To our amazement, Stella has picked up English faster than we expected...and even some phrases that we didn't expect. Thank you, Joey! The human brain's ability to decipher a foreign language is astounding. Then, to be able to fully and clearly communicate with the new language within 6-9 months...WOW! How did God even do that? There are still some things that make me laugh. The fact that she tries -with complete confidence- to correct Samuel's pronunciation is quite intriguing. And there are a few key phrases that make me giggle...
Mommy, will you paint my ponytail holders?
When someone sneezes, of course the correct
response is to say Ah Choo. Of course.
If you'd like, I can heat your food in our microphone.
We Saw the Ocean
We took our first family vacation as a family of 5 and we went big...to the big ocean! It was the first time the littles had ever seen the ocean or the vastness of the sandy shore. All three kids had completed 2 weeks of swim lessons just prior to our trip. And to my surprise, they were all swimming by the end. So, off we went with our little fish to a big family beach house full of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!
Just stepped out of the car and headed to the beach
She was already very curious
We love the beach
Showing off those muscles
I can't even count how many Samuel-sized waves crashed into/over Samuel or how many times Stella held her breath in preparation for the crashing waves. Joey stayed under water more than above. We were both shocked at how brave Stella was in the water. This is the little girl who literally tried ripping off her wet swimsuit after getting out of the pool in China last year. She's still pretty cautious climbing at the playground, but she was a fish in the ocean! A few jelly fish found us (mostly found Joey) and came a little too close to investigate us. Ouch! We found crabs. We found one particularly strange crab that refused to walk away from us despite the foreign onlookers and attempts to catch him in the net. Our kiddos had the best time with their little cousins...who didn't even recognize that they were little. What a treat for us all! If you want to make sure to have the most amazing beach view and all the delicious food your tummy can hold, you should totally invite Big Joe and SuSu to coordinate your trip. They've got it down!
A Day to Celebrate
One Whole Year. It's been a year since we first held Stella in our arms. Some days it seems like she's been here her entire life. Other days it seems like it's been only a few months. This year has been 365 days of adjustment and change, laughter and learning. And that means adjustment for our whole family. This girl has brought a tenderness, a giggle, and facial expressions that not only speak louder than words...they scream! There have been some sweet cuddles and an abundance of kisses. At times, it's been a harder adjustment for me...the debut of emotional drama, challenges common with adoption, her need for attention. Meanwhile, Stella seems to have found her place in the family and wiggled right in. I forget sometimes that her early formative years were spent in an institution, not a home. I fail to remember that her caregivers were paid employees, not parents. Her friends were her family and at times, they just left and never returned. I guess there are changes when anyone - no matter the age - comes into your heart and becomes family. Despite the challenges, God has blessed our time together and changed our lives for the better. We love our Stella! And she says she loves us too. We all agree we want to go back to China one day, but the kids only want to play at the hotel and eat. Sure seems like a loooooong flight to climb on plastic equipment and satisfy our craving for dumplings. However, we do hope to take our kiddos back to the beautiful country that made us family! Until then, we are equal opportunity dim sum-tasters, traveling far and wide...Arlington and Carrolton to San Francisco and Salt Lake City!
A Quick Glimpse at our First Year Together