Monday, May 28, 2012


Every year for the last bunch of years, we have walked in the local Memorial Day parade with our local food pantry. We walk with Cash Man, a local superhero who educates citizens that cash donations to the food pantry are better than cans because the food pantry can buy more cans for less money, and they can buy exactly what they need, rather than old canned prunes from the back of someone's pantry. You can learn more about that, including a funny video here.

Jeb, who is always full of questions, was asking why we held signs that said "donate cash" and "1 can feeds one, $1 feeds 10". We explained to him that some people don't have money for food, but since we do have money for food, we like to share some of our money with those who don't, and we encourage others to share what they have too. We had a few conversations about it over the course of the morning. We've had similar conversations about why we tithe to our church, and a couple of weeks ago in our homeschooling when our bible verse for the week was 'God loves a cheerful giver' from 2 Corinthians. We have been blessed with more than what we need, and we love to give to others who don't have what they need, and we do it with a happy heart.

During the parade, there are always a lot of people who want to donate cash to Cash Man during the parade, which is always an amazing thing to watch. Jeb walked in the parade the entire way without complaining, and was able to see adults and children coming out with their money to share. I was able to explain to him that these people had enough food and money and were willing to share their money with people who don't have enough food.

On the way home, Jeb asked again why we 'give cash' and we explained it again. He said "I want to give my money to people for food". We told him that was very generous and that he is a cheerful giver. Then he said "I have a lot of money, I can share with people who don't have food."

Jeb has collected a decent amount of coins in the last couple of weeks. He has been begging for a puppy, and we told him that if he does an extra chore (on top of his daily chores) and works really hard, he can earn a coin, and when his bank is full of coins, he'll have enough for a puppy. So he has been working really hard, doing extra chores like picking up rocks outside or helping Eric with yard work. When he sets his mind to something, he really works for it, and he is determined to earn that puppy!

So I was really surprised when he said "Mommy, I don't want to use my money to buy a puppy. I want to give my money to people that need food. I will save for a puppy later."

My little 4 year old boy had learned about being generous, and that some people don't have money for the things they need, like food. Then he thought about his money, his hard earned coins, and realized that he could earn more money for his puppy another time, and that he would rather share all of his coins with people in need.

We told him that he didn't have to give all of his money if he didn't want to, that it was ok if he only gave some of his money, but he was insistent that he wanted to share all of his money with other people, and that he would earn more money later. He also insisted that he had to share his money right away. So, he got his bank from his bedroom, and rode his bike down to Bapa's house. He told Bapa his plan, and said "Look, I have a lot of money for people!" and poured all 24 cents out into Bapa's hand. Bapa (who also happens to be Cash Man) thanked him for his donation and promised to give it to the people who need food.

Wouldn't it be great if we all had that attitude? To know that we have been blessed with more than we need, and we can always earn more later, so why not share all of what we have with the needy?

Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said:‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vivi in pictures

Vacation, many many doctor's appointments, and general life got in the way of finishing this post about sweet Vivi's birthday :)

Vivi on the day she was born

2 days old, the day she came 'home' from the hospital to our hotel in Utah

6 months

1 year

2 years

3 years!!!

Journey's health update

Journey had a procedure on Monday to both check her eyes a little more in depth, and also to fit her for an ocular shell. Usually ocular shells are painted to match the other eye and don't serve as a visual aid, but this one will be a little different. They made a mold of her eye:
He's going to use this mold to make a shell to cover her eye. This one will be clear to hold the space for a real one later, and to allow as much light as possible to get into her eye to see if it has any potential. They think it can see a little but aren't sure if it is able to improve at all. We go back in 4 months to see if that eye seems any better, and if it seems to have enough potential, they may try patching her good eye to strengthen the small one. Depending on how that goes, her future shell will have a painted on iris, and if she can see at all, the pupil will be clear, but if not, it could just be painted black. This will give her eyes symmetry, they'll both look the same size :)

Here's Journey playing before surgery, she thought it was hilarious to put a sticker on her nose, my nose, the nurse's nose... I'm so thankful she has such a strong spirit!

She also had an ENT appointment where they determined that she needs her tonsils and adenoids out, so she'll have that surgery in June, and hopefully it will help with her breathing. During that surgery, they're also going to do more in-depth testing on her ears to try to learn more about her hearing loss and see whether she would benefit from hearing aids. And on top of that, she has been doing some weird things the past week or so that suggest she may be having seizures, which is going to mean more appointments and tests. She's keeping us on our toes!
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Big day for Jebby!

Today was Jeb's first day at 'school', what we're calling the homeschool co-op. They have classes on Fridays for all different age groups, and little ones can play in a big room full of toys for free. There are 3 hours of classes, with a lunch break after 2nd hour. We had originally planned on doing only 2nd and 3rd hour, with lunch in between, but while we were in Columbus last week, we saw a dance recital and Jebriel loved watching all the dancers. He started asking to take a dance class, and what do you know, there was a tap class 1st hour. So we bought him some tap shoes and signed him up! Actually we signed him up and then realized the day before that he needed the tap shoes and made a rush trip to Payless ;)

He was so excited for school all week, especially tap class, but when I woke him up that morning, he started saying "No thank you, I don't want to go." I got him up and dressed and told him that it was ok to be nervous, but I knew he was going to have fun, etc. He cheered up a little, but every so often kept saying "I'm a little bit nervous". By the time we got there and we got into the first class, which was tap, he was totally fine. I had him introduce himself to the teacher, and we put his tap shoes on. We stayed and watched for a little while to make sure he was ok, and then when the girls got antsy, I kept waiting for him to look over at me so I could wave goodbye so he wasn't shocked when we weren't there, and he never looked back. My brave boy! The girls played and I talked to a couple of moms, and even met another adoptive mom.

We picked him up from tap class and walked him to Adventures in Literature. He asked me how many classes he got to go to, and was a little bummed when I said only 2 more. They read a book about a caterpillar and did a caterpillar craft, but he had trouble telling me what book it was, it doesn't seem like it was The Very Hungry Caterpillar-next time I'll ask the teacher so we can talk about it later. After that class we all went down and had lunch in a big room. It was fun to see the older kids socializing while they ate, I can't wait for Jeb to have friends that he looks forward to hanging out with. During lunch he asked again how many classes he had left, and I said one more. He said "Mommy, I'm sad about one more class, I want more classes all day long!"

After lunch we took him to his 'God's World through Little Eyes Science class, where he learned about rainbows and Noah's ark, and made a rainbow craft.

He had so much fun, and can't wait to go back! I'm so glad it was such a positive experience for him!

Here's his 'first day of school' picture, complete with lunch bag. He's very proud of that bag because it has his name on it, and he can recognize the J for Jebby :)

Later this evening, he was practicing his letters, and he asked to practice writing M for mommy. It took a lot of practice, but he finally got it, and wrote a few in a row. I told him to draw a circle in between the m's, and he didn't understand, so I did it for him and showed him that that spelled 'mom'. He was all excited and wrote this all by himself:

I'm so proud of my boy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vivi's birthday weekend

Vivi turned 3 last weekend! We left for a week in Columbus after doing cake and ice cream on her birthday, so I haven't been able to post about it.

The day before her birthday (so they'd have a chance to use it before leaving for a week) my parents gave Vivi her present, a new, bigger than the sandbox pool!

One more bedtime as a 2 year old :)

Happy Birthday sister!

Vivi picked breakfast at the donut shop for her birthday breakfast, with sprinkles of course!

Journey's sprinkle-free donut

For lunch, she picked hot dogs, so on the way to the zoo, we stopped at Costco for giant hot dogs

Sibling love at the zoo :)

And for dinner, she requested noodles and shrimp, with peas and carrots. She also got her birthday 'picks' which were:
Cereal-Annies Cinnamon Bunnies
Ice cream-Turkey Hill Lady Liberty Mint
Juice- Bolthouse Farms Mango Smoothie
Chips-Cheetos, the natural kind so Journey could have them too
She also picked oranges for her birthday fruit :)

The best present of the day, bottles for her baby from Great Grandpa Bob (or as she calls him, Great Bob)

Japanese clothes for everyone from Aunt Kana

Donut cake, the ganache should have been thicker before I put it on but she still liked it :)
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recap of the week

I feel like we've been busy, even though we don't seem to get out that much!

Jebriel had soccer class this week, it was pouring and only 3 other kids showed up. Jebriel has started a new phase where he won't do anything he's not good at. So when they try to teach a new skill in soccer, he refuses to do it. So this week we've been doing a lot of practicing at home and pep talks about how soccer (and life!) isn't supposed to be easy, but if we keep trying, it will get easier. We also watched some professional soccer players on Youtube, and he knows now that if he keeps practicing, he'll be able to run really fast while kicking the ball, and kick it really far. I've noticed this behavior at home too, he really struggles with puzzles and similar activities, so he avoids them. Something to work on :)

Homeschooling is going really well, the kids are all enjoying the stories, Jebriel asks every morning when I'm going to read to him, and they like to hear what we get to read about the next day.

We've also started customizing the curriculum a little-we're doing the 4/5 curriculum, and a couple of the books are a little above their heads right now. But, it's only a 36 week schedule so we'll be repeating it at least once, and we'll use those books later on. One book we added is Inside Your Outside, a Cat in the Hat themed book about the body. Jebriel is loving it! It packs a lot of information into the book, so we're only doing 2-4 pages at a time. He loves when I read about a part of the body, and then hearing that yes, he has a brain in his head too, and yes, there are bones in his hands too! His favorite topic so far has been bones and joints.

A favorite for everyone (me included!) is reading a poem from the book Animals Animals, which is full of poems about animals with artwork by Eric Carle

Jeb started asking how to write letters, and we were practicing outside with chalk, but we found this book at Target for $4. It uses dry-erase markers, so he can practice over and over again, and I feel like you can learn more precision with marker than with chalk on our bumpy cement walkway. So far we're just working on his favorite letter, J :)

Journey FINALLY got her cast off this week! I won't post the pictures of her hand yet, it's still a little gruesome, but it's pretty impressive! She got it off yesterday morning, and all day yesterday and most of today, she held her arm as though it were still in the cast, and didn't use her hand at all. This afternoon though, she started using it a little bit.

And warm weather + no casts= water play! I put some dish soap and water in the sand box, gave all the kids a wash cloth, and told them they could wash all the outside toys. I let them put their suits on for the novelty of it, but didn't expect them to actually play in the water. They washed the toys for about 15 minutes, and then ended up spending an hour playing in the soapy water like it was a pool! Maybe bathtime will be moved outdoors for the summer...

I just can't get a good group shot these days ;)

The trick of the day, dunking their heads in the water! Vivi only faked it, she hates having water anywhere near her face. I'm thinking swim classes this summer for the 2 who aren't afraid to put their whole heads under water though!

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