Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Explorium of Lexington

Before meeting up with our travel group the other evening, we took the girls to the Explorium of Lexington, a hands on children's fun and learning environment. The girls LOVED being able to touch everything since typically they are hearing "don't touch" when we are out somewhere. ha. The first thing we came across when we went in was one of the waterway things where you can divert the water. Ryan & Emma had played with one of these in a children's museum in Chicago and really enjoyed it. Of course Rebecca loved it too and really didn't want to move on to anything else ... that is, until she spotted the horses. Baby girl loves horses! Then she discovered a little hospital type area with baby dolls and subsequently spent a lot of time caring for the babies. She has such a sweet little heart!

Travel Group Reunion

We had the great pleasure of meeting up this past weekend with several of the families we traveled to China with back in 2005. All of our daughters came from the same orphanage and within our group, several of our girls shared a room together. Several families live in Kentucky but others are spread out as far as Virginia, Texas and Chicago to name a few. You just can't imagine what a treat it is to see the girls, see how much they have grown and then to watch them all playing together. We're so thankful that it's important to many of us that our girls have as much of a relationship as they can have.

We met up on Friday night and let the girls just hang out at the pool together and then on Saturday we went to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. It's hard to believe we've been here since 2001 and had yet to have visited there. What an awesome place!

Here's some pictures from the Horse Park on Saturday, I'll post some from the pool party later.

Pony rides were a huge hit with the girls!
This is Emma and her friend Jubilee. They really seemed to hit it off and played a lot together. Which is funny, because we really hit it off with her parents when we traveled with them. Their son John Randall is the same age as Ryan and they had taken him on the trip so he and Ryan had lots of fun hanging out together. In these two shots, I caught the girls playing this little game of peeking around a pole at each other which really made the little dumplings giggle!

This is Mary with Jubilee and Emma. She is from the Virginia area and is just as sweet as can be! What's even neater ... and a long, long story - but her older sister named Rebekah traveled to China recently to do some volunteer work. You'll never guess where she ended up? The Starfish Home! Which is the home our Rebecca lived in. Isn't that too cool! Her mother figured it out in a round about way & sent me an email asking if that's where Bex was from. Really, what's the statistical chance of that happening?
More shots of Jubilee & Emma.

From left to right: Rebecca, Jubilee, Emma, Sheridan & Mary
We met up at the fountain first thing that morning to get a quick shot before it was too hard to get them all back together again!

Left to right: Erin, Amy (a new little sister to Jillian), Rebecca, Sheridan, Kate, Jillian, Emma & Jubilee

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Goose Landed ... And Then Took Off Again

Not sure if I've shared this before but Ryan's nickname is Goose. Not sure how it started because early on I called him my baby bear. Which coincidentally is how Brian is now referred to as "papa", as in papa bear as opposed to being called Dad. But, that's neither here nor there.

It's been a whirlwind of a weekend. Ryan flew back into the 'Ville late Saturday afternoon, we had a birthday party to go to that evening, church on Sunday and then a church social Sunday night. Whew. Not much time to catch up with my goose since I also had to get his laundry done in that time frame as well. The little stinker then left for church camp today. He's such a busy little guy.

From what I did find out though, he had a wonderful time at Space & Aviation camp and is already looking forward to getting to go next year. It sounds like they kept the little guys busy from sun up to sun down.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I know, I know ... a few days late but it's been hectic around here. The girls & I had a great day with Brian. He's such a sweet papa and husband.

Happy Belated Father's Day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Unaccompanied Minor

Unaccompanied Minor. That was Ryan's status when he boarded the plane for a space and aviation camp in Oklahoma this morning. Part of my heart taxied down the runway and flew out of Louisville. The little stinker has been on several flights and to China twice but this is his first time to fly alone. I'm sure he's fine, but me - well, that could be another story.

There's no way I could count the number of times he has told me how excited he is to get to go and I'm excited for him too but Im going to miss the little guy.

Have a safe & fun trip Ryan ... your mama misses you already!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baseball According to Bex

Rebecca has now been with us for 5 months. We've always been a family on the go so from the time she landed in the 'Ville she was thrust into the action packed calendar. Basketball season was in full swing when we first got her home and that had no more finished when baseball started up for Ryan and then t-ball for Emma. So needless to say, she's seen her fair share of games and practices in these past 5 months.

Last night Ryan challenged us to a game of t-ball/baseball - the girls against the boys. Rebecca was all excited about getting to play and had a huge smile on her face and was clapping her little hands in glee. While Ryan was setting up the T and gathering up the balls, little Rebecca disappeared into the garage only to emerge with a glove on her hand. But not just any glove ... she came out with a little girl's gardening glove. This cracked me up on several fronts. First, she correctly chose just one glove and there are two pairs of girl's gardening gloves in the garage so she very well knew she needed just one. Secondly, she is left handed and she put it on her right hand to keep her left hand free for throwing the ball. I didn't catch this with my camera, but she would also do this little double clap thing while she was playing that is an exact mimic of what Ryan does when he's on the ball field. A "let's go team" kind of clap. Priceless, absolutely priceless.

Dumplings Squared

I'm finally getting a picture of the adorable dress that our friends bought for Rebecca. Thank you Leslie, Marla & Cynthia - it's adorable!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Celebrating With Ryan

We took Ryan out to dinner, sans sisters, to celebrate making all A's on every report card he received from K through 5th grade. Hopefully he will continue that tradition when he moves on to middle school. A friend from church had been asking to spend some time with the girls so we took her up on her gracious offer and of course they had a blast with her. Ryan really seemed to enjoy some one on one time with us.

He loves Japanese steak houses so we took him to Shogun for his evening out. The chef was cutting up with him and we all had so much fun. We really got a big laugh when the chef tossed a small bit of rice at Ryan and he caught it in his mouth! I declined that little piece of fun and frivolity. Ryan cracks us up because as skinny as he is, the child can eat like no tomorrow. The chef must have sensed this because when he was doling the rice out he put just a tiny bit on Ryan's plate, then asked him if he wanted more - all the while you could see an ornery grin on his face. After he had Ryan laughing up a storm he filled his plate FULL of rice. The family we shared the table with could not believe he ate it all!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Welcome Home Baby Kate!

Earlier this month we welcomed our friends Shawn, Melissa & Leah home with their new little bundle of Joy, Kate. Adorable. Absolutely adorable. Little eyes that twinkle like stars in the night, she's one amazing little girl!

There's just nothing like being at the airport and welcoming home families with their new babies and knowing their new children are coming home to a life time of love. The emotions just overtake me sometimes. I took my camera to catch these moments with them being welcomed by their extended family, but I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't get nearly as many shots as I wanted ... and a lot of the ones I did get were blurry. Emotions and telephoto lenses do not go hand in hand!

We're so thankful for the friendships we have made along this journey of life and made possible by the kinship of adoption. Each friendship unique in its own way. People who love life and who are so much fun to be around. Friends here in theLouisville area and friends coast to coast. All of whom we are so thankful for!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pool Side

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Open and Shut

I took this picture of Ryan on his first day of Kindergarten. He made it pretty clear that he did not need me to walk him in but he did allow me to take a few shots of him doing it himself. I was back in the van and on my way to work before the tears set in, heaven forbid I let him see me cry that day. I swear, it seems as though that was only yesterday.

In keeping with tradition I had to get a shot of him shutting the door. It would appear to me that at some point they moved the door handles down :-)
Goodbye Simpsonville Elementary ... hope you're ready for Emma to walk through the doors this fall!

5th Grade Awards Ceremony

The elementary awards ceremony was held on the last day of Ryan's school. I'm ashamed to admit that this was the first one I was able to attend the entire time Ryan has been going to school there. I had no idea there were so many parents who attended, and quite frankly it made me feel terrible that I had always put work ahead of things like that. On the other hand though, over the 5 years he was there I was able to attend several of their parties.

Ryan won several awards including Honor Roll and he also received an award for making A's on every progress report as well as every report card. Hopefully he'll keep that up! The one that touched me the most however was when he won the boy's "Citizen of the Year" for his class. He won this award when he was in second grade also but we were in China during that time and he missed the ceremony.

We are so proud of him! Good job Ryan!

Madison & Ryan - I need to find a cute picture I have of them when they were around 6.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two Little Dumplings

Friday, June 12, 2009

Class of 2016

To continue with the whole "end of school year" theme, I'll throw this in the mix. Class of 2016. Yes, that's exactly it ... class of 2016. Something I can't quite wrap my mind around but that's what they had spelled out with cupcakes at Ryan's 5th grade graduation.

There were several events to round out the school year for Ryan. We attended his 5th grade celebration (sort of like a graduation) on the 26th. It was a little difficult for me as I sat there and watched him with his buddies that he has had since they were all in preschool together at the ripe old age of 4. When did the toddler chubby leave their little bodies. It's amazing to me, you look at them and they are so different now but yet still the same. I also had to wonder that if I'm getting so emotional over 5th grade graduation, how the heck am I going to handle high school graduation. 2016. It will be here before we know it.

The 2016 theme came up again at Field Day which was held on the next to last day of school. I didn't realize until later but I had not been to any of his field days since he was in kindergarten due to work conflicts, saving vacation days for adoptions and a host of what seemed like valid excuses at the time. Check this out, here's one picture from field day in 2004 when he was a pesky little kindergartener and then one in 09 as a big ol' strapping 5th grader. Goodness.

Their awards ceremony was held on the last day of school but I'll have to share about that later. I need to find the box of kleenex before I head up to bed. My baby boy is growing up ....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Catching Up & End of School Year - Part 4 - Rebecca Graduates from Parents Day Out

We were home with little Rebecca just a few days when Emma had to return to preschool and it was very difficult on her when we dropped Emma off each day. She would just cry and cry and tell me that she wanted to go to school too. Thankfully our church also has a parents day out program but they only had one opening for one day a week. We signed Rebecca up not really knowing how she would do but she LOVED it! It was school to her, especially since she got to walk in with Emma.

She was really cute in their little graduation ceremony too and she went up on the stage with the other children and sang the songs with them ... all with the cutest little grin on her face. She was quite proud of herself and is already looking forward to "school" (preschool) starting up in the fall.