Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mama and Madelyn

Today has been a full day in our house. Now that school has started, I am hearing the alarm clock go off at 5:45 AM! I then pull myself from my comfortable bed, gather my gym clothes and head down to the basement to work out. So far, I'm loving it ...Once I'm out of bed that is... =) I really need to make time to work out, I always feel better (my joints especially) but honestly I am NOT an early morning person so this may be a challenge for me once winter hits. We shall see...

We had a good day with school, the girls were a bit antsy so at break time they went out back to play on the jungle gym to burn off some energy...So I thought anyway...They came back from break with the giggles so needless to say someone got their name on the board as a warning and the thought of losing a sticker for the day which would mean not getting an opportunity to peruse the "treasure chest" on Friday snapped them all out of it and the rest of the day went just fine. Thank you Jesus!!

After dinner and baths, Rachel and Linzhi got in our bed to watch a quick movie before bed. Madelyn wasn't interested so I took the opportunity to have some one on one with my girl. We looked through the pantry and found a muffin mix to make for tomorrow...She was SO excited!! She loves to help me or watch me cook or bake and I am happy for all the girls to help me with certain projects. Now Madelyn loves working in the kitchen right next to me (and I love every minute of it). I feel she has a desire to learn to cook which I am thrilled about! Rachel and Linzhi help me too but it was nice to have some time to bond with her. Just us. It seems God gives me opportunities everyday to snag one of my kids for some alone time and I cherish every minute. We both desire to know them as individuals and love to make special time for each of them even my big guy still needs some mama time (or maybe it;s just mama that does?)

God bless to all...Enjoy the pics below...

Madelyn working hard to mix the batter.

A smile for mama.
Washing up our dishes (she's a diligent worker).

Our finished project! Yummy for breakfast!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

1st day of home school!

To say I'm overjoyed would be an understatement. I was just as excited as the kids were for our first day of home school. As the hour approached I had butterflies thinking to myself "The Lord must know what He's doing by asking me to educate our children." and I had to repeat that to myself a few times today. We did have a great time and the curriculum is easy to followed and the girls for the most part enjoy it. I can see Madelyn is very gifted in Math, I have decided to get more material to challenge her a bit, she's a wiz at it so I need to build on what she already knows. My Rachel is so gifted in reading/language arts and she is actully assisting me in teaching Madelyn and Linzhi to read. My baby girl, Linzhi Rose is showing signs of being gifted in coloring in the lines and identifying her shapes, colors, numbers and some letters. First thing this morning, I went over class rules, rewards and corrections. I typed everything in a word doc then went to google translate so everything could be printed in Mandarin too. As I went over everything Madelyn had a copy so she could follow along with us and guess what??? She did! I asked her through the translator if she understood and she grinned and nodded. So because I am (maybe )a little type A, I have the classroom extremly organized and an agenda for our day. I went over everything with the girls and they understand we are sticking to a schedule and whatever they use (paper,markers, crayons) has a place to be returned when finished. I understand I need to be flexible but for certain things they are old enough to understand in our house we cannot learn when it's chaos and a mess...Except for craft and experiment time...Then it's fun to get messy!! I know I will learn as I go along but I have the basics down and I know what the girls need to accomplish so they can learn. I am so humbly grateful to God for blessing me with this opportunity, I never thought I could (or wanted to) home school but it gives me such JOY to see my little girls that have physcial challenges and the other that doesn't learning and exploring at home where they are loved and accepted.

Madelyn has been home a month already! Time is flying!! She's still doing good, we've had a few melt downs with lots o'tears which we were glad to see. I hate that she has to greive but she needs to get through it. I know she will carry loss for a long time, maybe all her life but we need her to feel safe, secure and loved and in our hearts we feel she's getting there. Linzhi goes for her MRI (brain and spine) on the 17th so we're praying questions are answered so we can get a game plan for getting her some additional help. So like always, I'm busy but loving it and happy as can be =) Raising 4 kids come with some challenges but God is with us always and knows everything we need...Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfullness and self control (I think I have them in order). Without knowing that, I would be a mess especially during the part of the day when I feel like I can't take one more little girl arguement or reminding Trevor to TAKE THE TRASH out!!!! LOL... It always seems to be that part of the day right before my helper and hubby walks in the door...PRAISE GOD!!!! HELP!!!!! I cherish these times, good and challenging because I know they will only be little once, they will be 18 before I know it and ready for college just as my son will be in 4 short months. Time does not give us a break adnd I refuse to allow the enemy steal my joy of being a mother while I have them here in my nest. So again, thank you Lord for all your blessings and opportunities to teach me another lesson. I am a grateful servant.

Trevor starting his (gulp) senior year of High School. So proud of this Godly young man!
Miss Madelyn!
Miss Rachel Cate!
Miss Linzhi Rose!

Being silly at breakfast.

Craft for the day (each girl made a set-I think this is Madelyn's)
Drawing a picture of things we do in the daylight (from our bible study)
Rachel and Linzhi working hard on their picture too!
Sharing crayons.
Classroom rules, rewards and corrections in Mandarin for our newest family member.
same as above in English.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Happy birthday!

This time it's MY mama having a birthday!! We love you Grandma nessa!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy birthday!!!

Happy birthday grandma Sharon!!! Oh how we love and cherish you!!!

Here are the girls singing happy birthday to grandma!!
Grandma, grandpa and the girls!

This is how they dressed for grandma's birthday dinner!

WE LOVE YOU!!!!!! CJ, Amy, Trevor, Madelyn, Rachel and Linzhi Rose

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mid-August nights...

Well it's getting to that time of year when the kids are going back to school, pool days are coming to an end and the corn in the fields are beginning to brown...Sigh...Summer is coming to an end. But in our house, we get to keep summer going just a little bit longer. We officially don't start our home school year until September 7th. I wanted to give Madelyn a full month home before we start in with school plus, our room isn't ready yet. Madelyn continues to bond and gel with our family, she's getting more and more "at home" with her new life. Each day she picks up more English which we're thrilled about however, we want her to continue with her Mandarin as well. I'm going to purchase more story books in Mandarin and I found a children's bible in Mandarin and English. Preserving her Mandarin is a top priority for us, it's part of her heritage that we feel she needs to keep. Well, I'm off to bed, it's been a long day and I'm exhausted! God bless!

Trevor getting his first pay check from his new job at his uncles martial arts studio. YAY TREV!
Enjoying ice cream after working up a sweat riding bikes! My sweet Rachel Cate.

Miss Madelyn cooling off with her icy. My beauty from the East.

Sister love.

Linzhi Lu!! I said to her the other night...Linzhi, you're my special little kitty and she replied "no mama, I'm your special little dolphin" She's all about dolphins now. Oh my heart...she melts it everyday (they all do).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our daughters

This picture was taken on Sunday which also happened to be Madelyn's FIRST time going to church. We all walked into the girls Sunday school class, I told her to stay with Rachel, she smiled and walked off hand in hand with her mei mei. When service was over, we walked in to find Madelyn and Rachel still working on their match stick crosses (making sure it was perfect). The teachers just raved at how well she did! She followed along and stayed close to Rach. Oh my heart!! I love the idea of Madelyn learning about Jesus with new friends at church. God is sooooooooo GREAT!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Life with Madelyn

Oh my goodness, we're in love with this child! Madelyn is still doing wonderful! We honestly believe this is ONLY because of the Grace of God and the 16+ months we prayed for this child. And I'm talking about all you bloggy friends too!!! Prayer is an amazing thing!!!!

Yesterday we had some pretty heavy tears from Madelyn (finally). I never want to see my kids cry but I felt Madelyn need a good cry to get it all out...And she did...Twice! I held her tight and just let her cry it out. I myself was starting to tear up because it was obvious she was not crying over the fact that one of the girls (who shall remain nameless) upset her, she was crying for home. China home. I prayed over her and gave her lots of sugar and in time she felt better and went off to play with her sisters after one of them apologized for her actions. All the girls are learning how to be sisters. I often wonder how I would be if my parents adopted an older child and I had to welcome this child into our home. I'm always in amazement at how open minded and easy going my children are when it comes to adoption. They have the mind set that there's always room for one more and that makes CJ and I very very proud!

Bonding continues to be easy but I will admit, last week... I. Struggled. I had a few days of endless tears and feeling out numbered and overwhelmed (thank you to my "in-loves" for letting me cry on your shoulder). I felt it difficult to be mama to all of my kids while struggling with jet lag and a touch of a bug. All I wanted to do was sleep and hide!!! Finally, I mustered up the energy to cry out to Jesus and beg him to not allow the enemy to steel my joy of FINALLY having this precious treasure home, in our arms! On my knees I was praying asking Him to please open my heart to this child, the one I knew He chose to be our daughter. Why was I feeling less bonded to her!??!?! Frustration ensued me as I could not think of anything to do other than get into my bible for strength and guidance. Jesus is always faithful, isn't He? I mean, He promised to never leave us or forsake us and the works of His hands are always for the good and His ways are perfect. Always. So I took refuge in Him and opened my bible. Inside I found all the notes I wrote on the stationary from the hotels we were staying in while in China. I reread through tears all the scriptures verses I wrote during our time across the globe and my eyes fell upon this verse....

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." 1 Peter 22

And with that, it clicked. I felt the Lord telling me ... AMY, LOVE HER FROM YOUR HEART! Love this precious child from Your heart. Stop asking questions, stop doubting, stop worrying and Just love her from your heart. And that's what I did. I stopped all the other distractions from the enemy and Just started to love my daughter from my heart. Madelyn's mother's heart. Within a day things changed, the Lord set me Free and I came out of my fog. Praise you Lord Jesus! Thank you!

I was worried for a couple of reasons and many of you know that Linzhi Rose and I had some difficulty in the bonding department for a few months. The Lord worked on me then too but just differently and I see now with adoption #2 that each time IS different. I was so terrified I would not be able to bond that I closed myself off to her (sort of) because I didn't know how to relax and just let it happen. Madelyn engages me, hugs me, kisses me, loves me (and her daddy), Linzhi on the other hand wouldn't let me hold her for more than a few minutes. She didn't engage me, she didn't know what to do with me but WOW she loved her daddy!! And for that I was so grateful because I knew she could bond to someone. If it couldn't be me then I was happy it was her daddy. So in time, we managed to figure out how to be mother and daughter and now it feels like all the bonding issues never even took place! She is my cuddle bug and loves her mama and her mama loves her more than I could ever have imagined. Adoption is not easy. Adoption will bring you to your knees! However... Adoption is full of miracles. Adoption creates forever families. Adoption saves lives. Adoption teaches. Adoption opens children's hearts . Adoption changes lives-forever!

So now we are beginning to get into a new normal. I am working on the school room everyday and loving every minute of it! The girls have been working a few days a week in these booklets I bought so they can keep up on what they learned in Kindergarten and Pre-school. I bought one for Madelyn and let me tell you, our girl is SMART!!! She can't read English but just show her once and she's got it! Actually, all the girls are bright little bee's so I know we're going to have a good time schooling in our little room. We also signed them up for an art class through our area's home school association, acrobats at the dance studio (all three of them) and we'll be attending a reading program at the library and all the activites going on at church. We'll be busy but it's all spread out through the week so we won't be constantly running. Trevor will start his senior (gulp) year home schooling and soon we'll be getting things ready so he can attend the local community college for two years, then he wants to transfer to Columbia college in Chicago. My boy has plans!! His mama can't stand the thought of him leaving in three years....sniff sniff...

Yesterday, we decided it was time we looked into a different vehicle. Currently, I drive a sweet cross over SUV but Madelyn cannot get in it on her own, it's too difficult for her and honestly, my back can't take much more. So we went to see Chad (my cousin's husband) at the local Chrysler dealership inquiring about a...gulp...mini...gulp...van...big gulp. Back in the day, I would profess over and over again that I would NEVER drive a mini van. I didn't feel we had a big enough family to even consider that type of vehicle (insert nervous laugh). However, watching my child struggle to get in and out of my pretty little SUV was enough to break my heart! I called CJ and said it may be time to look. Right now in my garage we have a Chrysler Town and Country Touring (whatever that means). I have to admit, I LOVE IT!!!!! THE KIDS LOVE IT (well,maybe not Trevor) and CJ LOVES IT. Mini van, where have you been all my life???? Do I miss my sweet little SUV... Not at the moment. Will I when it becomes official and I take all my belongings out of it? Maybe a little. Is it amazing to see Madelyn get into a vehicle with ease? Nothing like it!!

I know I'm jumping all over the place here...Hang with me... The sleeping situation...
Within a week, Madelyn is now sleeping in her room with zero issues. Linzhi is back in her bed and Yes, oh Yes, Rachel Catherine is still sleeping in Linzhi's room!!! Linzhi wants Rachel to move but Rachel refuses and Linzhi is easy to change her mind. Oh well, eventually she'll go to her room...That's what her father and I keep saying (trying to convince ourselves)...LOL...

I've been so bad about pictures but I have been able to capture a few sweet moments. Enjoy!!

Sisters forever!
Getting ready for a dip.
Forever daughter.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Praising the Lord, we are home!!! Finally my sweet girls are together and beginning their journey as sisters. I just sent our final post into my adoption website, if you would like to read it, please click this link. http://myadoptionwebsite.com/madelyn (just sent it, might take a bit before it's up)

As soon as I get out of this fog of jet lag, I plan to update my blog on a more regular basis. I think today will be the day I can stay awake past 6 pm!!

Madelyn is doing fantastic! She has been the same happy go lucky little girl since she was placed in our arms on the 19th of July. ONLY by PRAYER, ONLY BY GOD!!!

Love to all!!!!