This blog chronicles the miracles and struggles of our daughters, Emily and Olivia. Emily was born 15 weeks early and had many complications, but she continues to amaze us! Olivia, born in China with heart complications, is also beating the odds. She joined her forever family (us!) when she was four years old and has been doing wonderfully! UPDATE: We started homeschooling August 2009 :)

Monday, December 07, 2009


Hard to believe our tiny little 1.5 pounder is TEN already! Emily's birthday was yesterday and we had a whirlwind of a day with church, a kids' party, and pizza with family in the evening. It was a fun, FULL day, celebrating with our favorite ten-year old in the whole world.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Serendipity: the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

November 20 marks three years since we got THE call asking if we'd consider adopting a four year old from China with a heart condition. (November 20 also marks my mom's birthday!! Happy Birthday, Mom!) We'd started the adoption process a year + prior seeking a healthy baby girl...then after a while we broadened our scope and requested a baby with special needs. After all, our then almost seven year old, Emily had been a fragile "special needs" baby and deserved a chance...and we thought maybe we could help another baby who might be otherwise overlooked. But a FOUR year old hadn't really ever crossed our minds. One or two years old maybe, but we never even thought of a FOUR year old. But God did :) He was preparing our hearts for the perfect child for us.

Shortly before we got THE call, I'd felt drawn to some blogs of families who'd adopted toddlers and older children. Reading about their successful bonding began to open my mind to new possibilities and we agreed that yes, we could fathom adopting a two year old. As we waited, we knew that IF we were presented with a child on the list that we'd have the opportunity to scrutinize the photos and medical records before agreeing to accept any child. As word came that a new list of special needs children had arrived at our agency we prayed that God would find a child for us. We agreed that we did not want to play God by picking and choosing and we prayed that He would present the ONE who was meant for us. We prayerfully agreed that we would not reject any child presented to us whether it be boy or girl, young or old, healthy or not. Surrendering that decision seemed to be a critical point in our journey because within a day or two of coming to that decision our pone finally rang. We got THE call from our social worker!!

We were at the bottom of the waiting list, so there were no guarantees that we'd get a call at all. The list had been in for almost three weeks now so our odds weren't looking so good. By the time we got the call most of the children had been placed and they only had one girl left who had been deemed too old by others. When our case worker made it to our name on the bottom of the list she sounded shocked when I immediately said yes, we would consider a four year old with a heart condition. I was a little thrown by the age myself, but Andy and I had JUST recently come to this decision and I knew God had His hand in the process. When our case worker assured me that we could take a pass and wait for a baby as we'd requested I had to explain the prayer we'd just prayed. We'd prayed that He would present us with child that was meant for us. And He did :) Three years later I can tell you it was a scary leap of faith at the time, but He did know what He was doing!!

Olivia has been the perfect fit for our family!! I'm so glad we let Him do the choosing because at that point neither Andy nor I would have ever had the courage to seek out a FOUR year old. Left to our own devices, we would have really missed out on one of our biggest blessing!

How about you? I'd love to hear what kind of serendipitous events have happened in your life. Have you had any leaps of faith that you're thankful for now?

I'm so behind on scrapbooking that my "current" photo is really pretty out of date since she's now missing her two front teeth! I'll have to take some new closeups to post what she's REALLY looking like today :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Homeschool Family Camp

Just realized I never posted this (click image to enlarge):

Any guesses?

Yesterday, at our homeschool co-op, we were all supposed to dress up as historical figures. I dressed up as Amelia Earhart. Can you tell who the girls were supposed to be? Their figures are not in the same century, but we've learned about them both in our history studies. Please leave us a comment if you think you know :)

Random October photos

Aren't they cute? On this night when I headed for bed, I noticed Emily's bed was empty. I quickly found her in bed with with her sister! Fortunately they were sound asleep and didn't even notice the flash from my camera.

Andy and the girls are enjoying their new membership at Lifetime Fitness. In fact that's where they are as I type!

Yes, this little poser is the same girl that hated cameras in China!

Both Daddy and Emily enjoy the water slides at Lifetime!

The girls thoroughly enjoyed our co-op field trip to a pumpkin farms with animals, slides, bounce houses, a corn maze, hay ride, train, etc.

Pumpkin carving time. Check out Olivia's garb--she put on tights, a swim suit and a skirt pulled up over her chest. My little fashion diva! Emily on the hand, doesn't really care about fashion as long as the seams and tags aren't bothersome!

Minnie got a check up from Dr. Emily before heading out for trick-or-treating.

After getting their own loot, they love to give out candy. It's sometimes hard to coordinate the door with a dog, so they came up with an ingenious solution that prevented Chelsea from getting out! Olivia (our not so shy one!) was yelling to kids through the open door, inviting them to come and get some candy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rock candy and tea parties

In science we learned about evaporation and made our own colorful sugar (i.e. rock candy!) by adding food coloring to sugar and water...and waiting a few days for the water to evaporate.

Today Olivia had a tea party for all her dolls and apparently invited Chelsea to join. In spite all the thrilling imaginary food, Chelsea fell fast asleep right on top of some dishes and with the side of her head nestled in glass bowl! Doesn't look too comfortable, but I guess she didn't want to miss a party!

Evaporation helped us to make our own rock candy!

Imaginary food just didn't keep Chelsea's interest!

Signing the Declaration of Independence...and Chelsea

Last week we made our own ink out of berries and used feathers to make our own writing quill! We even pretended we were part of the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence agreeing that we wanted to be free of that pesky king across the ocean.

Oh, and yes, Chelsea is still hanging in there :) Still not sure what happened that one night last month when I thought she was a goner, but she's back to her her 'ole self. And yes, I mean old. At 15, she's not as spry as she was just a year ago, but she still does the stairs and runs along the fence barking at our neighbor's dogs. And she still puts up with the girls who always want to play with her :)

Even Dad got in on writing with a feather! We cut the tips off at an angle, cleaned them out with a tooth pick and cut a slit in the tip to help control the ink. Our homemade berry ink was pretty red (too many strawberries and not enough blueberries?), but surprisingly it was gray when it dried.

Here, Olivia was proud to show off her own "John Hancock" on a copy of the Declaration of Independence for her notebook.
In spite of Olivia's choice of footwear, we do NOT have snow here...yet! It is chilly though!
Chelsea, being a good sport!

Apple Picking and Crazy Hair

We're really enjoying our homeschool co-op and getting to know some new friends better. Here are some pix our co-op field trip to an apple orchard...and the apple pie we made :)

Mom's lame attempt at crazy hair for Crazy Hair Day at co-op. Emily had that slept-in-wet-hair look that was matted, tangled and wild...but had calmed down by this point in the day. Olivia and I just went for the pony-tails-all-over look. Needless to say our hairdos did not win us any of the coveted prizes, but we had fun anyway. Anyone have any good crazy hair ideas?
Yum! Homemade apple pie!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Show Girls

When the girls have friends over one of their favorite pastimes is to create and perform shows on their little stage in the basement. On Friday, after their whole 15 minutes of swimming, they all went downstairs to choreograph a show for me. They really love the CD of patriotic songs that came with our curriculum so they popped that in and were ready perform in no time. After singing and parading around a little table to Yankee Doodle (and God Bless America and America, and...), they each took their turn basking in the spotlight. As you can see Olivia loves to dress up and quite enjoys being the center of attention! She also has quite the rhythm and grace and LOVES to dance (and pose!).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baking bread

Yesterday the girls learned what it means to knead as we baked bread as part of our science lesson.

What fun to get messy and play with bread dough!

Yum! We got to eat our very warm bread with the butter they made earlier :) That sounds so domestic doesn't it?!

Today we had week #2 of Legacy Homeschool Co-op. The girls just love it and all the fun classes they get to participate in!! I especially like the sampling of the yummy stuff they make in their cooking class (thanks, Michele!)!!

After running around outside after co-op the girls were hot and begging to go in the pool. We invited some friends to swim and picked them up on our way home...but the swimming only lasted about 15 minutes. Not surprising since it's only about 76 degrees out. I now have a houseful of kids--no worries here about socialization of my homeschooled kids!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Making play dough

Yesterday, for science, the girls enjoyed making play dough. Tomorrow we'll make bread and they'll get to see what happens when we add yeast :) They already experimented with yeast and saw that when mixed with sugar--and NOT salt--the yeast/sugar solution caused a balloon to inflate...and tomorrow they'll get to see how yeast (and sugar!) will make gas bubbles and cause the dough to rise. As you can see they enjoy the hands-on projects!

We mixed flour, salt, warm water and oil...

...and eventually made play dough!

It was messy, but fun :)

AFTER it was all mixed up, the girls wanted to know if we could make it a pretty I added a little red food coloring to the dough and it ended up a neat marbled pink.

Making their masterpieces :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Last chance to enjoy summer weather!

We had a great time at our first ever homeschool co-op on Friday AND at our family camp over the weekend (I still have to sort through all the great pix!).  Today the girls finished their schooling early and they actually got in our pool for the first time in over a month!  It's been such a strange summer that we haven't gotten a whole lot of swimming when I saw the temperature was going to be 83 today I decided it was high time they they take advantage of the pool before it's too late!  We invited some other homeschool friends and they all jumped in :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making butter!

As part of our study about early American pioneers, today we learned how to turn cream into butter. Of course we didn't have a cow to milk so we had to cheat a little bit by buying heavy whipping cream at the store, but it was still neat to see a liquid turn into a (semi) solid!

Shake, shake...shake it baby...

Mmmm....that tastes good!

Voila! Butter!!
Butter and crackers made for a nice after school treat!

In case you're wondering how to make butter and you don't happen to have a butter churn like the early can just shake heavy whipping cream back and forth for about 15 minutes :)