Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End Of The Year Roundup

Wow. Do the days just FLY by or what?!?! Since my last entry we have been super busy with Holiday preparations, enjoying my parents who were visiting, and celebrating Christmas together. Below is a quick Cliff Notes version of the last 1 1/2 weeks.

Neil & The Littles making homemade Eggnog

Livie being goofy and sitting in a bucket, subsequently becoming stuck!

Lindsay decides to give Livie a little 'pick me up'!

Our ballerina, Sophie

Sophie sportin' her new 'do'

Look, Mom! I FINALLY have enough (just enough, that is!) hair for pigtails!

Chris coming in the house (via the garage) after his team, The Chargers, goes undefeated to win their Division Championship in Flag Football! Way to go!

The coveted trophy

Medal for MVP
And then came Christmas Morning...

Christmas morning was filled with the laughter of children, 4 tired adults trying to wake up (thank the Lord for coffee! LOL) and a tree filled with gifts for all of those we love. Santa was good to our children, who apparently made the 'nice' list. ;-) Luckily, Neil and I made the list as well.
While it is always a magical time of year, lest we forget the importance of this time, and its meaning in our lives as Christians. Although Christ Jesus was not necessarily born on December 25th, it is the date that we set aside to remember Him and just how awesome He is!
We wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
Mary...and family!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

1st Gift from a BOY!!!

Livie received her 1st birthday gift from a BOY! This adorable shirt and matching socks came from a little boy in Livie's class, Jarrod. Jarrod is adorable. I was thinking that Livie would be embarrassed having received a gift from a boy, but no, she just said, "Jarrod is a nice boy. He gave me a gift today!" Ahhh, the innocense of youth!


Chinese Cultural Classes

Livie and Sophie are taking Chinese Cultural Classes through our local Chinese Cultural organization. While we missed the first class due to having just returned from China, these photos are from the 2nd class/our 1st class. I think there are approximately 8-10 children in this class, this particular week proved to have a small showing due to the Holidays, illness, etc. Regardless, the girls and I had a great time, and Livie in particular is looking forward to learning more.

Mom, Brenda, with our newest FCC-South Florida Member, Mei Li! They have only been home from China a couple of weeks at this point!


Livie & Sophie's Birthdays!

Livie celebrated her 5th Birthday on December 11th. Sophie celebrated her 3rd Birthday on December 15th. We celebrated both Littles' Birthdays as a family on December 13th. We went to a local Bowling Alley (Livie and Sophie's choice for 'what I want to do to celebrate my birthday') where I had reserved our group of 6's "Bowling With The Grinch." While we had a wonderful time bowling, let me add that anytime that "The Grinch" came within 20 feet of Livie the screaming began! All in all we had a terrific time with our little bowlers. :-)

Livie does The Chicken Dance!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Tis The Season

Last Thursday we finally got our Christmas Tree up and decorated. Yes, it is fake, and no, I do not miss having a 'real tree' (if I never have to vaccum up another pine needle again, that is fine by me!). Tree decorated. Done. Christmas/Pine scented candles lite and plug-ins plugged in. Done. Turn down the A/C so that I can light my fake log in my fireplace (hey, what do you expect? The temps here have been between 75-82 degrees!). Turn on Christmas music. Mission completion!

Lindsay gives Sophie a boost

Not waitin' any more!

Our first DTC Yahoo Group...they were really a great bunch of families.

Our 1st Christmas (1991)

Go 'Noles!

We have bought these every year. Last year was definitely our most perfect family ornament yet! This was the year that our family was truly made complete!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Inspirational China Adoption Video

Recently I stumbled upon - quite literally - this family's adoption video on You Tube. They are a Christian Chinese-American Family who are parents to 4 bio children and who return to China to adopt a...GASP!...pre-teen son! Oy! At any rate, this video is incredible, and I wanted to share it with you all. Since Matthew's adoption took place in the Summer of 2005 (coincidentally when we adopted Livie) I am going to attempt to contact the family to see if they will share how all has gone after their adoption. In this day and age of increasing adoptions of boys and of SN children, I am quite interested in their story. Hopefully more details will follow. :-)


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday, Olivia!

Five years ago in China a beautiful little girl was born. This little girl went on to be known as Fu Ai Man. About the time Fu Ai Man was born, Neil felt the leading from God to adopt. Most of you who know us know that I was 'not on the same page'! But time, and prayer, would lead us down an incredible path...

I have never shared this before. This is the 1st known photo (other than her finding ad) of Livie (Fu Ai Man). She is 4 months old in this photo. Here is another amazing Red Thread in our story to Livie: This photo was taken on the day we formally made the decision to adopt from China and submitted our Application to CCAI. There IS a God, and I know He was working hard to bring us to our daughter.

One of Livie's teachers, Miss Kelly. Livie celebrated her big day today at school with all of her friends. Sophie and I brought pizza, cupcakes and juice to help celebrate our Livie turning a 'whole hand'! Later we had a dinner of Chinese Food (Livie's choice!) and more cupcakes with the whole family. We had a wonderful day, and we plan on celebrating Livie's Birthday more through the coming days, since Sophie's birthday (her 3rd birthday!) is on Monday, meaning we are in for a weekend of CELEBRATING!

Livie's friends and classmates

Happy Birthday, Livie!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Photos From Our First Moments In Chongqing

A few photos from our first moments in Chongqing:

Kim (blurred a bit) and Livie as we await retrieving our luggage at the airport in Chongqing.

Livie and Aimee in the Hotel in Chongqing (while Aimee phones home to her Daddy and Siblings!)

Livie and her new friend, Rachel, at Breakfast in Chongqing

Kim and Aimee at breakfast

Nothing like drinking your yogurt through a straw (Chinese yogurt is very thin in its consistancy)

Livie on the first of many bus rides over the next week+