Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dad Earns His Yellow Belt! (April 25th)

After Esther & Emma's Promotion, next was Dad's turn..
Dad awaiting his turn..
Self defense
Asher waited with Dad while they waited
for the other groups to go.
Kayla and Asher keeping Dad company
Drop and give me 50!
Our new yellow belt!
Asher bids Dad congratulations with a smooch
Yaye! You did it!
Our promoters.. =)

Orange Belts (April 25th)

Esther and Emma are now ORANGE belts in Karate!!
Esther demonstrating her form of how to get away from a stranger..
"Don't touch me stranger!"
Emma's a little more concerned with making sure her clip stays in place.. =)
Receiving her orange belt
(Esther was at a better angle for me to get photos..)
Mom and Emma
Look at the intensity on that face!
Proud little orange belt
Two Orange Belts
With their teacher.. Emma says she is going to marry him..
Sigh... these little sisters of mine! =)

Esther the Queen of Humor (April 24th)

Esther was just looking Too Terribly Cute one day and I had to snap a few photo's of her. She and Emma have matching Gap giraffe dresses and they are absolutely adorable..

For those who haven't met Esther personally, you're missing out!! Haha.. she's seriously one of the funniest kids I have ever met. The sense of humor this child has is enough to leave you laughing for hours.. I think she and Don would get along great! Esther loves to be having fun and is always laughing.. she keeps us all in stitches. She's a die hard fan of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. I frequently hear her belting out tunes such as "When You Look Me In The Eyes" and "Everyone Makes Mistakes." She LOVES to sing and the only way I can get her to be somewhat quiet is to turn up the music so she will sing along. She's also got a particularly loud voice, and is always easily heard during Praise & Worship time in school.. and at church! (Sometimes we have to remind her to tone it down a bit..)

She's also head over heels in love with my friend's 21-year-old brother, Daniel. She talks about Daniel, non-stop, every day. You'd sware she is a teenager with the way she talks of how she's going to marry him when she grows up and be a doctor and a mommy. I love how she already has her life planned out and she's only five. Maybe she can give me some of her advice! =)

It's neat to see how God's plan is unfolding for Esther. Her stubborn and driven ways that helped her survive in China for three years will certainly be helpful as she progresses through life. She's got a lot ahead of her including a special need that will require extra attention down the road. But she's never let that hold her back, and she's not about to let it. That little smile of hers just brightens my day and I know that one day it will brighten the world too. =)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Senior Prom (April 18th)

The night was perfect...
We had a beautiful Hollywood affair,
complete with a red carpet
and tons of close friends..
it was perfect and a true night to remember.

Me and my date, Chris
Heading to dinner in our surprise limo!
Chris and I on the Red Carpet
This banner hung over the entrance way
With two of my best friends, Elena (pink) and Samantha (blue)
Samantha's Mom and MY Mom tearing it up on the floor! =)
I forgot to crop and zoom in..
but you can see Elena and I with Mom & Dad
Elena and Kevin dancing..
(Someone stuck their finger over the flash.. sigh.)

The whole group- it was small, with about 30 of us.. but so very much fun!
Can you guess what we are dancing to here??

I spent the weekend after Prom relaxing at the beach condo with my friends Elena and Samantha. We had a great time soaking in the sun, resting our aching feet and taking lots of pictures.. =)

Us girls just having fun..
At the top of the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Ponce Inlet, FL
Samantha and I on the beach..
Elena and I

No Parents Weekend..(April 10-13)

I'm still trying to catch up on blog posts.. so I'm starting with April!

April 10-13th was a "No Parent" weekend..
Mom and Dad flew up to New York City for a medical conference and also a couple's retreat. The kids and I stayed busy.. we had school, karate and weekend get-togethers with friends to keep us busy. We always look forward to when our parents are gone.. the majority of the rules go out the window and it's a fun affair for all. I didn't cook all weekend, so we either ate out or dug out something from the freezer. Bed times were later than usual and we all woke up late... but Mom was happy we did make it to church on Sunday!
The highlight of the weekend for the little girls was getting their hair cut! Mom and I had been debating for awhile of whether to cut Esther & Emma's hair, or not. She wanted to wait until after ballet was over.. and I wanted to do it now! As they departed for the airport the morning they left, she mentioned to me that there wasn't anything she could do if their hair had been cut! So, on the way to work I made a hair appointment and the next day the girls were sporting a new look! I love their hair, and luckily Mom does too! =)
The Spiderman look
\Washing dishes is a favorite activity for the little girls..
Kayla and Gizmo
Back-flips on the new trampoline
Asher looks a bit like Spiderman here!
(Oh.. and notice how our dog Elly jumps on the trampoline now?)
New Haircuts!

Meanwhile, in New York...
Dad and Mom in front of a World Trade Center Memorial
I handed my parents the camera before they left and asked them to please take pictures. You know how many they took? Only four pictures.. and only two had them in it! (The ones above and below) Sigh.. I don't understand those two. How can you NOT take pictures in a city like that?? Well, at least they did take a picture with them in it! =)
Mom with friends Corey and Paige in New York

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Tonight, I am truly at a loss for words.
I just found out from a close friend some terrible, tragic news. And as I sit here at midnight typing on my computer, completely broken hearted and unable to sleep, I know that the grief I am feeling is nothing compared to what one family is experiencing tonight. Please pray for the family of Steven Curtis Chapman; their youngest daughter, 5-year-old Maria was killed just this evening. The most tragic part is that she was killed after being struck by a car in her own driveway; the driver was her brother.

Not only does this hit close to home because of my admiration for the Chapman family and the fact that they were the ones who inspired us to adopt from China, but also because she is the same age as my little sisters. And her brother is right around my age. I pull out of our driveway every day, multiple times per day and while I'm always careful.. accidents can always happen. I cannot even begin to imagine what her older brother must be feeling.. it's grieving me to even think about it.

Steven was supposed to perform on Friday night at the Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival. Although I wasn't going to be attending, my family was going to and probably would have had the chance to meet Steven in person. That's something my mom has been wanting to do for a very long time.. meet the man who inspired us to adopt.

It's just another reminder of how precious life is and how we take it for granted.. until it's too late. During times like these it's easy to ask God "How could you?" "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13
How could you take this little girl's life when she had so much life left to live.
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope." Romans 5:3-4
How could you do this to THIS family..?"
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Bottom line.. who are we to question God's will in our lives?

Tomorrow (actually, today) I will take a minute to pause and look carefully as I back out of my driveway. Then I'll stop the car, turn around and give the biggest hugs to my two precious girls who will be sitting in the back seat. I'll thank God for the blessings I have, and be grateful.. because tomorrow, one family will not get to ever hug their little girl again.
"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust Him." Nahum 1:7

Source: The Tennessean

Random Photo's from April