She amazes me every day. Her birthday is on Thursday (Thanksgiving!) and she could not be more excited! It will be a little interesting considering Thanksgiving is that day, so I am guessing we will celebrate early. She is very excited that Grandma and Will are coming to celebrate with her :) and she seems to know exactly what a birthday is, as she asked for a Rip*stik! I just can't believe she's going to be ELEVEN! Her birthday also marks the 1 year anniversary of seeing her face for the first time, so there's a lot to celebrate that day! She blesses us every day, and although there are hard moments, she has been an incredible blessing.

And then there's Charlie. I don't even think he would understand if you spoke to him in his Chong*qing dialect. He is talking so much and understands everything. He is such a sweetie and has molded right into family life. He is really SUCH a sweet boy. He definitely has his moments, particularly some baby-like actions, but he has really amazed us. It feels like we've had him forever and he hasn't looked back since the day we met him... 5 months ago already! (CRAZY!) He is such a loving little guy, a sweet big and protective big brother to Kate, and a precious little brother, too. What a blessing our little man is in this house full of girls :)

It's hard for me to believe that it's already been 5 months since we've met these 2. It's really quite amazing, actually. They have molded in to our family so quickly and they don't miss a beat. I can't believe how smoothly adopting 2 at the same time, out of birth order has gone for us. All the glory to God for that. The only issues we've had are just small adjustment issues, but both Charlie and Gracie have done SO well. And I have to say that I am amazed by how AnnaClaire and Kate have adjusted to adding two siblings. 5 months really is not all that long of a time when you consider all of the changes we've been through, and they have handled it with such love. There is nothing like seeing the 4 of these together. Life is crazy, loud, and busy... but I wouldn't trade it for the world :)

They are loving school and learning a lot. Our ant farm just came and they enjoyed setting that up this morning and are loving watching the ants. (That's what the bottom 2 pictures are from.) AnnaClaire went to a birthday party last week, which was the highlight of the week for her. Today, she and Kate went to a princess party and just had a blast. They loved dressing up like "Annarella" and "Snow Kate." I must say that my two little girls make the most beautiful princesses!

So life is good. We are all looking forward to see Will on Tuesday, as it has been since the first of August since we've seen our brother! We are missing him! We can't wait for Grandma to come, too! Thanksgiving at our house is going to be especially fun this year, and we are going to have to figure something out to fit all TEN of us at our dining room table :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A long name to write!

But she got it down perfectly!

And she's starting to read!

Our little kindergartner is loving school!

And on a different note, can I just say that North Carolina falls might just be my favorite thing...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!









Yesterday was Dad's birthday! He had to work in the morning and Mom and Dad had a wedding to go to last night, so we celebrated today! We all had fun celebrating with pumpkin cheesecake and Dad's new jacket :)

Happy birthday Dad!

(Oh, and make sure to keep scrolling because I've posted a TON of pictures this weekend!)

More pictures













I'm FINALLY caught up on pictures! :)

The first couple are some that I forgot to upload when we went to Au*burn in... September. My aunt and uncle only live about an hour away, so after the tour, Dad and the girls headed there and spent the weekend with them. They went to the aquarium and had the best time! Dad didn't get too many pictures, but I posted a couple of them. The first one is at a frozen yogurt place that was SO good. AnnaClaire LOVES Liz and had so much fun visiting her at college!

The rest are from a fair that our Church had earlier in October. It sounds like they all had a blast at the fair and got their first tastes of cotton candy!

Anyway, enjoy these pictures!

Apple Orchard Pictures


























Here are some pictures from the apple orchard! Mom and her friend took all of the littles a couple of weeks ago. This is a yearly tradition and they once again had a blast! We can't wait for next time when there are SIX little ones, as they just got their TA to go to China for Mia's sister, Emily! We are so excited :) :) Anyway, these pictures are pretty old... but better late than never, right?!