Friday, September 30, 2011

Sasha Reads (some more)

Sasha's reading continues to improve. Her spelling... um... tends toward the creative.  I feel like the plot of this installment pales in comparison with the surprise ending of Lill's Adventures, but what the book lacks in interes it makes up for in the cuteness of the reader :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Four is a Lot, continued

Four is still a lot. We still have a ridiculous amount of laundry. Dishes are still continually out of control. But, on the up-side, we've discovered that a family of 6 fills up "frequent purchase" punch cards really quickly!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wonderful Whirlwind Weekend in Westminster

Once upon a time there was a girl from Westminster, Maryland who married a boy from Westminster, Maryland.

Although a special story for that boy and girl, that isn't a fundamentally surprising tale.  The weird part is that, 10 years after that boy and girl moved to Utah, their darling friends from Utah moved to Westminster, Maryland.  Seriously, like within 3 or 4 miles from both parents' houses.  It's really weird.  It's super cool because our parents have been able to love on our friends and be a huge blessing to them.  But it's still really weird.

Anyway, the darling friends just had twins and so we decided that we just had to go out and see the babies and their beautiful mom!  So Cindy flew from Portland and Laura and I came in from Salt Lake and we had a babytastic weekend in Westminster!

Jane and Andrew are adorable, Kristen looks fabulous and is really enjoying being a mama to four four-and-under, and it was such a joy to hang out with my sisters for a too-short weekend.

We had tea (and held babies), went shopping (and held babies), ate chocolate (and held babies), went on a tour of the sights from Jamie's childhood and adolescence (riveting, I'm sure), went to church at the Powells' new church (fabulous!), held babies, and had an all-around good time.

And, for the record, twins are a lot of work.  Hats off to all of you parents of twins out there!

Oh, and I also got to introduce the gals to the holiest of Maryland traditions - steamed blue crabs!  The end of September is a little late for crabs, but they were still pretty good, and it was so much fun to share the joys of blue crabs with Cindy since she's been so sweet to introduce me to dungeness!

Laura thought it would be fun to join us in our mini crab feast...

...but then she realized that picking crabs is really, seriously gross.  So then she opted for baby-holding with Kristen while Cindy and I merrily finished off our crabs.

I'm a little bit sorry that Laura didn't enjoy the crabs, but mostly not since it just means more for me!

Oh, and I even got to hang out for a couple of hours with Sarah, who was kind enough to transport me to the airport Sunday afternoon.

It was a wonderful whirlwind weekend in Westminster!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

You know you're an adoptive family when...

You know you're an adoptive family when your Chinese daughter is merrily playing with her Kazahstani sister's flag and traditional garb in the living room of your thoroughly suburban American home.

Just another day in the life of the Morningstars

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Steve Earns his Wings

Steve finally got a chance to enjoy his anniversary gift last week with his first of three paragliding lessons!

He had a great time, and afterward bemoaned the fact that now he'll have to choose between purchasing a paragliding rig, a kite skiing rig, and a car that's not 25 years old and can fit his whole family.  I love the fact that this is actually a complicated decision in my family!
Steve starts with a little hippity-hop flight down the hill (he's the orange and gray and red one on the left)

But mere lack of experience and fear of gravity's application couldn't keep a good man down!  Next flight, he was up, up, and away!

Almost down safe and sound...


Sasha gives her papa a big "welcome back to earth" smooch
Way to earn your wings, baby.

To be continued...

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Carpet!

Carpet guy (while measuring our family room):  Man, when you replace this carpet, this is going to be a whole new room.
Jamie:  What are you trying to say?
Carpet guy (pauses pensively, then goes back to his work): Man, when you replace this carpet, this is going to be a whole new room.

Ok, so I guess we should have replaced the carpet a long time ago.  It wasn't exactly new when we moved in and 10 years, 4 kids, and a dog haven't improved it.  But it seemed like every time we had the money, we were adopting, and unwilling to tear our house apart with a new little one home... and, besides, there's nothing like disgusted desperation to make you grateful for the effects of a major(ish) home improvement project!

Our budget was tight, but fortunately(?) times are even tighter for the local carpet guy and we were able to carpet our living and family rooms, all paid in cash out of the sinking fund (thank you Dave Ramsey).

Steve was a total champ and ripped out all of the old carpet (ick!), painted all 800 square feet of ceiling in the living/dining/kitchen (because if you're going to replace carpet, that's the time to paint your ceilings - who cares about drips?), and supervised carpet installation.  Seriously, my husband is amazing.

And, yes, Mr. Carpet Man was right - it's like a whole new room.  

Living room before (well, mid-ceiling painting)
Living room during (btw, exposed carpet tacks + children = trouble)
Our whole new living room!
Mr. Incredible takes a well-deserved break

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back to School Portraits

Hairs are cut on 3/4 of the children, polo shirts and dresses are on, and Mommy has that crazy smile-or-violence-may-ensue look in her eye - it must be back to school picture time!

After the school picture fiasco of 2009 I started taking the kids to a professional photographer with proofs I could see rather than taking my chances with what came home from school and I am completely enamored with this year's results.  The only downside to this method is that I don't get to see the always-hilarious "official" school pictures, but that laugh isn't worth the $20 per kid it costs.

I'm so glad the photographer was able to capture my kids' sparkle.  Sigh, they are such beautiful babies.

Sasha is the 4th generation in the Jamieson line to wear this dress.  It was originally my great aunt's dress and is just about 100 years old.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Giving Back

We are so grateful to our daughters' homelands for giving them life, nurturing them for their first two years, and providing our whole family with a sense of identity and connection that stretches well beyond the boarders of our town or even our nation.  It's tough to maintain that connection through the hectic months and years - we're so blessed to be able to maintain relationships with some of Sasha's baby house mates from Kazakhstan and forge new relationships with other China adoptive families in the area, but, well, if you know anything about our family you know that we're always looking for more :)

So, over the past couple of weeks we've been researching charities that work in the girls' birth areas and are so excited that we have found two nutrition projects and two sponsorship projects to bless other kiddos the way our gals have been blessed!

Here's a quick run-down of the charities we recently started supporting.  I share these for two reasons:
  1. These are great projects and well worth anyone's consideration when looking for charities to support
  2. To encourage adoptive parents that with a little research you can probably find groups to support that work in your kid's area of birth.  It's a really special thing to us to know that we can affect positive change in little lives just like Sasha and WanYing's and for us having a monthly donation going to these great groups keeps us remembering and praying for all those still waiting.  You can stay involved, even from the other side of the world!

SPOON Foundation is conducting really cool nutrition research, education, and support all over Kazakhstan. They provide supplements, but even more importantly are working with the Kazakhstani government to change legislation and nutrition guidelines to provide healthy nutrition to all kiddos in institutions.

SPOON was started by a Kaz adoptive mommy who saw the need and effects of malnutrition firsthand in the Kazakhstani baby houses and decided upon her return home with her first child to do something about it.  Oh, and they work in Botakoz, Sasha's babyhouse :)

We sponsor a little boy just about Sam's age through SOS Villages Kazakhstan. SOS Villages has a children's home in Temirtau, Sasha's birthplace, to protect and care for vulnerable children - kids whose parents are either temporarily or permanently unable to care for them. Temirtau is a poor, heavily industrial area, with all of the social issues that generally accompany, and we love being a little part of providing this young man with a safe, healthy, loving environment like every kid deserves.

Love Without Boundaries is a charity that works in China and they have a nutrition project in Shangrao, WanYing's SWI. We know that WanYing benefited from this project and even got the cutest little baby photo of WanYing from them after we returned home from China, and we love supporting a program that helped our little one so much.

Love Without Boundaries was started by a group of China adoptive parents who wanted to give back to the country that had given them so much, and we are so glad to be able to support their efforts.

And lastly, we also are privileged to sponsor foster care for a baby girl through Adopchina, the organization through which our sweet (new) friend Laura sponsored WanYing. Adopchina is based in Spain, but through my highly advanced (and mostly forgotten) college Spanish and the miracles of Google Translate we have succeeded in communicating well enough to sponsor a child of our own in WanYing's SWI. Holt also sponsors kiddos in WanYing's SWI, if you're looking to sponsor a Shangrao kiddo and have less of an appetite for comical translation errors than we do :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Six Months a Morningstar

As of today WanYing Hope Morningstar has been WanYing Hope Morningstar for six whole months!  It's sobering to think that this child who feels like she's been our daughter forever has, in actuality, only spent 20% of her short life as a Morningstar.

WanYing has adapted with such resiliency and bravery to the changes and challenges of losing everything familiar to her.  She has sad days and happy days, and we are grateful that the easy days do outnumber the moody ones.  We are also grateful that she now sleeps through the night most of the time :)  We are astounded by the speed with which she has learned English and adapted to her new hand.  And mostly we just marvel that God has entrusted to us such a sweet and beautiful treasure.

WanYing, we are so proud to call you ours and look forward to celebrating many more Gotcha Day anniversaries!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wall o' Love

The old Wall o' Love was clearly insufficient - after all, we have twice the girls now and twice the number of keepsakes and mementos of cuteness.  So this weekend we finally reorganized the now very full wall to include:
  • two sets of hand and footprints
  • two adoption announcements
  • two infant photos
  • two welcome home photos
  • two congratulatory letters from President Obama
  • and a few more very special keepsakes. 

Yikes!  We'll have to expand onto multiple walls if we get any more special items for the girls' Wall o' Love!

Oh, and I don't think that I every posted this, but WanYing's congratulatory letter from the Obamas came a couple of months ago.  It's so fun to have a letter from the White House for each of our kids.  WanYing's doesn't have our names on it like Sasha's does, but it's super-cool nonetheless.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Girls + Noodles = Supercute

The training chopsticks are totally paying off - the girls' ramen addiction continues unabated and their technique is definitely improving...

Friday, September 9, 2011

A New Bike for Sam

by Sam
My new bike has twenty one speeds.  Since my seven-shifter was broken, my dad replaced it with his old rapid fire.  It's really fast (the bike).  It's so fast because there are so many gears.  I even beat Ben in a race, and he's fast on his bike.  And, on the easiest gear it's as easy as peddling backwards, but it doesn't go that fast.

We got the bike at Sundance.  They said Labor Day we could get it.  It turns out it was the day after Labor Day.  It was depressing at first, but I knew I'd just have to wait till tomorrow.  It was well worth the wait.

We've decided to go on a bike ride to the Golden Spoon.  If you're wondering what the Golden Spoon is, their motto is, "the ice cream lover's yogurt."  It's basically soft serve ice cream, but it's yogurt.

Enough time for pictures, now let's get to the Golden Spoon!  We've done a v-formation picture with my mom, Sasha, and YingYing in the middle, me on the left, and Ben on the right. It's a lot easier to ride the mile to Golden Spoon now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Third Time's the Charm!

by Ben

Today I lost my tooth. My third tooth, naturally. It was painless, unlike all the others. What happened was, I sneezed, and the tooth shot out. Kinda like a bullet. Luckily it didn't hit anyone. It's very sharp (the bottom and the top, not the sides). It's fun to put back in.

And, I also have a wiggly root. I can make the root where my tooth used to be flip up. I should show you that when I get another picture.

There's nothing to wiggle around, 'cause I only have one ever-so-slightly loose one, and that's at the bottom.

And a special thanks to Miss Sara for the candy!

Here's the empty gap under "normal" conditions

And here it is when Ben blows air over the gap, highlighting the super-disgusto "wiggly root"

We stress that "normal" is a relative term in this family


Related Posts with Thumbnails