Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Science Experiments aka Colored Rice and Tactile Fun

Monday was rainy and cool, and not so fun to be outside, so we decided to try coloring rice. For the older kids this was a science experiment, but for the young princesses, it was just fun!

We put a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, a small bottle of food coloring, and about 7 cups of rice in a gallon sized pitcher. Then we stirred and shook it until the white rice was colored. 

 After we'd each had a turn in mixing a color of choice, we ended up with two one-quart containers of each of five colors.

 Children who are raised in institutions are often lacking in sensory skills.  Jen especially craves textures and likes to feel everything.

 The rice was a little too large to go through the sand wheels as we had hoped it would do. That was ok though. The Little Princesses were happy with cups, funnels and spoons.

So on your next rainy day, give coloring rice a try.  It is super easy, super cheap, and super fun!

Neighborhood Egg Hunt

Sunday was another beautiful day (I'm going back a day in case the tub covered flowers in the last post have you confused!) and one of the neighbors organized an egg hunt for all of the children in the neighborhood.  Here we are on our way to the festivities.  Our Prince loves this particular walk.  There is an incline going, but on the way home he gets to zoom down!  There is a slight daredevil personality at work there! 

 The kids were treated to LOTS of candy and plastic eggs in the yard.

The somewhat wet ground made for hard going with Isaac's chair, and I had to help him get unstuck at times.  I know he doesn't like to have to have help, but he never complains. (not out loud anyway)

Some games followed the candy hunt.   In one of them they partnered up and tossed raw eggs. Jen and Agibail were partners, and it wasn't long before Abigail had an egg broken on her shoe! Isaac and Tikvah did VERY well! Their egg finally broke when it hit Tikvah's hand as she caught it from a long distance. 

This was the Littlest Princess' take on the festivities:

When we returned home, the sorting began!

Note the girls all took cover from the sun, as we were all pretty warm at this point.  But the Prince, not being used to Ohio yet, chose to sit in the sun, still in his hoodie.  Whew.

I'm pretty sure he would NOT have liked the winter we just experienced!  Here's hoping for a mild one next time!

Spring?? Planting

 Our ramp was finished the second week we were in China.  They did a fantastic job on it!  All of our landscaping had to come out in this area when the ramp was built, so this was a nice chance to start over.  

We took advantage of the sunny day on Saturday to work in front of the house.  Ethan amended our soil - it was heavy clay - so the plants should be happy here.

 I planted hostas (if you know me, you know hostas make me HAPPY) and yellow violas. Can't wait to see them grow and spread! 

The girls helped me plant, and Isaac poured mulch and watered everything when we were finished. Great team work!

What better way to reward a hard working team than a trip to Graeter's for a treat?  I admit, since moving to Cincinnati I have become somewhat of an ice cream snob...

Sadly, I have to add a postscript... on Monday night Ohio got cold weather AGAIN and snow was forecast for our area.  Our landscape looked a little different when we went to bed last night.

Yes!  There really was snow on the ground when we got up this morning, but the rest of the week is supposed to bring us the 50's and 60's.  We're hoping that spring actually STICKS this time around!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Boy and His Basketball...

We've been blessed with some lovely, spring weather the past few days, so we've been outside enjoying it!  On Friday we decided it was time to find our boy a place to shoot some hoops.  Since our driveway is too steep for a basketball hoop, we went to check out the local parks.  

We discovered one just a few miles from our home. 

The playground was fenced off as they were doing some construction on it, so the girls went to the court to cheer on Isaac.

Or......not.  Tikvah discovered it was also a good day to read in the great outdoors.

Isaac seemed happy to get his hands on a basketball again.

 And I'm telling you, the Prince is GOOD!  He made a large percentage of the shots!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Early Days at Home

We've been home for almost a week, and the kids are doing GREAT!  The Little Princesses LOVE their big brother, and (so far at least) he seems amused at them.  I have to keep an eye out or Abigail will grab him and plant a big ole kiss on him.... that could get old pretty quickly!

Yesterday we went to our homeschool co-op.  Isaac sat in on Musical Theater, Art, and Science and seemed to enjoy it.  Then yesterday evening we had our first post placement visit from the social worker for Isaac, AND our one year post placement visit for the girls - big day!  It must have worn our dear boy out because he didn't get up until eleven this morning.  I joked with Tikvah that he must be trying to put himself back on China time - and I was tempted to join him in that!

This old Mama is having a really difficult time with jet lag.  I am fortunate to have a great support group here though.  Friends have brought us dinner every night since we've been home, and today one even came to play with the little girls so I could get a much needed nap.  Not sure why it has hit me so hard this time, but I'll be glad when my system is back on USA time.  Yawn.......

Monday, April 7, 2014

Home at Last!

After missing a connecting flight in Hong Kong we finally arrived home on Friday. Instead of Guangzhou, China to Hong Kong to Chicago then Cincinnati, it was Guangzhou to Hong Kong to Taipei, Taiwan to Los Angeles to Nashville to Cincinnati. Whew! What a trip! Our anticipated twenty-three hours stretched suddenly to thirty-seven. And then I thought for sure we would miss the flight to Nashville! We had a lot of assistance with the wheelchair and the airline people speeding us through immigration and security checks in order to avoid missing any more connecting flights.

Isaac did great on the grueling trip home and kept on smiling in spite of having tummy problems from the start of the trip. Not sure if it was nerves or eating different food, or likely a combination of both, but he didn't complain AT ALL. I can't make that claim about myself... I took missing the connecting flight pretty hard, primarily because of disappointing the Little Princesses. They were counting down the days and KNEW we were supposed to be home on Thursday. I've worked so, so hard to build their trust and really hope this won't set us back.

As the plane landed in Los Angeles, America gained a new citizen!
Our time spent IN China was really good. I posted daily updates with photos on Facebook, but I know some of you weren't able to follow it there. I do plan to backtrack and fill in some of those travel days.  We had a fun travel group and made sweet memories with our sweet boy.

For those who are still in the adoption process and wondering about the differences between the airlines, I intend to write up our experience with the various planes we've flown on our trips to China. I'll give you a hint: the favorite of many – Cathay Pacific – scored the lowest in both comfort and service.

But for now, we are HOME and happy to be here! We were met by family and friends at the airport. Unfortunately, several who had planned to be there were bumped out by the change of the time and date due to the missed plane, but there were plenty of people there to let Isaac know that people were anticipating his arrival.  

Friends and family awaited us with a party at the airport.  
The Little Princesses LOVE their big brother!
Isaac with sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

US Consulate appointment

Today we had our final legal appointment in China.  We applied for Isaac's immigrant visa.  They told us our paperwork was all in order, and his visa will be ready to pick up tomorrow afternoon.  Our flight leaves early on Thursday morning, so we'll be on our way home soon!