A bit about the Himsels

In July 2011, we were drawn to a posting by our adoption agency of a little girl that was soon to "age out" of the orphanage in China, and they were hoping to find her family before her birthday in February, when she would no longer be eligible for adoption. After reviewing the information, giving it alot of thought and prayers, we knew she was to be our daughter. So we started the paperwork chase to bring her home. But God had a bigger plan in mind for the Himsels. Along the way, we decided to pursue adopting a little boy, and that journey actually led us to two little boys, who are 18 months and 14 months old. All three children are located in the Guizhou province. We are excited to be so close to bringing home Ella (Jinglan), William, and Ethan, and we hope you follow along with our journey.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another first

Our little Ella has had her fair share of firsts since coming home. First birthday with her new family, first day of school, first time meeting family and friends, first Easter - the list goes on. But none of them have brought about more joy and sense of accomplishment from our little girl than her recent 'first'. On Easter weekend we bought Ella her first bike. We worked with her a bit at first to explain the concept of balancing, keeping the bike moving, etc but she really wanted to work on it by herself. Day after day she would spend a little time trying to get the feel of it as she practiced on our cul-de-sac. And each time she would get better and better at pushing off, coasting a little as she began to get the feel of balancing. She is one determined little girl.

Imagine our delight when Andrew came in this evening and asked if we could come out and see something. My heart was fill with so much pride when we went out and there was our Ella riding her bike with the biggest smile on her face. Yep, another first. And such an accomplishment by one tough little cookie. Way to go Ella!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Break fun

Ella and Andrew are off this week for spring break, and what kid doesn't enjoy a visit to the dentist on their spring break :)  Actually Andrew has always loved going to the dentist so it was very important that Ella's first trip be pain free and as pleasant as we could make it. I also had my dentist appointment, so we had Ella sit with me and we tried to explain everything that they were doing so she would know before it was her time.  She did great.  We just did xrays and teeth cleaning today.  We know we'll have our fair share of dental appointments in her future, but we wanted to keep this one a happy visit.

Our dear friend Betsy watched the two little ones while we went to our appointments, so when we were all finished, had collected our loot from the toy chest and picked up our balloons, we headed to Aunt Betsy's house.  She has the best back yard - a gorgeous view of the lake and a fabulous swing set for the kids to play on. The weather was fabulous, so we spent the rest of the day playing outside.

William finally got over his concern about walking on the grass.  At first he just wasn't sure what that was and wanted to nothing to do with it.  But soon he was crawling and walking all over the place.  Ethan on the other hand wasted no time in walking all over the yard, searching for the best stick.

My favorite picture - my four beautiful children
Ella - love that smile as she enjoyed the swing

William - still not too sure about that grass

Look at that smile - Ethan wins me over every time with that smile

That grass finally was conquered - and he tackled the hill with a little help from his big sister
I can't believe how big Andrew is getting...

...but certainly not too big to try rolling down the hill
We had a great time, and it was the perfect end to the day - made everyone forget that the day actually started at the dentist.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My big boy turned 8

Well officially, Andrew turned eight in March.  But for as long as he has been with us, his birthday falls on the same weekend that I have to travel for work for an annual meeting.  So he has never been able to have his birthday party near his birthday.  Daddy has a conference usually the next weekend, so we have always had to push his birthday party out a few weeks.  One benefit of course is that he gets to spread out his celebrations for a few weeks - Daddy always tries to make his actual birthday special while Mama is gone, celebrating at school and then of course the big family birthday party.  This year I think it worked to our advantage though, as it gave our new little ones a chance to be better settled before we brought on the crowds.  We had Andrew's big party today, and for some guests it was also the first time to meet our new family members. 

Theme for the party was Angry Birds - Andrew's choice, not mine.  I made my first attempt at cake pops - Angry Bird style. Not too bad - they were a huge hit with all the kids.  And of course the Angry Bird cake - Andrew was so worried when he went to sleep the night before when he saw all the undecorated cake pops and undecorated cake.  He looked at me with these sad eyes and said "Mama, you are never going to get all your work done tonight, are you?"  I assured him that I would have it all done when he woke up - that working on these kinds of things always went faster once everyone goes to sleep.

It's the only picture I got of both the red bird and bomber bird pops before the kiddos gobbled them up

Not too bad for a late night decorating adventure
We rented a bounce house for the day - with having nine bouncing kiddos at the party, plus our two little ones toddling around, I decided to give the big kids a way to bounce outside and get out from under our feet (and hopefully keep the little guys from being run over). And I'm so happy that the weather cooperated - we couldn't have asked for a nicer day.  

Ella & Ethan - we finally got Ethan inside the bounce house without the big kids - he loved it!
William on the other hand wanted nothing to do with it, even with big brother Andrew trying to convince him

Overall it was a big success - the kids had a great time and all of our kiddos seemed to handle the big crowd pretty well - even William.  He's come so far in such a short amount of time.  Was it just two months ago that he couldn't even look at me with out screaming in fear?  Yep, he's made quite the adjustment. I was really proud of them all.