Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Squish" ,Salads and Sisters

Ellie asked Sophie the other day if she wanted a nickname. 

Sophie said she did and Ellie proceeded to ask her what her favorite thing was. 

Sophie replied, " Squid." 

Ellie didn't think she wanted to call her "Squid," but "Squish" was close.

 So I will be referring to her from now on, affectionately, as "Squish."

Squish has continued to soar academically. She read through her first little reading book and LOVED it. She begged to read it from cover to cover and start her "e" book. I have introduced cursive writing and spelling this week; she did well and loved both. Man, is she easy to teach!!!

Squish is continuously asking about spiritual things. I hope I can remember each of the following inspiring conversations:

"Where is Big Gram?" she asked.

"In heaven," I answered.

" Why heaven you get to see Jesus," inquired Sophie.

"Because that's where He lives," I answered.

"That where God is, too?" she asked.

I proceeded to talk about the very hard concept of the Trinity, explaining the roles of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit in the simplest terms.

After pondering...

"So, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all one and different," she finally responded.

"Yep, you got it!"

The other day while in the kitchen she asked why she should want to go to heaven.

We explained that we disobey God and Jesus took our punishment.We're so grateful to him and know we need/want him to obey. Heaven is for people who have Jesus as their Savior.

"Where you go if not to heaven?" Sophie asked.

"To a place where God isn't...called hell," I said.

"What you do there?" She asked.

"Cry and hurt all the time, like the ulcer you have on your tongue." Shane said.

"Eat what???" she pondered, ".....this  salad?"  ( pointing to the tossed salad sitting in front of her on the bar) 

"Yep, all green veggies!!!!" we all laughed, hysterically!!!

"Sophie no like hell!"

Today we were praying for a friend while in the bathroom brushing my teeth. 

She took my hand, pulling me to my love seat in the bedroom. 

"Come here, Mama. I need to talk to you." 

I sat down and she leaned intently into my face and said,  "Why did Jesus die on the cross and why can't I kahn ( see in Chinese) him?!!" 

"Can you see Grammy right now?" I asked her. 


"No, because she lives in another house. Jesus lives in another house up in heaven and He's making us a house so we can live w/ Him when we die,. But we can talk to Him just like we talk to Grammy. When we talk to Jesus, it's called praying" I said. 

"I want to live in this house in heaven," she said.

I told her that I understood that she liked this house, but that she would like the house that Jesus is making her. 

I told her that once she was at her new house, she wouldn't want to come back to this house. 

Sad, pouty face. "But I really like me (still working on pronouns)house."

I then asked her if she wanted to go back to her China house and she exclaimed, "No." 

"It's the same thing. Once you came here, you liked this house better."

"Oh, okay."

She was quiet for a moment......then....."What about my friends in China who don't know Jesus? Can they come here to me house?"

"Well," I said, "Ellie began praying for you to come home about 6 years ago." 

She exclaimed, " Why you not come get me then?!!!!"

"I didn't know about you till this past February. And then we had to fill out papers and your "i-e's" ( nannies in Chinese) had to fill out papers. I got there as fast as I could to get you!"

I said, "But if you want another brother or sister to come home so she can learn about Jesus, you can start to pray for him/her now and  God will hear you!"

Todd will be glad to hear about this conversation!!!! LOL

Monday, December 6, 2010

What a difference 3 months makes!!!

Wow! Have I grown??
I can't believe it's been almost 3 months since we've welcomed our sweet Sophie Rose into our family! What pure joy she has brought into our midst; I awake daily to new questions as she continues to explore her new world.       

Most days are filled with many crafts, wrestling on the floor, playing the piano, singing in English and Chinese and mounds of laughter. I've learned that she is extremely smart, can laugh at herself, and act completely goofy all the while she is examining every nuance around her. 

She watches how I brush my teeth, walk, drive, cook, sing, play the piano; she asks why about every single situation and eventually we get back to..."Because God is God and we are not." She wants to know why Jesus is God yet He is the Son. ( At first, she thought Jesus was the sun...."Why is Jesus warm, Mommy?" We have had LOTS of discussions about homonyms~ sun, son, break, brake, etc.)

She is speaking in complete sentences, is starting to read and loves math addition and subtraction drills! She has grown about 2 inches since her arrival and is working on mastering a two wheeler and a scooter. She loves playing "Mommy", carefully arranging the furniture in her doll house, any beaded craft and PEOPLE. 
She continues to be a celebrity at church; after she's picked up from children's church, she runs to find a new person to chat with, shares her snack of  dried squid or hangs out with the nearest group of teenagers or singles. Her smile lights up any room upon her entrance.

When we began this journey 4 years, there were no little girls in our cul-de-sac; since then, God has brought 4 families w/ girls 5-8 years old. What a joy it has been to have tea parties, make cookies, ride bikes, read and get to know these families. Sophie is especially close with Katya, Emma and Caroline. Each young lady ( and parents) has been so incredibly kind and generous with Sophie. They share their scooters, ride- on cars and toys. Sophie has been invited to birthday parties and play dates almost weekly. We're so grateful for our neighbors who have welcomed her with open arms.

God has gifted our sweet gal in so many ways; she is athletic~ The coaches at the gym really were impressed w/ her when I took her for a free class! She is has an ear for music; she listens and repeats almost every song she hears and has learned to play the piano by ear. I've taught her some Chinese nursery rhymes and Joy to the World. This past Saturday, she excitedly played one her songs. I complimented her on playing it an octave lower only to find that she had transposed it to another key! She then proceeded to do it to the rest of the songs right before my eyes. To say that I was dumbfounded is an understatement.....Today, I started formally introducing her to the names of the notes and some basic theory!!!  

"When asked what she loves about America, Sophie said, "Hot dogs, pizza, stromboli, Christmas trees, tomatoes, grapes, shopping, piano, coloring, family nights, school, reading books, puzzles, trampoline, staying in my jammies all day, playing with friends and my cash register."

When asked what she doesn't like, she said, "Desserts, English is hard, fighting with Shane, ( which is her antagonizing Shane) and going to the doctor."

I'd say that the good outweigh the bad!!!

The first question most people have for us is~ "How is it adopting an older child?" 

For Todd, Ellie, Shane and I, it's been easier than we read, researched, discussed or ever imagined!

The biggest suggestion I have for folks in any stage of the adoption journey is~  

Trust God! 


Get Godly counsel!

It's sounds simple and cliche', but is truly how we made it through the long 3 year wait for Sophie Rose to come home. I pray the next trial I face that I can say that I trusted God more after it's over. 

We're told, mostly by local Chinese folks, that she is a lucky girl to have an American family. 

We are humbled by God's grace to allow us to raise this amazingly bright, beautiful young lady. 

From a Mama's heart~ Shari

Library Day

Signing on the dotted line...
"I'm getting my very own library card!"

Looking at books
Getting hugs from Miss Linda, our favorite librarian!!!

It took us 5 trips to the library because Miss Linda wasn't working; she has been waiting to meet Sophie and be the one to assist her in getting her own library card!!! It's now official!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fun with Chloe and Carly

"Yum, cookies and crafts!"

Green tongues were had by all!

Marshmallow Holly Wreath No Bake Cookies

From cat form to Kitty Kat Extraordinaire!

Plain dog to adorable " Spot"

Carly, her cookie and her turtle. ( She worked VERY hard on this turtle!!)

The three girls playing "grocery store." What a fun afternoon!

Thanksgiving 2010

Sophie and Mama making stuffing on Wednesday as we listen to Christmas music. Love it!!!!

Playing Wii after dinner and naps!

I forgot to take dinner pictures, but this is dessert!!!

Homemade pumpkin roll by 12 year old, Emily Toth! Delicious!!!

Sophie and Grammy playing Triple Yahtzee!

The crazy game of Curses!!!!  Perfect for our crew!

Every time Matt spoke, he had to give himself "bunny ears."

Courtney had to pretend her arms were only 2 inches long. We laughed until we cried!

Andy accepting his Tony Award in his best Dracula voice as he waved away mosquitoes.

The annual Father/Son Football game

Sophie's First Christmas Tree Decorating Family Night

The piano room before Christmas decorating begins

Boxes everywhere!!!

We always have a special, fun food for family night~  homemade stromboli!!!

Enjoying a break from the action. We cleaned the entire basement before tackling the decorating! Poor daddy was sick and on the couch most of the day.

Our wobbly tree~ Every year we say, "This is the last year for this tree." We'll see!

Sophie found the picture of Jesus' crucifixion in her Bible as we discussed the meaning of Christmas.

Sophie got to arrange all the Christmas books and the nativity scene  by the fireplace!


About half of the ornaments we own....too many!!! We lay them all out and remember who gave them to us! It's always fun to walk down memory lane!

Traditionally, we watch the Miracle on 34th Street!

Todd and I put on the first ornament~ "Our First Christmas"

Ellie adds her favorite.

Shane adding his favorite.

Sophie found her "Sophie" ornament and hung it with great care saying, " My favorite from my new family."

We were all in tears and again she's wondering what all the crying is about! Another successful family night~ Christmas tree decorating  2010

Samaritan's Purse

Sophie shopped for a little girl who has no  home, food or maybe even a mommy and daddy. It was a great experience for her; although, she had an extremely hard time giving up the pink ball. A video was shown in church on Sunday morning and she got to see first hand how poor these children are;  it was helpful for her to see their poverty and she was more willing to part with the ball.

Smiles after tears of not wanting to give away the pretty pink ball! ( See how it is missing in this picture; it was hidden in her shirt!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Leaf Walk

Our leaf walk started after only one cup of 7:30am!! !( I wouldn't have it any other way! wink wink ;) )
Sophie has a great eye for detail!

She found a total of 6 varieties of leaves just in our back yard.

These are some of her painted modeling clay creations she did later in the day.

The night has FINALLY arrived!!!!

"Wow! That's a big stick of butter, Cami!"

Creaming the butter

Huh... Mom???

Hannah cracking her egg

Cami working on hers

How sweet are they? Hannah and Cami's parents have been praying for us from day one of our adoption journey! This night was a culmination of 3 years of waiting! We're so grateful for the Ryan's!

Last, but not least~ the chocolate chips!

" Just keep stirring."

Don't forget eating the batter is half the fun!

Look at those cute, tiny hineys as they wait for the cookies to bake!

Woh-la! Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

All three of these goofy girls would rather eat a plum!!!

Not Ellie and I!!!