Havi's birthday

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Havi's birthday was last Saturday, and we spent it at the tennis courts.
 My sister, niece, and my sister's mother-in-law came out to watch Caleb play.  The girls had so much fun hanging out together.
 Caleb loves watching the older boys play their matches while he's waiting to play in his next round.
 He played pretty well and finished second in his division.  We're so proud of him.
 I asked my sister to snap a photo of me with the birthday girl, but she was much more interested in eating her snack and making faces.  So this was the best she could do.
   After Caleb wrapped things up at the tennis tournament, we met up with my brother-in-law Andy and his dad for dinner at a local pizzeria.  I had originally planned on baking strawberry cupcakes, but I ran out of time.  So I ended up baking my yummy chocolate cupcakes with a sweet, vanilla bean buttercream frosting that I tinted pink and piped rosettes on top of the cupcakes.  After hanging out in my car all afternoon, they weren't as perky as they were when I made them that morning.  So I didn't snap a photo.  That's what I love about using swiss meringue buttercream; it holds up in the warmer weather!  My sister offered to take a family photo of us before the night ended.
We have to do a better job at taking these photos first thing when we get together because parking lot lights just aren't as flattering as daylight.   It's a family photo of all five of us, and that's all that matters, though, right?  Thanks, Deb, for taking it!  I'll be hitting you up today for another one! ;)

Well, we plan to spend Thanksgiving day with my sister's in-laws.  It will be our first time spending Thanksgiving with them (we spent our first Christmas Eve with them last year.)  I've been put in charge of kids drinks and dessert.  Yep, I may not be a fancy schmancy chef or baker, but I can sure put a smile on little kid's face (and maybe a big kid too.)

Tomorrow, Patrick's sister, Michele, will be heading down with her hubby, John, and their daughter, Lydia.  We are really looking forward to seeing them.  Of course, Caleb wanted to know if he had a tennis tournament he could play in so they could watch him.  Isn't he precious?  Well, we may not be hitting the tennis courts, but we just might be paying The Mouse a visit.

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, no matter how you plan on spending it.  We have so much to be thankful for this year, and we praise our Father in heaven for all He has done for us.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
Gobble! Gobble!

Linking up with my friend, Kim, today!

Little by Little

Time for the county fair!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Well, we waited until the last possible day to hit the county fair, but we are sure glad we didn't miss it.  
Caleb and Madeline couldn't wait to ride the motorcycles.  
They go around in a circle, and the front end goes up and down.
You see that big, beaming smile on Havi's face?  It was short-lived.  She hated the ride and cried.  Madeline and Caleb, however, could've ridden it all night.
Hindsight is 20/20.  But we probably should've gone with the simple cars that only go around.  
Duh.  Thankfully, her first ride experience didn't dampen the night.
Despite the look on Havi's face, they all enjoyed the slide.
Madeline, of course, had to ride the rollercoaster.  She had a blast and met a nice girl, Araya...whose middle name is Sunshine.  Now, how beautiful of a name is that?  Araya Sunshine.
Havi was too little to ride the train without an adult.  So I hopped on for a ride.  We have to do something about this big fake smile she's starting to sport.  lol  Oh sweet girl.
As you can see, Caleb was a good sport about riding the swings with his sister, but he could really do without the ride.  She doesn't look too thrilled in this shot, but trust me, she loved it.
The dumplings played a few games and won some prizes.  Caleb actually won by tossing baseballs into small openings.  The boy still has it in him.  Even the fair worker was impressed.  And when one of the three prizes went missing later in the night, Caleb gave his up to Havi...no prompting.  Can you believe the heart of this boy?  He just melts me.
That would be the moon in the shot above.  It was big and round that night.
Well, I'm so happy that our county puts on this fair.  For starters the weather in November is just awesome.  And it's so affordable with unlimited rides wristbands.  I remember going to the county fair as a child only a few times because there was admission into the park plus tickets for the rides, and we just couldn't afford it.  I'm happy that we can make these memories with/for our children.  They always declare what an awesome time they had, and the smiles on their faces reflect that.

Well, tomorrow we celebrate a special little girl's 2nd birthday.  This is a new one for us because we have yet to celebrate one of our children's second birthday with them.  We accepted Caleb's referral when he was 2 1/2 years old, and Madeline turned 2 while we were waiting to bring her home.  We actually plan to celebrate twice, both this weekend and next.  I will make strawberry cupcakes (because that's what Baba wants) and bring them to my sister's place because Caleb is playing in a tennis tournament over in her neck of the woods.  We actually already gave her present to her, which is an adorable "pre" balance bike, which she loves and can't get enough of.  Anyway, I'm sure I'll have photos to share from this weekend's festivities.  Hope ya'll have a fabulous weekend.

And Happy 2nd Birthday Havalah Xue!!!!
We love you like crazycakes!!!!

How we celebrated 6 years with our precious Caleb

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back when we first bought our travel trailer, we thought it would be great fun to take Caleb camping to celebrate his Forever Family Day.  Well, the actual day fell on a Tuesday, but we still thought it would be great fun to go camping the weekend before.  My sister Deb came with her family Friday night.  We grilled steaks and ate s'mores by the campfire.  Then Andy whipped out his guitar for some campfire songs.  Well, maybe we sang preschool songs like Wheels on the Bus and such.  But we had a great time and lots of laughs nonetheless.

Saturday morning Caleb was supposed to have a tennis tournament, but the rain delayed it until Sunday.  Unfortunately we spent all Saturday morning in a holding pattern until the tournament was finally called for the day.  So we eventually went back to the campsite and hung out until the rain stopped.
When it finally let up, we went for a walk around the campsite.  I loved all the tall pine trees.  Our site felt so secluded.
We thought we'd take a look at all the wild flowers and shrubs.
And Caleb chatted a little with one of the boys he met.
Then it was time to head back and get dinner started.
We had fun roasting marshmallows....two nights in a row...woot woot!

Sunday was the tennis tournament.  Caleb played well, though he didn't win.  We're so proud of him for continuing to get out there and play kids who are much older than him and with a lot more experience.  He continues to improve each week.  After the tournament, we went back to the campsite to pack up the trailer and head home.

Well, fast forward to Tuesday, Caleb's Forever Family Day.  We took him and his sisters to the Magic Kingdom.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  Overcast skies gave way to partly cloudy, with a breeze and highs around 80.  Can we say awesome?!
After grabbing lunch, we headed to Tomorrow Land.  First, we picked up our Buzz Lightyear Fastpasses and then hit all the other rides in close proximity until it was time to head back to Buzz.  First up was the People Mover.
Then the Carousel of Progress, one of my faves.
Somebody was starting to get a wee bit sleepy.
We also did the Raceway.  Caleb was about 1 inch too short to ride alone.  He was a bit bummed but glad to know that next time he rides, he could very well be riding alone.

Then we headed over to Fantasy Land.  Patrick picked up Winnie-the-Pooh Fastpasses for us while we headed over to Dumbo.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I came down with a cold when we started camping and lost my voice.  So that was really fun....for about 5 days.  NOT!  Havi decided to throw a fit because she was so tired, and I had no voice to speak to her and no husband because he was getting Fastpasses.  So waiting in line for Dumbo was like a real winning moment that day.  Oh so much fun.

Anyway, after Dumbo, which Caleb got to ride alone, Patrick took Madeline on the Barnstormer because, as soon as we got off Dumbo and I put Havi in the stroller, she passed out.  The Barnstormer is Madeline's favorite ride.  She had a blast and raised her hands like everyone else, so she said.  Then Patrick watched Havi while I took the big dumplings on Winnie-the-Pooh.
I also took them on a quick spin on the Merry-Go-Round while Havi continued to nap.
And after a few quick snaps of the special boy with his mama and baba on his special day, it was time to head to the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney for dinner.  While the atmosphere was cute, the food was subpar and overpriced.  What a winning combination.  Even the kids weren't thrilled with their food.  That's saying something.  At least they enjoyed looking at the animals.  We later ventured over to the Lego store and let Caleb pick out a new Lego set for his special day.  He chose a Coast Guard ship.

It's hard to believe that it's been six years since we first scooped this precious boy up and held him in our arms.  That first day together is still so fresh in my mind.  He was such a little toddler, with his chubby face and eager smile and his sweet little Cantonese babble.  He has been such a joy to parent all these years.  He's got a heart of gold.  He's so compassionate and caring and tender hearted.  And he's also so dedicated and determined.  And an athlete he is, to the nth degree.  And so smart as well, a joy to homeschool.

Well, we love you like crazycakes, Caleb Tian. 
Happy Forever Family Day!!!!

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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