Can you guess what the Forever Home girls did during their holiday?!!
One of the things they did was make this cool dragon cake. Someone sent us a picture of one months ago (thanks Ruth) and we decided it'd be a great project during the Chinese New Year holiday. Holly and Elly put on some of the decorations.
Hannah, Holly and Elly thought this was pretty fun!
The girls had a great time making, decorating, and eating their dragon!
Over the weekend, we asked a question on our facebook page. What do you like to read blog posts about? Among other things, one subject that was mentioned a few times was "the little details." Those small, though momentous in a child's eye, details that can so easily be over looked.
Today we're going to give you some details on a few of our children.
Like our Wendy, who is not camera shy at all. She's always willing to pose for a picture, as long as you let her see it when you're done. Then the funniest thing happens. Wendy puts her finger on the camera's viewfinder, and swipes back and forth - as if she's using an iTouch or iPad. How she picked this habit up, we do not know.
Then there's Calvin, who is almost always happy. If he's not, though, a mere smile in his direction will produce grins and happy, kicking feet from this charmer. Obviously, he's adored by all of his big sisters.
And CJ, who just has to be in the picture. Or Brooke, who noticed all of the attention that little brother Calvin was getting in her nanny's lap. She couldn't let that problem go un-addressed. Can you see glimpses of their personalities captured below?
Jonathan has always been a generally happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He's just recently figured out the crawling thing, and discovers new things every day as he explores the playroom.
Joshua is always proud as punch to show off his standing skills. He's getting stronger and stronger. He did the puzzle in his hand all by himself, along with three others. Feel free to be impressed.
Esther, an itty bitty thing who loves to coo melodically and be held, is tackling a new challenge: sitting up. She's not so sure that she likes it yet, but with a little practice here and a little practice there, Esther's nannies have high hopes that she'll be sitting up on her own soon.
Last but not least, one of our newest babies, Nathan. He's got a grin that could melt the Rockies. We discovered soon after he arrived, that Nathan's passion is dancing. Stand him up on your lap and suddenly he's footloose, bouncing and smiling as if he's doing what he was meant to do all along.
And to think of all the other "little details" that happen in a single hour for these special children! We'll try to keep ya'll updated.
Rumors were circulating about the nap time antics of Angela and Samuel. Stories of them (somehow) maneuvering their beds so that they met in the middle of the bedroom... of the games they played and the mess they made.
Usually a nanny would catch them in the act and the fun would cease. Yesterday, though, we applied a different strategy: wait until the kids do 'their thing', then guard the door so that no one disturbs them and run and get a camera.
The mission was much more successful than we could have hoped. Not only was the room totally rearranged, but so were the should-be-napping kids. All three of them were in Wendy's bed, reading a book together and giggling like they were committing the silliest crime of the century.
The camera's entrance disrupted Wendy and Angela's discussion about the pictures of veggies in the book, and suddenly everyone was smiling for the camera. Then, they wanted to "kan kan!" (which is to see) the pictures that had been taken. Finally, we plopped Samuel and Angie back into their beds, pushed the beds back against the wall and hushed their repeated requests for, "just a little drink of water!"
But did the beds stay where they were placed? Did the kids finally close their eyes for a short afternoon nap? Maybe security cameras are in order, at least to stifle our own curiosity.
Dancing is a beautiful and exciting part of the New Year festivities. The nannies love to dance. In fact, our nannies are often waltzing with the babies as they practice their steps. Cora picked up her feet and danced a jig during the party last week. She looks like she's having fun, doesn't she?
Have you ever been at an event, where some random kids run onto the central floor, in front of everybody, totally lost in their own play-world? Noah and Timothy were 'those kids'. In between acts, right as the music was about to begin again, they came running in, playing ping-pong together with an escaped balloon.
And then there was Kendra and her foster mom. We love this picture, and the joy that is in both of their faces as they go a-whirling and spinning across the dance floor.
We hope that you have had a wonderful Chinese New Year. Oh, and the anwer to Tuesday's inquiry: How many dumplings can Samuel (age two) eat? 18
She's the one who started it. Yes, that delicate, feminine, and 100% rambunctious Eliana. Finding the drumsticks laying out, and the drum set unattended, she decided to provide the pre-performance entertainment. A "Prelude," if you will.
Eventually, though, the guys decided that girls can't have all the fun. Joel and Elliot, with the help of Shushu Brian, formed a little band. They're nice little boys, so they included Eliana, letting her bang away on her own drum.
They're not quite professional yet, but we were impressed!
Although the customs are slightly different (we sorely miss the jiaozi!), this is indeed the most special time of the year here in south China. The children have really enjoyed the festivities and visits from our friends and neighbors.. especially receiving their 'hong bao' (red envelopes) !
Celebrations started with a staff dinner last week
naturally decorated orange trees abound in the south this time of year
we were all treated to a "dim sum" breakfast on the morning of new year's eve
the children dressed their best on new year day in anticipation of our visitors
everyone, including the nannies, received their red envelopes
well, ok.. so they weren't all "red"
sweet miss jewel stole the hearts of all our visitors!
little Marshall is growing every day!
benjamin REALLY enjoyed receiving his red envelopes!
correction.. "purple" envelopes!
we especially enjoyed having neighbors drop by for a visit
Cora and Caleb were certainly dressed for the occasion at our New Year celebration. Don’t they look fine? Caleb’s outfit was given to him by a “grandma” and he could not have looked more handsome. He must have known how sharp he was looking, for he carried himself about very majestically.
Cora was captivated by the dancing performances that the nannies put on. She imitated their movements, clasping her hands and sighing with the music’s emotion.
Cora and Caleb are two of our most amazing little dragons. Neither of them should be alive today because of serious heart conditions. But not only are they alive right now, they’re thriving.
This is one tradition that I'm sure you all are familiar with. Dumplings, called Jiaozi in China, are the special New Year meal. Families gather together on New Year's Eve and prepare Jiaozi to feast on at midnight. Most families still prepare the entire dumplings from scratch - mixing the dough and then rolling out the wrappers - a long and tedious process. Pre-made wrappers are also sold nowadays, and this year we decided to take the easy road. The fillings were all prepared by hand, though!
The kids loved watching their nanny's fingers fly during the dumpling preparation, and then feasting on the yummy jiaozi. Samuel is the holder of NDFH's all-time dumpling eating record. Can you guess what that record is? We'll announce who guessed the closest guess later this week.
Fireworks are a huge part of Chinese New Year. For days before, and for days afterward, they are let off, filling the air with puffs of smoke, loud booms and bright lights. If it were daylight, the children would certainly love watching the fireworks get set off, but that's not often the case. We decided to show the children what all of the noise was about, so we set off some fireworks in front of the foster home, and then lit a dozen sparklers for the kids to wave about.
Wendy wasn't nervous at all! She is recovering amazingly well since her heart surgery, and gets stronger and stronger each day.
Angela was willing to hold her sparkler, as long as her nanny held it as well, and it was as far away as possible.
Claire got to wave around a couple of sparklers. She's a huge fan of fireworks.
Brooke, in her oversized coat, wasn't frightened of the sparkling wand in her hand.
Tonight, in China, more fireworks than you can imagine will go off. Even at this very moment, there are explosions going on outside. Are you doing anything to celebrate New Year's Eve?
We can't begin to express how much we respect the foster families of New Day. They're amazing. Sage's family is a great example of dedication. Sage is the family's fourth foster child. They have two biological children as well, a daughter and a son. The son is married and lives nearby. H is self-employed as a driver, and fondly remembers each one of his foster siblings, admitting to crying when they left to be adopted.
All of the foster children came in to honor our sponsors last weekend, and Sage was brought in by her foster father. It was impossible not to notice the closeness between these two. She seemed so comfortable in his arms, and he looked so content. She's the apple of his eye, which is the best place for a little girl to be.
A package came in for Emelia before Christmas, but with the pre-Christmas madness going on, we decided that it would probably be best to wait until after Christmas to give Emelia her gift. It would be more special for her, and we would be able to take better pictures.
Inside the package Emelia received three stuffed animals for her to share with her foster siblings. She happily picked out an animal each for Lucy and Micah, and then cuddled her new stuffed lamb close.
After the distributing of the gifts, Micah and Lucy and Emelia bundled up in their foster mom's cart to head home for lunch.
We provide this information to give our sponsors and supporters a general idea of the challenges our children face. For prospective adoptive parents, the information on the blog is not intended to be a substitute for a complete and up-to-date referral packet from your adoption agency. Please keep in mind that in our blog posts, we always try to focus on a child's strengths, accomplishments and positive developments, not in an attempt to gloss-over their often serious medical conditions, but in an effort to share a glimpse of their precious personalities.
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