Friday, December 31, 2010

Do the Caterpillar!

We shot this short video of some of the children doing the "caterpillar" during preschool. Here are some awards that we've assigned after watching the video. Feel free to comment with your own!

- Wiggliest (Robert)
- Sleepiest  (Jack)
- Coolest (Joel)
- Most un-caterpillar like (Ethan)
- Most Joyful (Willa)
- Fastest (Tony)
- Best form (Vincent)
- Best able to navigate through traffic  (Emelia)
- Most out of the box (Reagan)

Enjoy!


Do the Caterpillar from New Day Foster Home on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Metamorphosis

Have you ever watched the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly? It's an amazing thing to watch, and it's not too dissimilar to what we see go on here every day! We love to talk about transformations. The changes that can take place in such a short time because of love are incredible.



A dance teacher from Beijing helped the children through a bunch of different moves imitating a variety of creatures. The children did the "caterpillar" by commando crawling through tunnels and around curves. It was a lot of fun.

See Donovan up there? He's a handsome little boy who is quickly emerging from his cocoon!



Ethan's wingspan is unmatched! He, Vincent and Donovan are three of the oldest boys in our foster home and watching them "find their wings" is an  exhilarating experience! We're so blessed to be able to be part of their "metamorphosis!"

You can see more pictures of this fun dance lesson on our scrapbook.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Update on Elizabeth's School Project

Look at Elizabeth's sweet potato now!!

It has grown so much and doing very well. Since this is her school project, she has taken complete care of it. Every now and then we have to remind her to not forget to water it. The beans she grew, on the other hand, are no longer with us. She has learned many lessons from these two projects. One thing was that if you water your beans too much, they die! We didn't realize she was watering them EVERY day until it was too late:( Another thing she learned was that if your plants don't get enough sunlight, they begin to show signs such as yellowing of the leaves. This lesson was learned due to the Christmas season. We'd previously had her place it in the window on the south side where it was doing quite well. Sunlight hit it much of the day. Then, when Christmas season approached and we needed that window for the Christmas tree, it got moved to the other side of the house. It did fine for a couple of weeks, but soon began to show evidence of not enough light and the leaves began to yellow. Since we certainly didn't want it to die, we made room for it over by the Christmas tree near the window it previously loved so much! We are happy to report that it is now doing wonderfully once again!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Friends

There's no question here about whether the children "get along" or not; they love each other! 

Just the other day we received a package of goodies from YeYe Donnie. In the package was some candy, scarves, hats, mittens and a book. From the moment he saw it, Joshua was eager to read the book. "El-e-phant" he said perfectly and clearly as he turned a page. My, does this boy know his stuff!


Vincent and Ethan, when they saw that the book was already being read, raced for the hats. Reagan and Robert, not being ones to miss any fun, chose the scarves and the four of them began parading about the playroom, happy as they could be!


Vincent and Reagan, after a bit of maneuvering of their respective thumbs, thought that the mittens were the best thing since gloves!


The happiness and joy that these children have as they interact with each other is so precious. The moment they saw a camera enter the room they were at once arranged smooshed into a group picture of their own orchestration. Look at those happy faces!


**All smiles above are completely genuine. Doesn't love make a difference?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kenneth's First Christmas (New Day South)

Well, its been a long week or two here in south China. Kenneth had surgery for his cleft lip and palate on the 15th, but after a few days at home, he developed a fever and respiratory issues and had to be admitted to our local hospital.

Although the hospital is maybe not the best place to spend Christmas, Kenneth didn't seem to mind and we all enjoyed our time together.




Kenneth hasn't learned how to smile again after his surgery, but now when he is happy, he shakes his head from side to side (so cute!) We are confident that his signature "Kenneth smile" will soon return, and when it does we'll do our best to capture and post it here for all to see.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

... a little Christmas cheer from our family to yours!



Merry Christmas! from New Day Foster Home on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Best Gifts of All

Christmas is a time of giving... and receiving! We've been so blessed this year by all of our children. They have given us some wonderful presents. None of the things they have given us have been tangible, but they are incalculable in value. The hope we see in their eyes each day, the miracles we witness in their bodies and the gentleness that so quickly enfolds their spirits is worth more than a thousand candy canes and one too many sweaters.

Our gift to you this year is just a little taste of what they've given us!

Polly is a special gift! She's learning how to try new things and is now an official preschooler! We're so excited for the growth that she's made and can't help but anticipate all the gains she will continue to make next year.


Cora and William are some of the most precious foster siblings on this half of the globe! Last Christmas we rejoiced in Cora's miraculous recovery after a successful heart surgery;  this Christmas we're amazed at all the new things she is saying and doing. William was never supposed to be able to walk, but with lots of therapy and a relentless spirit, it's not unusual to see him running down the halls.


Emelia, Donovan and Shaun (not shown in the picture below) make an foster adorable family! The transformation Emelia has made is nothing short of amazing. She's the perfect big sister to her little foster brothers! Donovan has not been here very long, but we have watched him open up and the new spark in his eyes is proof of a revived spirit!



Do you remember when little Miss Melody was a baby? My, has she grown! Those thick black pigtails speak for themselves showing us how much this little one has changed!


We'd better keep our eyes on Melissa or she'll sprout up like Melody did. Melissa is a dear, sweet little one and we're already anticipating the shock of comparing this picture with one taken next year!


The children have received many presents this Christmas, but for us, they're the best gifts of all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Just What I Wanted!


More pictures on our scrapbook!

Dear Operation Giggle Sponsors,
Please don't worry that you didn't see the gifts you sent. This was only our first Christmas party! The gifts you sent are en route and when they arrive we will celebrate again!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Festivities

There are many festivities associated with the Christmas season, and making cookies and candy are no exception. It is a tradition at our house for the family to all help with this yummy task!

Make those balls round girls so they can be dipped in chocolate!


Then there's the tasting! Clearly the best part of the whole deal!!

There's No Such Thing...

as too much sugar!

We couldn't resist posting just one more picture of our cookie decorating party.


There are dozens more sweet faces like this one in our scrapbook!

We'll be celebrating Christmas all week, so don't forget to keep checking the blog for the lastest festivities!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Sweet Tooth

The steps we follow for decorating Christmas cookies are as follows:

1. Roll up your sleeves.

2. Choose a cookie

3. Fill up a spoonful of icing
 
4. Drop the icing in the middle of the cookie

5. Grab a handful of sprinkles and taste them.

6. Pour the rest of the sprinkles onto your cookie

7. Try to avoid getting frosting in your hair. (Cora!)

8. Taste your finished cookie


9. Try a spoonful of frosting
10. Repeat

That's what you do too, right?

The children have a blast decorating cookies. They love choosing a cookie, spreading the pretty, colorful icing and topping it all off with some colorful sprinkles. They also seem to enjoy licking their fingers for some unexplained reason. Did you notice that lack of pictures under the "try a spoonful" step? Scroll down for a video demonstration! Samuel, we've discovered, has quite the sweet tooth.


Cookies and frosting can be a complete meal, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"I Love You Bus!"

For our last field trip, we visited a preschool activity center. The children were having a lot of fun on the bus ride there! We were stopped at a stoplight right next to some public buses and some of our silly children started waving and calling to the public bus passengers. "I Love You!" they shouted. They signed "I love you" with their fingers as well. Because we sing "The Wheels on the Bus" almost everyday in preschool, just about all the children know what a bus is. They love to point them out as we are driving, "Look, Ayi, bus!" and this trip was no exception. Ethan decided to be quite a ham and started shouting to the bus itself! It was too fun not to record. Enjoy!

"I Love You Bus!" from Carrie McKean on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Whatcha Makin' Girls?!


















The girls often like to help out in the kitchen when they have a chance. They wander in to see what I'm cooking and often get a chance to help stir or other such things. Today we were making some orange-cranberry muffins. Yummy!

A New Look

We're sure that by now you've noticed the changes to the blog. Our header is full of new pictures, and we have some new sidebar images! Scroll down and see for yourself!

None of this could have happened but for the generous donation of time and talent by our dear friend, Danielle over at The Design Girl. Danielle donated our blog design back in the beginning of the blog, and she has since been an invaluable help keeping it looking sharp.

And if you want a new blog look, this week Danielle is donating 20% of all deposits and pre-made template orders to New Day! She does some amazing work, check it out!

Thanks Danielle!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cuteness in the Mirror

Our hearts skip a beat when we see her sweet little face brighten up in a smile.

 

Her thick head of smooth black hair is the talk of the foster home staff.


She’s only been here a few weeks but we’re already amazed at all the new things she can do.


Welcome to your new home, Molly!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Busy Little Elves

Just because we happen to be living in China doesn't mean that we don't celebrate Christmas. On the contrary, we go all out! From the six Christmas trees dispersed about the foster home to the stockings hung on the children's bedroom windows, the children "deck the halls" with all they've got!

This crew of stocking-hangers was bouncing off the walls in excitement! We're not quite sure that they understand the full ramifications of having a stocking hung on their window, but we're sure that by the time it's bursting with goodies they'll be huge fans!

Silly Vincent is amused by his new foot apparel. This will be his first Christmas with us! He didn't arrive until after the holidays this year and though he hasn't yet figured out what all the fuss is about, we're sure that he will soon!

Vincent is a storyteller. We asked him to tell us all about hanging the stockings and what fun it was, but all that he had to offer was that he got to hang five. Ethan responded to Vincent's assertion saying that he only got to hang one! Vincent, even after being reminded that he too only hung one, continued to insist with his hand raised and fingers outspread that he did hang five. Ethan was still frustrated that he only got to hang one - he has two feet, doesn't he? We're not sure what he was more concerned about, hanging more than one or opening more than one!

Regardless of what the boys understand about the Christmas season, one thing they know for sure is that it's a whole lot of fun!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Children, Children, What do you See?



Find out in our Scrapbook! 


---

We know that the rules of Wordless Wednesday specifically say that one is not to include words, but we've bent the rules before and we have some important news.

Many of you know, and are intricately involved with the Operation Giggle program that is going on right now. This amazing group of people has joined together, for the second year in a row, to sponsor Christmas presents for every single child in our foster home. In a few short days they will be shipping us boxes full of wrapped goodies for the children to open at our Christmas party. But they have a problem. Are you interested in helping? Just head on over to Sherri's blog for more information!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Decorating For Christmas





Decorating for Christmas is always exciting! It is especially true for those who are just now learning what Christmas is. For some of our girls at the Forever Home, it may very well be their first Christmas celebration! They had a lot of fun learning about and decorating the tree and house for Christmas. Only problem now is, they think it must surely be tomorrow!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Car Full of Laughter

There were no, "Are we there yet?"s from this happy crew! As soon as Amy, the Foster Home manager, unfolded this new car, shrill cries of joy filled the room. Reagan and Ethan were awed that they could fit inside so comfortably! Vincent discovered the weaknesses in the car's stability first hand and Robert, well, he was too excited for words! Does the look on his face give you any reason to doubt that he is one happy kid?

The children had loads of fun in the polyester race car, and weren't daunted at all by the fact that it kept swaying and threatening to tip over. We have a strong feeling that was the best part.

Set your hearts at rest, the car did not run over Robert. Rather, Robert ran under the car!

Can't get enough of their happy faces? There are more photos over in our scrapbook!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Lifechanging Day

It was June when Josiah arrived. He weighed a little over six pounds, small for a newborn, and was just over three months old. Preemie clothes were the only ones that fit. This sweet little boy was in dire need of a lot of love and a lot of warm milk!

It only took a week to see the transformation in his little body. His eyes were the first to change. Originally sad to look upon, his eyes had become windows into a little soul that was learning, for the first time, to live.

Now, Josiah is a spunky, chubby little guy. He loves to laugh and be tickled and has recently learned to roll over, something he didn't have the strength to do before.

We're so thankful for the day he came and the chance we were given to make a difference in his life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Claire's Hope

It's been over two months since Claire was admitted to the hospital for her very serious lung surgery. The surgery was touch and go the whole time and the recovery had us very concerned. Besides our obvious fears for what was going on inside her body, we've also been worried about what's been going on inside her heart. Two months is a long time for anyone to be in a hospital, and this is Claire's second stay, the first lasting over six months! What sort of impact can almost not making it multiple times have on a little girl?


Claire's story could have easily taken a turn downhill. It could have been so easy for her to give up, grow weary of being so sick and of being unable to do what other children can do. It could have been easy for her to lose hope - but she hasn't. Just looking at these pictures taken recently of her brings hope to our hearts. She's smiling, she's playing, and she's loving her life because she is loved!

Claire isn't out of the hospital yet, she isn't even out of the deep waters. Every day is a battle for her life, but because of the joy in her heart and the hope in her eyes, we have confidence that she will emerge victorious!