Autumn age 2

It’s been awhile since I posted an update on our sweet little girl.  Since I’m wrapping up our next adoption report, I wanted to share some cool new milestones with you.

Autumn age 2

First of all, she grew two inches since her last wellness check up at the end of May…that’s 2 inches in 7 weeks!  She went from not being on the CDC growth charts at all to skyrocketing into the 25th percentile.  We’re so thankful and grateful that she’s thriving!

In fact, she’s finally walking!  Not just a couple of steps here and there, but 10 – 20 steps in succession across the room.  Another answered prayer.  We’re still helping her rehab her weaker leg, but it’s making a huge difference.

This little one looks up to her big brother and wants to do everything he does–from silly faces and sounds to playing with cars and dinosaurs.

She loves to feed herself.  In fact, she gets hopping mad if we don’t let her do it herself.

She speaks several phrases in both English and Mandarin, and her vocabulary is increasing every day.  When I or Calvin speak a word or phrase, she imitates us precisely.  I don’t mean she just mimics the word, she speaks it in exactly the same tone and pitch–spot on.  We were listening to a vocal rendition of the national anthem over Memorial Day, and Autumn started singing along (on key).  I kid you NOT!

Since she’s been walking more, and gaining confidence and curiosity, she’s also been getting into everything she can get her hands on and into. Everything.

Since partitioning a baby gate is about as popular with her as a pack ‘n play (as in, full up tantrum) we don’t use those things.

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Our loving son enjoys playing with her, and of course, there are times when they both push each others’ buttons.  Totally normal siblings.  There is so much joy in our home.

Calvin continues to pray for Autumn’s health in very specific ways…her increased ability to walk, run, jump, climb trees.  And he’s already praying that we can adopt a little brother.  I think if it was up to him, we’d have a very large family.

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army tank kids
Self-declared “Queen & King of the Army Tank” kids on Independence Day

Over the Independence Day weekend, we visited our friends near Baltimore, the Hodges family.  We met David & Charity in China–they adopted their youngest son Everett who appears in several photos in Autumn’s orphanage baby book.

autumn and everett
Autumn & Everett exploring Port Discovery museum in Baltimore

We enjoyed viewing fireworks at Fort Meade, and exploring at Port Discovery museum as well as hanging out in their super cool (and kid-friendly) family room.

independence day tank kids

Car kids at Port Discovery
Look at all this cuteness in one vehicle!

What a pleasant and restful trip–all of our children got along so well.  We enjoyed conversations about homeschooling, fitness, parenting, and more.  It was such a sweet joy to pray with Charity for our families.  We hope it won’t be too long before we can host them in central Virginia!

heart hands

Valentine’s day is such a fun time to create adorable crafts with little ones..with punny sayings.  Last year, I had a sealed pack of vintage Valentine’s cards (back from when I was in elementary school), that my son shared with his classmates.

This year, we might do something a little more personal and homemade.

I love this heart/hands craft idea that I found on krokotak.com via pinterest. The grandparents would love this one!

heart hands

Check out my pinterest Valentine’s Day board for more ideas from the creative blogosphere.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for cute, personalized valentine’s that you can quickly purchase and send, check out some of these cute ideas from Treat.com
Valentines Day Card from Tiny Prints

We hope by Valentine’s Day this year, we’ll have a sweet little baby girl snuggling in our arms.  But, alas, we are still awaiting travel approval from China.  Meanwhile, airline ticket prices overseas continue to tick up by at least $100 each day.  Pretty soon, they will exceed our current allotted travel budget, and we will have to decline any group travel until February.

We’re praying for God’s timing and affordable ticket pricing.

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you about your ideas for homemade Valentine’s crafts and cards with your little ones.

Do you prefer to purchase pre-made cards?  Do you like to make your own?  Which is more fun or easier with your kids?

We closed up the office early today in anticipation of strong gusty winds from Hurricane Sandy.  As a result, we’re cozy inside from the cold rain and finally carving up one of our two pumpkins.

Here’s last year’s post on a great teaching poem to share with young children as well as a very effective and tasty recipe for cleaning and roasting pumpkin seeds.

Hope everyone is safe, dry, and not without power too long on this hurricane day.

How are you spending your day?

 

Decorated with a glue gun, ribbon scraps, and the assistance of a very interested and crafty four year-old…this ol’ wreath went up at the end of January.  Above it, I strung a handmade “Happy Chinese New Year” sign {written in mandarin, of course} on red envelopes threaded with twine.  There was a nod to the tradition of hóngbāo.

valentine's wreath

I get all happy-faced whenever I walk home and see this romantic and darling wreath.

How did you decorate for Valentine’s Day?

I heart Valentine’s Day.

Since our door wreath was more spring and summer appropriate, I retired the butterfly and moss wreath for the moment and hung up a vibrant felt one that my son and I created together.

Felt wreath with felt rose heart

The design concept was inspired by this super cute wreath from Urban Comfort–who also featured it on Family Circle Magazine.  I used her technique for holly berries and felt dhalia centers to create the rosebuds on the heart.

Using a rotary cutter and mat to cut the felt strips, and adhering them to a foam wreath base with push pins–that process took maybe 30 minutes or so.

I cut out the heart shape onto cardboard with a freehand design.  Using a glue gun, I adhered red felt to the cardboard heart.  Then, I glued it onto white felt and cut around it with pinking shears.

Using pinking shears or straight-edge scissors, I cut the strips for the rosebud spirals.  I wound them up, then hot glued them to the heart.  Once complete, I pinned the heart to the wreath.

Truly, the heart rose buds took the longest amount of time.  I almost went with the plain, flat red heart…but it was too flat.  This wreath needed a little more dimension.

The final wreath is fun, and using white paper Ikea twine, I hung it up with a command strip hook in a couple of minutes.

Because he helped put it together (picking out felt strips or handing me push pins), my son loves the wreath.  He calls it our “heart wreath.”

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Fun thing about the colors on this wreath is that I could easily change out the heart and add a shamrock or a cluster of shamrocks for March, and a collage of felt stars for Independence Day.  There are so many possibilities.

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Starting next week, expect to see some fun gift ideas for the whole family for Valentine’s Day–great giveaways and discount codes exclusive to you amazing readers!  SO excited!

YOUR TURN: What are your crafting ideas for Valentine’s Day?