Sam

Sam had a basketball game today and I got to go watch uninterrupted.  Uninterrupted means that Mason, Paige and Alice went to a friend’s house for an hour after school.  Thanks Lana!  Anyway, I got to watch the game and take a couple pics.  It was fun to watch him play and cheer him on!

Gracie’s Room

Before Mason came to be part of our forever family, he lived in the Xinxiang Social Welfare Institute.  He was so blessed to be part of a program called Gracie’s Room, started by Dianjiang Kids International.  In Gracie’s Room, Mason received extra time with his nanny, more physical activitiy, playtime and so much more.  Unfortunately, not all these sweet kiddos at Xinxiang get to be a part of Gracie’s Room.  The director of Dianjiang Kids International, Moya Smith, has been nominated for a service award.  Dianjiang Kids International was started by a group of adoptive parents who wanted to do more for the kids in Dianjiang and that love has extended to Xinxiang.  If Moya wins this award, she and the kids at Xinxiang will receive $2500.  Please go over and vote for Moya.  http://www.serviceawards.org/applicant/117/Moya_Smith.aspx?mid=794

She is awesome and works so hard for our kids!!!  I had the opportunity to meet Moya in December at a reception for Henan Orphanage Directors.  She was able to meet Mason, just one of the kids who were blessed by her efforts.  She actually watched him while I ran to get my camera and he so sweetly shared his snacks with her 🙂 
After you vote, scroll down and click on video.  It is a short slideshow with pictures from Gracie’s Room at Xinxiang.  I watched it and was so excited to see pictures of our sweet guy!  Some of the pics I have but others were new.  I know that Mason received awesome care while in Gracie’s Room and I have no doubt that all that wonderful care made his transition easier once he came home. 

Go vote and watch the video! 

The Pets

The dog is not a fan of our newest addition.  Unless you count it as food.  We are “babysitting” a chinchilla, indefinitely.  I think it is actually kinda like “keeping” but I am in denial.  Actually this little fur ball is pretty cute and so far, pretty low maintenance.  The kids think he is awesome.  Jesse does not. 
Unless you count it as food. 

Meet Fizzy, the newest addition to our growing animal kingdom. 
Okay, so maybe a dog, chinchilla and hermit crab don’t count as an animal kingdom in some households but it does in this one.  Did I forget to mention we have 2 tadpoles coming in the mail?

Winter in Colorado

I know, I know….Aside from the couple of random snow patches, it doesn’t really seem like it is winter here.  This season we have had an extremely mild winter.  We have only had a few days of snow and a handful of really cold days.  The kids would like more snow and I am happy with warmer days 🙂  Yesterday we all enjoyed the weather and headed to Ute Valley Park for a hike. Of course, I took my camera 🙂 
Happy Tuesday!
Jennifer

Swimming, Skiing and Friends

This weekend was full. 
Saturday afternoon, the kids had swimming lessons.  They are taking lessons in Black Forest.  It is a haul out there but sooo worth it.  Their instructor is awesome and in two lessons I have already seen so much growth and confidence in their swimming skills.  Paige started her lessons this week and also did great. It was so fun to see her have such a blast in the water.  We spent Saturday evening at the Young’s house.  Due to sick kids and busy lives, we haven’t had a chance to all get together to celebrate Christmas.  It was such a nice night spent with great friends. 

Today we got up and took the kids skiing.  This time we headed to Monarch Mountain which is just outside of the cute little town of Salida.  After driving there, stopping to rent skis, getting everybody dressed and geared up, taking off clothes to go potty, getting everybody redressed, purchasing lift tickets and attaching those to all the jackets, it was 11 o’clock and Scott and I were ready for a nap.  Instead of a nap, we hauled all the skis over to the beginner lift.  Once we figured out the logistics of two parents skiing with  4 beginner skiers on a two person chair lift, we were off and skiing.  We had a great time with only a couple meltdowns.  If you don’t count mine.  Just kidding!  Sam, Alice and Paige are now all skiing independently and in control. Scott was able to take the three of them up on the longer runs and they had a blast! 
I hope you all had a nice weekend!
Love, Jennifer

Missing

I had such good intentions of blogging more in the new year and staying on track with all my loyal readers.  Thanks to everyone who commented or sent me a message about my blog. I really appreciate all the nice thoughts.  I wrote that year in review post last Monday. On Thursday afternoon, while prepping some squash for dinner, I cut off the tip of my middle finger.  The funny (or not so funny) thing is that I was using my brand new knives that I got as a Christmas present from my dear husband.  The doctors and nurses in the emergency room thought that was hilarious and made sure to bid me a Merry Christmas! as we left.  Anyway, I haven’t been posting because, well, I can’t type very well.  The nurse that cleaned me up and dressed my finger did a really good job and it took me three hours yesterday to get the bandage off my wound.  Now that I am sporting some antibiotic cream and a fancy Dora the Explorer bandage, it is much easier to type.  Although, I am going to blame any typos and misspellings on my finger.  Just a note, don’t cut off the tip of your finger. It hurts really bad, the bleeding doesn’t stop and waiting in the emergency room during flu season is really unpleasant.  Sooo, I am now back and planning to post more. 
The kids are doing well and enjoyed the delayed start from school this morning.  We woke up to a nice pretty snow this morning.  Life is good around here, aside from said finger-lobbing 🙂 
Happy Monday!
Jennifer

2010 Oh What A Year!!!

Every year’s past holds so many good memories.  The kids and I were reminiscing about all the fun we have had this past year.  Some of the toppers were our trips to California and Michigan, participating in the Breckenridge Fourth of July parade and skiing over Thanksgiving break.  So here is the recap of 2010.  We sure had fun and we are really looking forward to what 2011 holds for us! 

January

After a relaxing winter break at home we went into 2010 with a bang.  Grandma Peggy and Papa Gary came for a visit and we celebrated Christmas with them.  Alice had her 1st grade program, we played in the snow a lot and I really enjoyed my photography class at the Fine Arts Center. 

February

This month was full with Valentine’s Day activities and Chinese New Year.  We celebrated Mason being home one year.  Our bedroom and bathroom went through a mini-remodel.  We also took a family trip to the Denver aquarium and a all-church sledding retreat!

March

I love March.  We may still get a snow storm but there is a possibility of wearing shorts.  Weather in the Rockies!  Anyway, our last March was awesome!  Paige celebrated her 5th birthday with a Kai-lan bash that included  stories, cake and a bounce house that filled the front yard.  I started running again and signed myself up for the Denver Marathon.  There was no turning back.  Fast forward to October for all the details.  At the end of March, we took the kids to California for spring break.  We had so much fun and really wanted to stay longer.  We visited many theme parks including Disneyland, visited old friends and played on the beach a lot.  We could not have asked for a nicer week together.

April

Again, more weather ups and downs.  We enjoyed more hiking days and also had a couple snow days.  I continued to run and started dragging myself up at the crack of dawn to keep a regular schedule. Paige started playing soccer and loved it.  She is hoping to play again this spring.  We enjoyed a warm Easter Sunday with the egg hunt outside for the first time in a few years. 
May

May. This may be the busiest month of the year for us.  The kids saw the last day of school.  Pre-season swimming started, two days of week.  We started the month with a mother’s day hike on Cheyenne Mountain. The kids each had a Mother’s Day tea at their school which all fell on the same day.  It was a good thing I already started run training 🙂  Sam joined Boy Scouts.  Alice went from a Daisy Scout to a big bad Brownie.  Paige graduated from Pre-Kindergarten and Mason got signed up for preschool.  Will the tuition payments ever stop?  The pool opened on the Memorial Day Weekend and we took advantage.  Paige finished up soccer and had an end of the year party with ice-cream.  Scott celebrated his 35th birthday with the loves of his life 🙂  If we do say so ourselves….
June

This month the weather quickly turned nice and warm.  The kids and I got into our summer schedule which pretty much consisted of swimming and more swimming.  Actually, along with swimming, we found time every week to craft, go on a field trip, visit the library, play outside and spend time with lots of friends.  The kids started a mural on the basement wall. We went yurt camping in Golden.  The kids enjoyed a week of VBS at church. Sam started competing in duathlons and we found out that he runs really fast 🙂  At the end of the month, Alice celebrated her 7th birthday with her first ever slumber party and Mason celebrated his 3rd birthday at home.  It was an very memorable month, to say the least!

July

     
Oh July, how I love you! The weather was awesome and we took advantage of it!  We visited the Mining Museum and the Naked Mole Rats (at the zoo).  The kids swam in lots of meets and started getting fast.  We spent a week in Breckenridge and participated in the Fourth of July parade.  The kids are already tossing around float ideas for this summer. We also had our first set of stitches this week in Breck.  Paige fell face first on a rock wall and made a real mess of her face.  She got a handful of stitches between her eyebrows and a raw nose.  This month we also camped with our friends the Abernethy’s in Pawnee.  As always, we had a blast and filled the weekend with all sorts of camping activities.  Mason’s favorite camping activity is most likely the smores.  I think Sam’s favorite moment was the snow-ball fight.  It is always a great way to cool off in the mountains in July!  At the end of the month,we spent a  week in Michigan with Scott’s family.  We spent most of the week in Houghton Lake and took some side trips that included Sleeping Bear Dunes and Mackinaw Island. It was a great week spent with family and friends.  
August
August is also a busy month for us.  Swimming finished up with a state meet here in the Springs.  Sam and Alice both swam well and enjoyed their season.  The kids started school and Mason eagerly anticipated the start of preschool.  Paige was such a big girl on her first day of Kindergarten and the only one who shed tears was me.  Sam, Alice and Paige went to the eye doctor and Sam walked away with a nifty pair of glasses.  We enjoyed the last few precious pool days and mourned the end of the season.  We visited the Dinosaur Museum and our favorite playscape in Woodland Park.  By the end of this month, we had our Under the Sea basement mural finished. 
September
Wow!  Already September!  This year is flying by 🙂
September started out with the last pool weekend and our church Retreat to John Wesley Ranch in Divide. Mason started preschool and was very unhappy when he found out he was only attending two days a week.  The kids came down with the stomach bug and so sweetly passed it on to each other.  They share so nicely!  I continued to run my buns off and stepped up my training with more long runs much to my running partners dismay.  With the marathon a month away I was feeling the pressure.  Sam started fall soccer and all three big kids started running cross country.  I was a driving machine!  Brownies and Cub Scouts started back up and we sold more popcorn than I care to discuss. 
October
The weather starts getting a bit cooler but we are still enjoyed warm days.  Paige lost her first two teeth!  Sam celebrated his 9th birthday with a potions party.  He and about 20 of his friends and family had a blast with the Harry Potteresque party.   I ran the Denver Marathon with my husband at my side the entire way. He posted updates throughout the race on his Iphone and was definitely the only texting marathoner around.  Scott parents made another visit to our house and hung out with the kids while Scott and I were racing.  Halloween 2010 brought out a Dementor, a black cat, a fairy and a race car driver.  I was up to my ears in Halloween parties for four kiddos.  The kids got tons of loot and in good parenting style I ate it all.  Well, I had just run a marathon after all!!! 
November
Once we are past Halloween the year seems to fly by.  The kids all got sick with the stomach bug, again.  Sam finished his first research project on the Plains Indians.  We all celebrated Mason’s referral day with his favorite, CHINA FOOD!  We spent our Thanksgiving holiday in Breckenridge.  We skied, snowshoed and had a great time together. 
December
December is my favorite time of the year.  Of course, I celebrated my 36th birthday. Victoria took me out to lunch and then Scott and I headed to Greeley for Mason’s foot appointment.  Good news~ he only has to wear his shoes and brace for 6 more months.  Thanks to my parents for watching the other three kiddos while we made the trek north.  Can you believe that in two years he is completely mobile and corrected!?!?  It is a MIRACLE!  I could not have asked for a better present!  Mason and I went to Denver for the Henan Orphanages Directors Delegation.  Basically, we went to Denver to visit Mason’s orphanage director and meet some other families with children adopted from Henan Province.  Scott and I took our kids and our Godchildren to Electric Safari at the zoo.  We all decorated gingerbread houses and our “village” was very festive.  The annual Christmas tree hunt ended with a tall, skinny tree tied on top of the LandCruiser.  We even caught a glimpse of Santa riding his four wheeler up the highway.  We spent the Christmas holiday at home this year.  On Christmas Eve we spent the day with my parents and then went to church in the evening.  There is nothing more spiritual and uplifting than Christmas Eve service.  The kids choir led the singing of the carols and did awesome.  After Christmas, the kids and I have spent a lot of time hanging out in our jammies and just have fun being together.  We have watched a lot of movies and played the Wii wayyyyyy toooo much. 
Please excuse any mistakes and misspellings.  My retinas are beginning to burn and I am quite sure yours are as well! 
I love writing this blog.  For me this is very much a journal for my kids as they grow.  A recording of their lives.  A story in photographs and sometimes way too many words 🙂 
There are times when I feel like I don’t have anything exciting to say, when the days seem to run together. I am quite sure that I keep only a handful of readers.  I often refer to my life, as a SAHM, as Groundhog Day.  I get up and do the say things over and over again.  When I was writing this recap of 2010, I realized that not only is our life fun and busy but it is also unique and interesting. I am blessed by my family and friends beyond words.  My kids are my life and I hope that you (all ten of you) don’t get too bored reading about our daily happenings.  I know that 2011 will hold as much excitement and fun as 2010.  Who knows what we will be up to next year!!!
Happy New Year!  May your family be blessed in 2011! 
Love, Jennifer