Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Learning from the Best

Harris has been interested in computers and engineering type activities since he was very little.  He didn't really like to play with toys except for maybe Legos or games, but he would gravitate towards pulling things apart and examining things.  He also learned how to operate the computer at a much younger age than the other children. Last week he had the opportunity to attend a camp at Georgia Tech on how do make Apps. Just like Winston this camp was pretty hard to get into and you had to have letters of recommendations from your teachers at school.  He had a blast!!!!!

Moving onto the World Cup, Frank was so thrilled last week when Germany won! He was over the moon and wore his shirt to work one day.  Just to gloat a little he sent out this picture to all his colleagues.

The last picture was taken of Frank on a recent scuba diving trip. It has been a busy but yet slow kind of summer.  Not such a bad thing.  Roman's arm has really slowed us down from exploring and going swimming.  Today he and his friends are going to see the Disney movie Firetrucks and Planes.  He is so excited.  Afterwards, we are going to purchase our school supplies.  School starts in two weeks. The bigger boys are at Scout Camp this week, and my dad arrived from Arizona on Friday.  He is moving here permanently. We are busy looking for an apartment for him.  How about you?  How has your summer been? Do you have any big plans for the last few weeks of summer?  Well, I am off to the gym.  Have a great day!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Round 2 Broken Arm

As promised, here is a photo of Roman with his broken arm.  This makes the 2nd broken arm.  He broke his arm three years ago when he was 4 wrestling with his older brother Harris.  This time he was wrestling with Winston.  When is he going to learn that he is no match for his older brothers. It is OK Roman because I broke my arm 2 times too!  I was 5 when I broke my arm.  The first was when I was running over to the neighbors house and I tripped over their flower pot.  The second was just a week after I got my cast off and was in the same neighbors yard. I was trying to roller skate. I fell on the driveway and broke it again. Roman broke both bones closer up by his elbow this time.  The first time was closer to his wrist.  He has to wear the cast for at least three more weeks.  When we went to the doctor on Friday, the bones in his arm has shifted by 16 degrees and they had to reset his arm.  Poor kid!  He is so sad.  He can't really play and he can't go swimming.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Corner View "Inner Child"

I love children.  They live so in the moment.  No worries, carefree where simple things matter the most.  Take my daughters begin just about every day with the request to paint.  It starts off on paper than moves to the table and then all over them.  They don't care how they look.  Who needs a fancy meal when you can make pizza.  Tuna with potato chips brings out the inner child in me.  Crazy combination!  Not sure who in my family invented it, but I love it.  No tomato for me just add the chips pretty please.  Blowing bubbles, swinging on the swing, squishing your feet in mud these all bring back happy moments for me and so every once in a while I will jump on the swing and pump my legs back and forth until I get so high I feel like I can fly touching the sky.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Strawberry Lemonade

Does anything say summer better than lemonade and even better strawberry lemonade?  Over the years I have been working on the perfecting of this recipe.  It is so simple!  2 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of frozen strawberries pureed  and cold water.  While it would be easier to use unfrozen strawberries, I like to use frozen because you won't have to add ice cubes to the mixture and therefore you won't dilute your lemonade.  When you puree your strawberries just use water that you would otherwise add to your pitcher.  Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!  So perfect for a hot summer day.  Perfect when you want to serve something a little fancy without alcohol.  You could also use sparkling water instead of tap water.  So refreshing!  Happy Summer!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Williamsburg, Virginia "Corner View- Replace"

I may have told this story before I am not sure, but a few years ago I went up north to visit a friend I hadn't seen since my collage days.  Anyways, a few days before I was to travel I was confirming up details of the trip with this friend and was met with a little resistance to our visit.  When I pressed further it came out that she was nervous to meet me because she was afraid that I would judge her home and her life because when she compared it to mine she felt they did not match up.  See, she was basing her idea of my life from what she had seen on my blog.  Blogs are kind of funny things along with social media in that the person releasing the information controls the image they want to portray.  They may or may not post a picture of themselves that is less than flattering or the true reality of what is going on in their life.  Some people do replace their true lives all together by sending out a life that is not truly theirs. In the end, I reassured my friend that it is not all rainbows and unicorns all the time and that we like many families are not eating steak every night for dinner. My children are not always cooperative, and while they are pretty good children they are far from perfect.  We have a teen in the house and one soon to be teen, so I am sure you can fill in the rest. Having come from humble beginnings, I could certainly understand a couple struggling through paying back collage loans and starting a life together.  Infact, I worry about this for my own children in that the way they are growing up is completely different from the way I grew up.  Will they appreciate what they have as much as I do? They have not had to struggle like my husband and I did growing up!  So in keeping my blog real, I am telling you this past week in Williamsburg kind of stunk. You may not see it in the photos, but it was a hard week for us!  I made an error when booking our accommodations. I booked too small of a condo unit for our family.  It was the first time we had all traveled together as a family of 7!  The little girls wouldn't go to bed because it was noisy and the two of them fed off of each other. There was a huge learning curve this week in that I learned having children of three different age groups leads to children with different needs that just could not all be met.  I will not go into all the details of the trip, but needless to say we are going to have to put traveling back to Europe with the children on the back burner until the girls are a bit older.  On a positive note, the bigger boys did have a good time going to Busch Gardens and even got me to go on a couple of rollercoasters with them.  Avery went to the beach for the first time and while she wasn't thrilled with the experience it is under her belt.  Her papa taught her how to jump off the side of the pool. She can now go in the water without crying and can kick her way across the pool using her floaty.  We did get to spend the week together as a family which is rare and the children were able to learn about American history by participating in the tours of Colonial Williamsburg-such a fun place to go for all ages.

Sadly, 5 minutes after just getting home Roman broke his arm in a double break (pictures soon to come.)  Also, I learned my grandfather had a small heart attack last night.  He is OK now, but we are still waiting for test to come back with more information on what is going on.  I want a summer re-do please.  I want to replace the bad and praying that the last few weeks of summer will bring nothing but good our way.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Growth "Corner View"

 Avery's first few minutes with us so sad and scared.

 4 days later getting ready for her first plane ride to Guangzhou

 day 11 getting ready to say good bye to China

 Hello Hong Kong!
 Getting to know Oma

 Growing more and more each day!

 First Easter

 Forever in our Arms in the sight of God!

 Surgery to correct her Eyes

A blessing and a name

This week Avery will have been with our family 6 months.  It is so hard to believe that 6 months ago we met this sweet little girl who was sad and scared in China!  Do you even recognize her?  She has changed so much over the past 6 months. She has not only grown a couple inches taller, but has gained 6 pounds!  While we may have missed the first time she smiled, got her first tooth, crawled., or even walked  we now have the opportunity to experience many first in her life.  She is blooming. She went from barely walking when we got her to now running and jumping in place. She tasted her first ice cream, went to church, and is about to go on her third road trip.  She is adored by all family members and puts a smile on just about every persons face she meets.  She became a citizen, is about to get her social security card, and will soon have an American passport to fill with stamps from around he world.  She went from not liking us to loving us and from barely talking to now speaking in sentences. She loves music and is getting braver and braver each day in the pool. She is smart as can be and can hold her own now in this crazy house of 7. She lights up our lives and we are so happy to have her in our family.
Thank you Avery for coming to our family!
We love you so much!
6 months Yahoo!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Three means you are no longer an toddler, but a big girl and that is what Addy is becoming.  She is on the verge leaving all things baby behind.  She is almost completely potty trained , but needs to make the leap of staying dry through the night.  Bottles are another big hurtle as she is super attached to them.  I have tried just about every sippy cup on the planet and she is not buying them.  She is kind of a terrorist when it comes to what she wants.  She is so stronged will!  I probably need to hire a therapist or something in learning how to deal with her because if I don't we are in big trouble down the road.  I did stand my ground with her today and after 10 minutes of repeating myself she finally did what I asked her to do.  Anyway, I am digressing as this was post was meant to celebrate her birthday.  Addy turned three last week, but because of Avery's surgery we had to postpone her party until this week when Avery could get back in the pool again.  The kids had so much fun swimming.  It was a perfect party!  Happy Birthday Baby Girl! Papa and Mommy love you so much!  Your on your way to becoming a big girl!  Love you!  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Baby H Photoshoot Part 2

It is one thing to take photos of your own children and another of someone else's children.  This past week I completed the photoshoot of Baby H and her family. It was a huge learning experience. I have always been in awe of photographers and the magic they create through the lens. So many things go into making a great photo such as location, time of day, clothing, the camera being used and the lens you choose to use, and with children their willingness to cooperate.  Let's not forget editing because the photographers ability to use Photoshoot and Lightroom translate into maybe a photo that was not usable becomes usable because a switch of a head or a complete cut out of an unwanted item.  Sadly, my Photoshop skills are not their yet.  I wish they were because then maybe I could have saved this last photo. Mom really wanted a photo of all three children, but big sister wasn't buying having her photo taken. We tried everything.  The whole photoshoot mom and I danced around her trying to get her to smile.  Needless to say, the shot didn't happen.  I do find the photo kind of funny.  Thankfully her parents were able to find humor in the moment too!  Being on the other side of the lens I know when you have photos taken you want great photos and it can be disappointing when your children don't want to cooperate.  That is probably one of the reason  These are just a few of the shots that were taken I think they came out pretty good for an amateur.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Winston Goes to Georgia Tech!

Each summer Georgia Tech provides summer camps for students of various age groups.  The camps are pretty difficult to get into and you have to have your school officials sign that you are capable of the work that you will be doing while at the camp.  This year Winston had the opportunity to attend a camp that focused on Architecture.  The students studied the history of architecture, its importance, visited an architectural firm, an then were challenged to create their own street front.  On the final day of camp the children gave a presentation off what they learned. It was a really great experience for Winston.  Harris will be attending a camp at Tech at the end of July on how to develop Apps for computers.

Wow!  What a month it has been and it is still not over.  When I was initially looking at the calender it didn't look like we had much going on, but we have been so busy.  Last night we went to see the Movie How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Harris went to a camp out in friends backyard.  This week we have a couple of follow up doctor appointments, I need to get my hair done for our vacation next week to Williamsburg, Addy is having her birthday party as she turned 3 on Friday, and a homecoming for a family who is bringing their 6th child home from China.  On top of that the World Cup has been on the television every night.  Wow! Who would have thought Spain the winners of 2010 World Cup would have gone home after the first round and U.S.A is playing amazing against Portugal. Along with who would have thought Germany would have not won it's game against Ghana!  Are you watching the games?  What is one your plate this week?  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Her Eyes

There is so much we don't know about Avery.  I try not to think about it because it makes me sad.  I don't know who her biological  parents are, where she was born, when she was born, or any of the medical information that goes along with her birth.  She was abandoned.  Sadly this is the reality for many children in China because of the one child policy and because many parents can't afford medical treatment for their children they just abandon them; however, because it is illegal to abandon your child these children are left in secret with no information in regards to their birth.  When we got Avery she came to us with an eye condition called Stabismus or otherwise known as cross-eyed.  This condition can be present at birth or can occur from lack of brain stimulation like being left in a crib for extended periods of time.  The later is probably the case for Avery, but we will never really know.  When we brought her home we took her to an eye doctor who determined that she would need to wear an eye patch for 2 months and then she would need to have her eyes surgically repaired.  Yesterday was the day.  We arrived at the clinic at 6:30 a.m. and she was the first patient of the day.  The procedure lasted 45 minutes in which they cut the muscle in the eye and re-align the eyes. Sometimes just one eye is effected, but in her case both eyes needed to be repaired.  Poor thing was so sad when we held her again.  She spent most of yesterday in my arms either sleeping or crying as her eyes were sore.  We will be laying low the next couple of days in order to give her eyes time to heal.  We also have to put eye drops in her eyes 4 times a day.  She hates the drops as they sting, but are necessary in order to prevent infection.  While I know this was the best thing for her and her development, I am going to miss her silly eyes that at times were kind of freaky; especially, when she would turn the left eye all the way in.  I have heard mothers say after having their cleft lip-cleft palate children lips repaired that they mourn the loss of the smile they grew to love and this is the case for me with Avery, and at the same time I am so grateful she has the opportunity to have this repaired.  This would have never been the case in China.