“For I know the plans I have for you…to give you hope and a future.”

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho
Born January 17, 2007 Guangdong Province, The People's Republic of China Forever Ours April 12, 2010
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Monday, September 30, 2013

Santa's Village

We spent Sunday at Santa's Village in Jefferson, NH. The weather was FANTASTIC, and as always we had a great time. The boys saw Santa, and told him what they want for Christmas (no surprise there - Legos, transformers, and power rangers).
Sarah stayed at home with Grandma and they had a great day. Sarah is doing great but there is no way she would have done the 2 1/2 hour ride, missed her nap while there, and done the 2 1/2 hour drive home. I think Donovan was almost 3 when he went the first time. We are aiming for next summer and then next fall. (We love to go in the fall when it is cooler. In fact last year we went in November and that was GREAT.)
Here are some photos of our great day. (Oh and highlight for me was not having to do schoolwork on the car-ride home, which has been the case the past couple years when we visited.)

44 inches tall

47 1/2 inches tall

Tall enough for ride by himself!

Have I mentioned he's my quiet, serious child? I don't know what happens to him sometimes! The kid who does not want to attract any attention to himself turns into this...

Sometimes still opting to ride with Mom :)

Antique Cars

Bright and early before we left home. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CaptainS Underpants

So, we are working our way through the Captain Underpants series, along with other books by the same author. The humor is right up Donovan's style.
The other day I bought Donovan his first boxer briefs (instead of "little boy underpants" as we call them around here) and immediately he said, "These are what Captain Underpants wears." So...in seconds out came the red capes and Aaron stripped down to his underpants too. Oh my! Sarah is certainly being exposed to QUITE a bit here in our family, including brothers who strip down to their underwear at a moment's notice, tie red capes around themselves, screaming Tra-la-la and running around the house.

Here are the TWO CaptainS Underpants...

Looks like Aaron is flying!
Pretending to eat cheeseburgers. (Apparently Principal Krupp likes them?)
Donovan is my SERIOUS son...Apparently  not once he turns into Captain Underpants. 

Tra-la-la - AWAY HE GOES

The most HUMONGOUS carrot ever...(from our garden)

The boys picked carrots from the garden the other evening. They were all good sized, but one was PARTICULARLY HUMONGOUS.
We were all that surprised!

So proud (notice Sarah peeking out from behind)

puckering up to kiss the carrot! 

Kissing the carrot (I don't know what gets into this kid sometimes! Although perhaps it's better to be kissing a carrot than a girl at age 6 1/2!)

Aaron with the carrot. (The carrot greens are totally blocking Sarah...but notice she has her toy pan, ready to boil the carrot for dinner!)

Happy Girl

Sarah got a new outfit and she LOVES to try on new clothes. Here she is.  As you can see she's pretty  happy about it. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Been One Month! (PHOTOS!!)

It's hard to believe it's been one month since Sarah walked into our house (well, actually, let's be honest here, she was carried. Back then she hardly wanted us to ever put her down). She entered our family a very scared little girl. But her openness to experience everything new was always clear (just hiding behind her timidness). In just one month she has already blossomed so much. She is such a joyous little girl. She wakes up happy, loves to EAT, loves her brothers, and is so much fun to be around.  She can be very silly. She loves to play musical instruments, sing, and dance around. (The other afternoon in the car Aaron and I had to tell her, "Sarah BE QUIET, we can't hear the radio!") She's learning her colors, shapes, can count objects to six, and has already learned quite a few English words. She's saying some phrases ("Here you go," "I love you," and she loves to say "HELL-O" to people, really emphasizing the /L/ sound). She comprehends quite a bit English and follows directions well (Mommy loves that fact!). She adores her brothers, and they her. She plays a vicious game of dodgeball.
One Month Home
Aaron, Sarah, Daddy, Donovan (Mommy was the photographer.) 
LOVE Aaron's hand on Sarah's shoulder.

I do not think it is possible to adequately explain HOW MUCH this child eats at meals. She loves EVERYTHING. (It is often common for post-institutionalized children to eat a lot when first in a family, but we are a month into this and she is showing no signs of slowing down...) She loves all meat, fruits, and veggies. Some of you may recall that in China Sarah seemed to pick out every single tiny shred of green vegetable and refuse to eat it. Those days are long gone. She devours broccoli, bok choy, lettuce, etc. etc. etc. And if those pants in the top photo look a little short it's because SHE'S GROWING!

She's sleeping great (12 hours at night, 2 hour nap).

I had forgotten how BUSY life was with a 2 year old (or should I say perhaps I underestimated how BUSY it would be with one 2 year old and two almost 7 year olds!).  Our days are going much too quickly...I want them to slow down!

Standing under one of the lanterns we bought in Guangzhou. LOVE that Aaron is holding Sarah's hand.
(Please disregard the toys strewn all over our living room. And do not even try to imagine the playroom. I have given up on an organized, tidy home. Somehow it seems less important to me than it used to. Life will never be the same! And I have surrendered to the 10,000+ Legos strewn around the house. The boys are thrilled that Sarah does not put Legos in her mouth and does not break their structures. And she's very helpful, in that when she finds a loose Lego on the floor, she brings it to one of her brothers.)

We have some big changes that have happened around here lately! 
Donovan and Aaron are both riding two wheel bikes now without training wheels. Our routine now is that as soon as we get home from school, we put Sarah in the bike trailer, and the 3 of us go for a bike ride while Sarah rides along behind my bike. The boys are LOVING riding 2 wheel bikes. Aaron got a new bike, as he outgrew his old one (so now he and Donovan have the same size bike).

(Apparently I need to locate my photos of Donovan riding his 2 wheel bike...)

The boys are both playing first grade soccer through our town's rec program. They are on the navy blue team, along with 4 of their close friends. Both boys are doing great. In the last game, Donovan had one goal, and one assist. Aaron almost scored. He had a great shot on goal, but the great goalie stopped it. He's hoping to score a goal this season.

Aaron shooting on goal (in practice).

In other sports news, we are gearing up for our first (hopefully of MANY) hockey seasons. Donovan and Aaron both learned to ice skate this past spring and Donovan wants to play hockey. Mommy is thrilled. I hope he LOVES it. We are counting down the weeks until it starts...

All geared up. SO EXCITED (Donovan and definitely Mom!)

Rear View - A cute tushie in his compression shorts. (He thinks the compression shorts with the built in cup are the coolest thing. We ordered the long pants version too.)

Moments after taking off his hockey gear, he tied a red cape on and Tra-la-la...he became Captain Underpants....(He is loving reading that series by the way.)

(It has been suggested I save this photo for his wedding reception...)

Sarah photobombing with the craziest glasses on. At least she is fully clothed...

More photos of Sarah...

She can be one silly girl!

She loves her doll.

Sweet, Sweet Sarah

And then a comparison is in order...Then and Now...
The day we met...It was clearly not love at first sight for her :) I know one day she will look at this photo (and we have about 100 taken that hour with her and she basically has the same expression) and say, "What was I so upset about?" She will likely laugh at having been so scared by us and everything that was happening. As her mom, I will never forget how heart-wrenching that hour was, with her totally inconsolable. The reality that she had to lose everything she had ever known, to start anew...was overwhelming emotionally for us as adults in that first hour...

Here she was one week after being with us...
(oh and I so love that a [former] student emailed me when we were in China and said, Ms. Walsh, you stopped biting your fingernails. Yup. FINALLY!) It was apparently this photo the student noticed it in...

And so here she is today...
Sweet Sarah, you have embraced all aspects of your new life with openness and joy. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for you. We are so lucky to have you for our daughter (and sister).