Saturday, May 31, 2008

Popcorn, the Prince & Bubbles

For how small Sarah is, the girl can sure pack away the movie theatre popcorn! I think the most I've EVER seen her eat of any one thing is movie popcorn -- we bought the large bucket for the three of us to share and went back for the free refill! We went to see "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and Sarah really enjoyed it -- not sure if she thought the movie was better or the popcorn!! She's so darn cute we just had to take a photo of her at the theatre modeling the latest in "Prince Caspian" movie posters!

While the movie was fun for all three of us, I think the most fun has been had by a $1 container of bubbles and $1 water guns! I have to admit I let Kevin take the brunt of the water guns as I was working on a cooking contest when they decided it was time to head outside and "fight the good water fight"! Now, Sarah has decided she needs an even BIGGER super-soaker water gun and being the smart girl she is she's decided that she'll get the BIG water gun and give Kevin and even SMALLER gun than the one he has!

A few more bubble photos -- please note the PINK bubbles -- but, then again, is there really any other color in the world?!?!?!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Who Doesn't Love a ROUND Chair?!?!

What's that old saying -- "When it rains, it pours"?!?!? Within the past few weeks we've been out looking for new living room chairs as our two recliners have decided to go "into retirement" -- we didn't ask them to retire, they just decided on their own to throw off their springs (chair #1) and to recline to the point that you almost tip over (chair #2).

And then a few days ago our washing machine decided it would be too lonely without the reclining chairs around so it "gave up the ghost" as well. So, we've been out shopping.

I took a few photos just for fun as Miss Sarah has decided that we need to stop being "old farts" with reclining chairs and go a bit "MOD" and get this big round revolving chair! We've actually been back to this store twice and now she's calling it "her chair" and wanting to know when it will be arriving at our house! She promises to love it and feed it and clean up after it!

Us "old farts" think maybe a nice neutral couch might be a better option, but Sarah plays the "baby bear" and sits on each couch we like and says "too hard" or "too soft", but the big round chair is always "just right!"

Now, she has toyed with the idea of the massage chair (below) with it's $996 price tag (yeah, right we're paying that much for a chair!) but keeps coming back to "her round chair" -- although she's convinced somebody bought the first round chair she sat in and during our second visit to the store that "her chair" has been replaced with an impostor. I'm pretty sure that big round revolving chairs don't just fly out the store's front door, but then again who knows!

And we just started today to shop for a washing machine but became so confused with front loaders and top loaders and steam functions -- oh, my! At this rate of indecision between the three of us it may take YEARS and we'll have flat butts from having to sit on the floor since we have no chairs and nobody will get near us with our unwashed clothes!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Precious Moments -- Indeed!

As the photo above illustrates -- Sarah says, "Wow! Has this been a FUN week!" Sarah's Grandma "Mimi" and Grandpa "Papa" have been visiting and just left this morning. We had a wonderful visit.

Sarah and Mimi both like to knit so the girls pulled out their projects and did a bit of knitting together. Sarah is making a pink and white (can you believe it -- PINK!) scarf and Mimi is working on a scarf as well as a hat.

Papa and Kevin didn't have much knitting they needed to do, so they headed outside for more "manly" projects like putting in our garden! They did such a great job and now we hope to have loads of fresh veggies soon! I can't wait to try the seven or so different kinds of tomatoes they put in. There are a couple heirloom tomatoes and a "Turkish" tomato plant that we picked up at the farmer's market. At the farmer's market, we also bought chocolate-mint and lemon-mint plants and Sarah has already enjoyed an iced tea with lemon-mint leaves!

It's not uncommon while we are out for Sarah to be given a little extra "attention" from time to time and the farmer's market was no different. The man who sold us the tomato and mint plants put together an "edible bouquet" of fragrant and beautiful flowers and herbs and handed it to Sarah -- "for a beautiful young girl" he said. She didn't' quite know what to make of the gesture and kept asking us why the man had been so nice and had given her the flowers.

Mimi, Sarah and I took a little trip to the Precious Moments Chapel and Museum. Sarah was excited to go as she's been drawing Precious Moments figures for awhile now. In China she had bought a page of Precious Moments stickers where each sticker is about one inch tall by one inch wide. She looks at a sticker and then reproduces it on a regular 8-1/2 by 11 inch piece of paper. She was doing some of these at school and the other students thought she was enlarging the sticker with some kind of machine and then tracing the outline -- but in reality she just looks at the sticker and then can draw it.

For having had no art training at all, we think her drawings are unbelievable and just gorgeous. While she was in school, she took a three-ring notebook full of blank white paper and would draw when she had extra time. The first photo below is one she drew for Kevin and she even put his name on the sling-shot in the boy's back pocket. And they look just like the stickers. You can't see it in the photos, but she's even used different shades of colored pencils to match the colors in the stickers.

And here she is enjoying the chapel paintings at the Precious Moments Park. She also used the trip as an excuse to wear one of her dresses, jewelry, etc!! She LOVES to get all dressed up!

Speaking of getting all dressed up, is any visit by your grandparents complete without asking your grandpa to wear earrings?!? (And then taking a photo of it!). Sarah had pulled out the small jewelry box I have from my great-grandmother (Papa's grandmother) which has old costume jewelry in it. She took two earrings out to Papa and asked him if he remembered them or not. To "jog" his memory, she put the earring on him and he was a good sport and went along with it! He looks so good in rhinestones and faux pearls!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What? Trout Don't Come in PINK!?!??!?!

Pink fishing pole? CHECK

Pink tackle box? CHECK

Pink bait? CHECK

Pink hooks? CHECK

Pink chair? CHECK

Pink hat? CHECK

Pink shirt? CHECK

Pink trout? Nope ....WHAT??!?!?!? No pink trout!!!?!?!?

We had a GREAT day today! Sarah has been wanting to go fishing for a long time -- so long in fact that for Christmas Grandma Rose and Grandpa Rick bought her the pink pole, pink box, pink bait/hooks and pink chair. We loaded up the van and headed down to Roaring River State Park for the day. We had wanted to go yesterday but it was "Kid's Day" which offered free fishing, free food, games and more and after hearing how many kids showed up we are glad we waited the extra day.

On her second cast, Sarah caught what would wind-up being the ONLY fish caught for the day. Even without catching more fish, she was so happy that she fished for about 2-1/2 hours!

At one point, a water snake swam across the stream right towards us and I called out to her to quickly come up from the water. I thought "this will be it -- we'll be packing up to go" but as soon as the snake swam away she was right back down at the water and casting away.

Anther thing about Miss Sarah is that she loves animals and animals love her! For about an hour, she had butterflies that literally sat by her feet. It started with two landing by her and gradually more came so at one point there were six butterflies enjoying the day with her. Even when she would move to cast her pole they would sit right there! It was the most amazing thing!

The weather was gorgeous and we enjoyed a great family day together!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our Little Angel is Kicking Butt!

Last night was Sarah's first solo attempt at sparring in taekwondo! Yep, that's her with all the protective gear on. Her gear includes what you see above plus shin pads which are under her pants.

Her first match was against a girl who is a bit younger than her, but who also is a first stage BLACK BELT! The other girl has been sparring for at least 10 months so far so Sarah did an awesome job with getting right in there and holding her own.

With sparring, you are allowed to kick or hit anywhere above the belt (including the head) but you can't kick or hit the person in the back. Sarah is still learning the various kicks, blocks and punches, but she got in a few good whollops last night!

At the end of the night the teacher had all the girls together go against all the boys together -- and of the 9 people in Sarah's class, 6 of them are first degree black belts. She was a little hesitant at first, but then she got in there and landed a few kicks!

As hard as it is for a mother and father to say, -- Our Little Angel is Kicking Butt!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day -- my first Mother's Day. Sarah and Kevin treated me to one of my favorite breakfasts -- Starbucks coffee and peanut butter and jelly toast, only this was extra special because the toast had hearts on top! Sarah made me a card with pumpkins all over it (my favorite too!) and she and Kev had bought a card where you can record a message inside and they had recorded a cute Mother's Day wish for me. Sarah had wanted to buy me a color changing ring from the mall but when Kevin took her back the ring was gone so they surprised me with my one of my favorite items from Bath and Body Works. It was perfect!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rube Goldberg Science Project -- Yep, It's PINK!

Rube Goldberg 7th Grade Science Project
by Sarah

Last night was "Family Science Night" at school so the students could show off their Rube Goldberg Science Projects -- projects which have been in the works for well over a month. The concept of the Rube Goldberg project is to start one energy motion which in turn transfers energy to other objects and in the final energy transfer the project has to either drop a coin in a bank OR turn the page of a book. Students were to use various means to accomplish this from levels to pulleys to wedges to wheel/axle, etc. And the items used were to be things found around the house. In all, the project needed 5 energy transfers and if it had 8 or more transfers the student received extra credit. Also, each student needed a flow chart and a drawing of the final design. Extra credit came from adding photos and a poster presentation as well as participating at family night.

For 7th grade, we thought this seemed like a very large undertaking for a school project and our sentiments were echoed by other parents. While there was a tad bit of complaining (by students AND parents), the students seemed very excited to show everyone what they had done and there were many parents just as nervous as the kids! And I'm not sure how some of the projects were carted to school as they were HUGE!!!!

Many of the projects clearly had a lot of parental intervention to include toilet floats activated with water, intricate pulley systems, sand activated "hour glass" reactions and more hoses and piping that probably go into building a whole new house! And I'm pretty sure the local Walmarts are sold out of dominoes!!!

Sarah really liked adding the personal touch to hers -- pink paint, hearts and butterflies! We had searched for ball bearings or some type of heavy round ball so the descending bucket would be heavy enough to pull the hamster wheel around, but after trying three different stores without success, adding money to the cup before the marbles dropped in gave it enough weight to work. The hamster wheel pulled up a small toy game from the dollar store which released a marble which hit the first domino to set it the string in motion. The dominoes climbed a stair step toy and hit a golf ball off the edge of the platform. The car below had been "pre-revved up" and held in place with a piece of stick glued to the base. When the golf ball fell off it landed on the back of the car and popped the front end up enough to allow it to pass the stick. In turn, as the car headed down the pathway, a string attached to the car and fed through a paperclip on a guide-wire pulled the page of the book over. Whew!

Earlier in the day, the students had set the projects up in class and demonstrated them for the teacher to earn their grade. Sarah's went off without a hitch and didn't need any kind of "kick-start" which is really good because at home about half the time the project got stuck! But she had worked with it and tinkered with a few areas and she learned the best place to put the car and the optimal spot to launch the golf ball from. The evening showing was just for parents and for the teacher to video some of the projects.

When we entered the gym, Sarah set up her project so she could set it in motion when the teacher came by. Everything was ready so we headed off to see the other projects and so Sarah could introduce us to her friends. BUT, when we returned, someone had decided not only to set Sarah's project in motion, but this person also took the starting "stick" which is what holds the marbles in place before the project starts. So, I dug through my purse and came up with a subway receipt from our trip to NYC, folded it up and she was able to use it to set her project up again. This time, though, she was hurried so when the teacher came by with the video camera her project didn't flow right and had to be kick-started a few times when it go stuck. I'm pretty sure I saw a little bit of smoke come out of her ears!

But when the teacher told her she had earned an "A" for the project, the smoke subsided and she happily carted her pink project out to the car and we headed home.

Now, where to store this thing?!?!?!? OH.... I know! Somebody is getting a really home-made gift for Christmas!!!! Will it be you!?!?!??!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Revin' Up the Blog Again - Ye, Haw!

Hi Everyone~

Well, it's been a long time since anything new has been added to this blog because we wanted to give Sarah some time for her transition to her new life as part of our family as well as to life in the US, life at a new school, etc. She is doing AWESOME with everything! (More of that in future posts!)

Recently we asked her if she would like for us to continue the blog or not and she said she would like to share some of her story with others. While there are many, many parts of her life as well as our life that will remain "just for us", we hope to be able to share a small sliver with friends we've met along the way.

Quite honestly, we're not sure how many people read this blog, especially concerning people in the adoption community who are considering older child adoption or those who have already adopted older children. When we started our journey to adopt Sarah, we had so many people who had questions about older child adoption or who simply wanted to share in our joy. At the beginning, we had no idea what to expect (and still don't on a 'day to day' basis!) and weren't able to offer any suggestions to others who were looking to adopt. While we've only been home 8 months, we have a few things "under our belt" now and a daughter who has learned so much English and is able to offer suggestions as well. So, if anyone would like me (Debbi) to concentrate on anything in particular in upcoming posts, just leave me a note in the comments or email me. We absolutely are NOT any kind of expert by any means, but just a little family of 3 who are on the most amazing journey together!

Now, what most of you want to see ... a few photos of Sarah! AKA - the girl in pink!