Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Flashback to November

Yes, I am trying to fill in the gaps, so bear with me. I'll get to Christmas pictures soon enough!
...Here are some pictures of Beth and Jack at the wonderful shower that Connie Kulick hosted for them. We had a wonderful, intimate little party that started off with delicious holiday eggnog while we waited for all of the guests. Jack and Beth got to meet their cousin, Rachelle, for the the first time and enjoyed playing with Miss Connie's toys together.
We all enjoyed a delicious luncheon of chicken and rice, Jack and Beth's favorite, followed by a scrumptious cake topped with chocolate-dipped blackberries. Connie really made us feel so special with all of her wonderful preparations!
The kids especially liked to help Mommy open the presents and wanted to carry them all to the car all by themselves.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

So much for catching up...

Well, it's hard to believe so much time has flown by. Here it is almost Christmas already! And I hardly said anything about November! So I guess a quick update is in order...

At the beginning of November, we had an apple cider pressing party with the Kulicks. Beth and Jack were anxious to help, especially if it meant "playing" in the water. We ended up with 40 gallons of cider by the end of the long day.

On November 7 (Mommy's birthday) we were invited to feed the ducks with Anna and Cheryl Johnson at the park. Unfortunately, the geese thought they were pretty special and scared all the ducks away. We had a very nice outing anyway.

Back at home, Daddy was mowing the lawn for the last time of the season and Jack thought he wanted to help. The matching outfits was unplanned but turned out pretty cute (Shhh, don't tell Mitch I said cute!)
We also had a fun day with Mai, our Thai friend who taught us what little Thai words we know. We started out at the Asian market where she showed me the best brands to buy and helped me choose some things to make real Thai food. Then we drove over to the UO campus and had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. The weather was beautiful so we took a walk on campus, where we got this great shot. It was wonderful to see the children warm up so well to Mai! They were still a little bit shy about talking to her and would only nod or shake their heads when she spoke Thai, but she quickly became the favored hand-holder when crossing the street!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Trying to catch up...

Well, I know it's been a while since I posted, but maybe some photo blogs will help catch you up...We had to do the pumpkin patch experience, of course. The last week of October Jack and Beth went with Mommy to Lone Pine Farm where we rode the hay wagon and explored the pumpkin patch. It was really windy that day, so we made the excursion fairly quick. The kids didn't really understand that they could pick out a pumpkin to take home, so I figured why pay for one when we can get some free ones at Grandma's house? They enjoyed the ride and of course the playground.

On Sunday before Halloween, the whole family plus Aunt Lisa and cousin Catlin went out to Detering Orchard for another haywagon ride, this time all around the apple orchard. The kids each got to pick out a small pumpkin to take home (free this time!) and everyone got free apple cobbler with ice cream. We had fun with the photo ops too! We chose to not celebrate Halloween. Partly because of our Christian faith and partly because we just didn't know how to explain what trick-or-treating was all about. Most likely they would have been too shy to say anything anyway. We stayed home and passed out candy to the trick-or-treaters who came to our door. Beth and Jack seemed a little nervous about their little friends showing up in costume, though. We decided to stick to their regular bedtime and Daddy answered the door all by himself. Maybe next year we'll be able to explain it all the way we want to.

The big news from that last week in October is that Jack and Beth had a babysitter stay with them for more than 2 hours...and they did great!! Mommy and Grandma wanted to go to the mall, so we had Andrew B come over. He said that Jack cried for about 5 minutes, but then decided to just play. And no more tears after that! Woohoo! It's not surprising though, cause Andrew is the best!
Well, I'll try to catch up some more soon! Thanks for continuing to care about our family and to lift us up in your prayers! Blessings!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A week of experiences

Greetings! Well, since the last post, a few interesting things have happened. First, it was Mitch's first reserve duty weekend since we returned from Thailand. He left on Thursday evening and got back on Sunday evening. I decided that being a single parent is not my preference (not that it usually is anyone's preference) and that God had a good plan when He put both a Mommy and a Daddy in a family! It is just so much easier when we can tag-team.
We had fun with Nan B last week, too. She brought over some boxes of books for us and just couldn't resist sitting down to read with Beth and Jack. (I have a great picture, but had trouble uploading it. Sorry!) They seemed to have no problem crawling up on her lap and looking at books! I think they are becoming more and more comfortable meeting people.
We also had our first haircuts with Jessica A. They were not very keen on the idea until Mommy had her hair cut first. Then Beth was ready to try sitting on the big chair. (Another missing pic. :()She did great! Jack was still unsure about it all and his was the cut I really wanted to get done (He had tried to be his own barber at some point before we got him.) Finally, I ended up holding him on my lap so Jessica could trim up the rough spots. All in all, it was a success.
Grandma Louise came over to play with us both Friday and Saturday evenings. They had a lot of fun showing Grandma how they could trace shapes and letters in their workbooks. After bedtime, it was nice to unwind with a couple of games of Scrabble!
Sunday was a little challenging for me since I could only be in one classroom at a time and they are in different rooms. When I thought they were preoccupied playing, I tried to sneak out and go into the adult service. But, one of the teachers came and found me saying that Jack was crying. We ended up all going into the adult service and they did surprisingly well at being quiet. After church we had lunch with Grandpa Dave and Grandma Pat at Taco Bell. They both enjoyed their tacos so I guess Mexican food is okay with them. Jack gave Grandma kisses, too. It's great to see them feeling secure enough to show affection to the special people in their lives!
Since the weather was so nice, we went out to Lone Pine Farm on Monday just to play and feed the goats. Jack was more brave this time and actually held out some food on his palm for the goat to eat. Beth still felt scared though. Maybe next time...
Beth started complaining of a sore throat so on Tuesday we went to the doctor to check her out. At the doctor's office the preliminary culture came back negative so we weren't worried. But then on Wednesday, the nurse called and said the official results came back from the lab and were positive for strep throat. So, we ventured out yesterday to pick up her prescription from WalMart. Well, the pharmacy didn't have the order filled and couldn't find the record of having received it. So, when I went to the dropoff window to find out what to do, the clerk said they had just taken off their phone messages and it would be another 20 minutes. My goal had been to get in and get out (seems like items just magically appear in my cart the longer I stay at WalMart!) so I wasn't thrilled to have to wait. I decided to check out the UO apparel for girls since Beth still doesn't have any Duck wear. After wandering around for at least 5 minutes looking for someone to help me, I finally found one employee covering all of the clothing departments by herself. She told me they didn't have any girls' UO clothing. Geesh! Okay, so back to the pharmacy where our order was completed, however for some reason it didn't qualify for the $4 prescription deal which was the whole reason I went there in the first place. By this time, I figured if I had to use the restroom the kids probably did too. So, we went into the empty restroom and I chose to use the larger "handicap equipped" stall so that all three of us could be corralled, so to speak. After they had both used the toilet, no sooner had I sat down, but some woman came into the restroom and told me I needed to get out of that stall because she was handicapped and couldn't fit in the other ones. So how did she know I wasn't handicapped, too? I told her she would just have to wait and that a mother with two children didn't fit in the other stalls either. Some people! I was very glad to get out of that store! I am not sure what some people see in WalMart! I find it very frustrating!
Well, today is a stay-at-home day. Beth and Jack are playing together (something we have been working on) with the Thomas the engine train set. I am trying to catch up on email after posting this. Besides catching up on laundry. Hmmph. Both kids are picking up more and more English. Yesterday, Beth said, all on her own, "May I have water." I was very impressed! And Jack uses the words "no" instead of the Thai word "mai." She can say all of the letters of the alphabet, although they are usually not in the correct order. They both like to sing the song though! It's fun to hear them try out new words and phrases. Well, until next time...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Angels or...

I finally have a spare moment to get another post in. I can just see all of you nodding and smiling like "I told you so." Well, I never doubted you all for a moment when you told me about how busy you were with your kids, just so you know. Hee hee. It's a wonderful kind of busy, I have to admit!

So, here's a heartwarmer for you...Sunday afternoon, on our way home from lunch, I glanced toward the backseat of the car to see Beth and Jack holding hands, eyes squeezed tightly shut, and Beth was mumbling something. Then she said, "Amen" and Jack repeated, "Amen" as their eyes popped open. They repeated it a few times, giggling after each "prayer." Gives a whole new meaning to speaking in tongues!

Lest you think that our children are always perfect little angels...the next morning, Beth played a naughty trick on Jack. When he called out that he had to go to the bathroom, she ran into the bathroom and closed the door before he could get there. I took him to the other one, but it was too late. He had peed his pants. Later that day, Jack got really mad about something, not sure what, and ended up throwing a screaming fit for 20 minutes. So, they really are quite typical kids.

Yesterday, Beth made her first batch of chocolate chip cookies! She did a great job of mixing the ingredients and scooping out the cookies! It was a lot of fun to have my little helper in the kitchen. I hope that she will enjoy cooking and baking as much as her Mommy does. :)

We had some wonderful visitors yesterday, too! The Bullock family finally got to meet the kids. And boy did they have fun together! Beth and Jack played chase and ride the horsey and who knows what else with Andrew, Thomas, Anna, and Timmy. They just laughed and giggled for a good couple of hours while the mommies made dinner. They stayed for dinner and then we tried Beth's cookies for dessert. I think they really wore them out cause bedtime was quick and they slept at least 12 hours straight!

P.S. I tried to upload more pics, but had trouble. Sorry.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We had a good week!

Well, the days are starting to meld together as we start to develop a semi-routine. We did have a couple of interesting events this week, though.

First, was Thursday morning Moms' breakfast/kids' play group at the Cornelius' house. It was the first time Beth and Jack went, and I wasn't sure how they would do just playing on their own at another house. It was fun to watch them as their curiosity got the best of them and they stretched their comfort zone a little bit wider. They started by crawling up the stairs and then sliding back down a few times, always looking to see if Mommy was still there and watching them. Pretty soon, however, they disappeared into the kids' bedrooms where all the cool toys were. Every once in a while one of them would come back down just to check on me and then climb back up to play some more. When Brooklyn N. arrived after kindergarten, she did a great job of playing with Beth and being her friend. It was a positive step for them to interact with the other kids and feel comfortable enough to play without Mommy in sight!

The great thing was that later that evening, when we returned for our weekly Bible study, Beth and Jack had no problem going upstairs and playing while we had our study. It's great to see them becoming more and more comfortable with our friends!

Yesterday, Daddy had the day off, so we decided to go visit Great Grandpa Ed (G-G-Pa), Mitch's Grandpa. Beth and Jack both brought their backpacks with a few toys and coloring books to keep them entertained. G-G-Pa seemed to really enjoy watching them play and especially loved to hear them laugh. Jack had to show him his Matchbox car and Beth showed him a picture she had colored. We stayed for a while and the kids seemed to feel very comfortable there.

Today was another home football game, so Mitch decided to invite our friend Aric Marshall to go with him. The problem was that Aric's wife, Trina, was out of town and Aric was in charge of their two children. So, I volunteered to babysit so the guys could both go to the game. 6-year-old Evan and his 1-year-old brother Ethan were a lot of fun. Evan led the way outside and the three older kids explored the backyard and vegetable garden, discovering cherry tomatoes and summer squash while I rocked the baby to sleep. After lunch, we all walked down to the school playground for a little fun and exercise. The kids enjoyed taking turns pushing the stroller and they all did a great job of walking on the side of the street (as opposed to the middle ;)) and looking for cars before crossing the street. Beth and Jack pointed out every dog we passed on the way, using their English.

At the playground, they both seemed much more confident climbing and sliding and swinging than their first playground experience. It helped to have Evan there to be a good example. Back home again, we had naptime for Jack and Ethan and quiet playtime for Beth and Evan. Before we knew it, the daddies returned home and it was dinnertime! It was a great day of play!

Speaking of English, they are both picking up things every day. And when they do, they repeat it often! Today, they learned "Uh oh." So I heard "Uh oh" all day long. It's okay though, because I think they enjoy learning new words and always want the affirmation from us that they are doing a good job. They also have learned to say "Excuse me" when they burp or pass gas. It's very cute to hear their little voices saying, "'cuse me." We worked with them on the difference between GrandMA and GrandPA. They are getting it slowly but surely!

They seem to be becoming more and more comfortable with affection. They both love to hug and cuddle and now they initiate kisses on the cheek. Jack has the cutest giggle when he kisses me and it just melts my heart!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Day with Daddy

Yesterday was another milestone...maybe more for Mommy than for Jack and Beth, though. Yes, I had my first subbing job since the kids came to us. I woke up early to get ready and had planned to get out of the house before they woke up. But, just as I was kissing Mitch goodbye, Beth woke up. So I took her to the bathroom and then laid her back down on her bed, hoping she would just go back to sleep. I breathed a sigh of relief as I closed the front door behind without hearing a sound.
So, while I was at work, Mitch was Daddy extraordinaire! They didn't cry when they realized I wasn't there, so that was a very good sign! After breakfast, they watched Sesame Street. Then they went to the park and played on the playground and had lunch at Taco Bell. They played outside when they got home and got their shoes all wet from the grass. And when I drove up at 3:45, they ran outside to greet me, barefeet and all. Jack fell asleep on my lap while I was sitting on the couch, probably since he didn't get his nap.
The rest of the evening went fairly well. Bedtime seems to be getting better. We have continued to read a couple of books, "Goodnight Moon" and "Guess How Much I Love You," every night. Then we hold hands and pray. And then we kiss them goodnight and they cry a little bit (last night was only 5 minutes!!!), and then it's quiet. Maybe they are getting used to it?
Beth can count to 10 now, all on her own! Well, she always skips 8 for some reason, but otherwise she can say them all! And she is starting to recognize where the letters fall in the alphabet when we work on the puzzle. She is getting close to adding "E-F-G" to the alphabet song, but usually just sings "A-B-C-D." She can recognize that her name starts with B and can tell the difference between her water bottle with a B sticker on it and Jack's with a J.
She learned the word "love" yesterday. I told her that "Mommy loves Beth" both in Thai and English, then went on to tell her everyone else I love and everyone Daddy loves. Well, at the dinner table, she announced to Daddy "Mommy love Daddeee." It was very cute!
Jack still repeats just about anything we try to teach him. And he often points to things and wants to know what they are called. I guess you could say we have an abundance of teachable moments!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Our First Dr Visit

Well, here it is Sunday already and it's hard to believe that I only got to post once last week! Whew, it seems like the days are flying by! Well, since the last post, the biggest event was our first Doctor's appointment. The whole family went. We tried to explain that we were going to the doctor's office, but who knows if what I tried to say in Thai is really what I said. Anyway, after we went back to our exam room, the nurse measured height and weight and took temps. Turns out Jack had a fever of 102.4! I had noticed he was very warm after his nap, but thought it was just from sleeping. So, the nurse got him some Motrin while we waited for the doctor.

Neither of them were very happy about getting undressed and wearing the backless robes, and by the time the doctor came in we could only do Jack's exam with one of us holding him. It wasn't surprising that he was fussy, because we discovered that not only did he have an ear infection, but he has strep throat. You would never know it though, since he is just as active as ever and never complained of having any pain. We're just glad that we caught it before it got any worse.

Even though they fussed, the visit was pretty good. We really like their doctor and appreciate her willingness to take an interest in our children even though her practice is full. She talked with us about bedtime and gave us some good ideas and then gave the children a book to take home to read at bedtime. We decided to figure out what we want bedtime to be like as far as the normal routine, and then stick to it every night, even if they struggle with it. So, Friday night, we started with bathtime, then a little dessert, then brush teeth, then read a couple of books in bed, pray and rub backs until they fall asleep. It went really well for Beth! Once she is asleep, she can sleep through the night. Jack still fights going to sleep and wakes up in the middle of the night, but there haven't been quite as many tears lately.

We have also practiced having Mommy leave and the kids stay home with Daddy. We want them to feel secure enough that I am going to come home that I can work a few days a month subbing in the schools again. Since Jack has strep, we decided he should stay home from church this morning, so Beth and Mommy went by ourselves. Jack pitched a fit when he realized that he wasn't going with us. But, it wasn't more than 20 minutes or so before he was content to play with his train set and cars.

Beth did very well in children's church today! When we arrived, the kids were all having free play time, so we wandered out to the playground. Beth really likes the slide and was enjoying it all to herself for a few minutes. Then several other kids decided to slide too, and Beth got shy. So she climbed down and tried out the tire swing. Pretty soon, Richelle joined her on the swing and Beth thought she had to get off. I told her they could swing together and then explained to Richelle that Beth didn't know all of the same words that we speak yet so she might not understand us very well. Richelle was very patient and they stayed on the swing together until it was time to go in for story time. Beth's favorite activity seemed to be coloring the lesson page, and of course playing with the toys. When it was time to leave she remembered where her bag was and grabbed it and then gave Miss Dee a hug goodbye. I was so proud of her!

After church, we drove home and picked up Daddy and Jack and then went out for lunch with Grandpa and Grandma. The rest of the afternoon was relaxing with Mommy and Jack taking naps and Daddy and Beth playing outside with remote controlled cars. We all went for a walk and stopped to visit the Marshalls. Only Trina and Ethan were home, but we stayed for while and chatted (mostly Mommy and Trina chatted and Daddy and the kids ran around in the yard!) They got thirsty and wanted some water, so I had them repeat "Please may I have water?" to ask Trina. Beth got shy, but eventually said it. By that time, I decided Jack could just say "Water, please," which he did with gusto! They are very good about saying "thank you," so that wasn't a problem.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mommy's Little Helper

Okay, question of the day: What is it that suddenly makes an almost-three-year-old boy hate pockets and refuse to wear pants with pockets?! Yes, I just had to laugh. And then we changed his pants.

Well, yesterday was our first grocery shopping trip. It really wasn't all that eventful. It's just that Mommy felt quite apprehensive about the whole thing. So, they both started off in the cart. Then, as it started filling up, Jack wanted out. He thought it was fun to "push" the cart. Mommy thought it was a great opportunity to teach him "stop" and "go" (especially stop!) Pretty soon, Beth wanted out, too. Well, sure enough, just when we got to the furthest corner of the store, Jack had to go. Quick as a flash, Mommy put Jack in the seat, grabbed Beth's hand and raced to the restroom...only to discover it was closed for cleaning! Agh! (Okay, so plan B was to tear open the unpaid-for package of pull-ups if we didn't make it.) Just then, the cleaning boy poked his head out and asked if we needed to use the restroom. I thought it was pretty obvious, but oh well. And we made it! Phew! After that, we hurried to get our last 3 items and check out. All in all, it was better than expected.

On the way home, we stopped in at the church office to see Bonnie and Kay. They were delighted to have us visit and scrambled to find treats for the kids. They did very well (still mostly shy), and said "thank you" and "please." We didn't stay long since Jack's naptime was way overdue and they needed a little snack. During Jack's nap, our neighbors Don and Pat stopped by with cookies to welcome the kids. We had a nice chat while Beth played quietly. The rest of the evening was fairly routine. We let them fall asleep in the living room and then moved them to their room. Seemed to work pretty well. Fewer tears anyway.

Today was a stay-at-home day. Janet, our social worker from Holt, stopped by to meet Beth and Jack and make sure we were all doing okay. She is so encouraging and helpful with her knowledge and experience! She suggested trying to dress Jack more warmly at night--maybe he's waking up because he's cold? So tonight he gets to wear footie pajamas! Very cute, too!

After Jack laid down for his nap, Mommy and Beth did some cooking together. Actually, we were preparing tomatoes to make sauce to can. Beth wore one of Mommy's aprons and loaded the basket to blanch the tomatoes. She was also in charge of the timer. After all the tomatoes had been blanched and were cooling in the water bath, she moved over to the sink and started to peel tomatoes with Mommy. What a great helper she was!

This evening, we decided to practice staying with Daddy when Mommy is gone. (Eventually, I will be subbing about one day a week again.) So, I put on my walking shoes and jacket and headed out the door. Ooo eee what a racket they made! I could hear Jack clear past the next door neighbor's house! And that's with doors and windows closed! I returned after about 25 minutes to find both kids perched, one on each of Daddy's knees. Jack was still sniffling, but Beth was calm. I came into the living room and they didn't even notice me until I said something. We'll keep increasing the time each day to try to ease them into it. We think that perhaps they had never experienced their foster mother leaving them and so it is hard for them them to deal with Mommy leaving.

Well, bedtime was in the living room. It was much calmer. We are still hoping they will sleep through the night though!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

First Sunday at Church

Sunday, September 30, 8:15 p.m.! (a little earlier tonight!)

Well, since I didn't post yesterday, I thought I'd mention our activities on Saturday first. We started off with sleeping in, well, Mommy and the kids, that is. Daddy was up early to head to Game Day and the UO Ducks game. After Daddy got up, Beth and Jack crawled into bed with Mommy and slept another 3 hours.

We had a leisurely morning getting breakfast and then headed over to Grandma Louise's house to pick tomatoes and apples and corn. Beth and Jack are becoming more familiar with her yard and did a great job entertaining themselves while Mommy was in the garden. They piled into the wagon to help pick corn and squash and we sampled the apples straight from the tree! They had to try both red and yellow delicious. They ate half of each so I don't know which is the favorite. Grandma fed us lunch so when we got home, Jack laid down for his nap and Mommy and Beth had quiet time in the living room.

After Jack woke up, we headed out again, this time for the Stephensons' house. When we arrived, Melanie greeted us at the door in her new angel costume and played the perfect hostess. She had all kinds of ideas for things to play with Beth (since she already has two brothers, she didn't seem to worry too much about Jack :)). The kids were shy at first as usual, but after a while, the toys warmed them up. Soon Beth was following Melanie back to her bedroom and playing with her stuffed animals. Later, I turned around to see that Beth had the angel wings and halo on and was happily following Melanie around. Jack seemed content to play with the cars and play guitar and of course was very interested in his snack--Doritos. We stayed for a couple of hours and it seemed they had a really good time. By that time, Daddy had come home from the football game and called to say that someone had left a dinner for us on the front doorstep. Time to head home.

Today, Sunday, we awoke to the alarm clock. Mommy hurried to get herself ready for church before the kids woke up. I got most of it done. :) Anyway, we headed out for Sunday School, thinking that the attendance would be lower and it would be easier for them to adjust to a new situation. They were very quiet and watched everything from the sidelines. Both Mommy and Daddy stayed with them and helped them know what to do. Since it was fifth Sunday, there was no children's class during the service, so they came into the sanctuary with us. We were pleasantly surprised by how well-mannered they were. They were fairly quiet and colored on the church bulletins to keep themselves occupied. After church, we had many friends come over to greet us and congratulate us. Jack and Beth seemed oblivious, for the most part, which was good. That way, they played more naturally and didn't hang their heads down. When they saw some of the other kids playing on the pews, they caught on pretty fast and enjoyed a game of peek-a-boo with Taylor W, a middle school student who helps in the preschool class. Out in the foyer, Miss Dee, their SS teacher came to find them and give them their take-home bags. When she got down on her knees and played peek-a-boo with Jack it really broke the ice and he started giggling. Hopefully they will remember next week and not feel quite so shy.

After church, we decided to try out Mexican food. So, we headed for Don Juan's, one of our favorite restaurants. At first neither one wanted to try the chips and salsa, but as soon as they did, they didn't want to stop! Jack had to guzzle some water when his mouth felt hot, but he still kept on eating it.

Back home, Mommy and Jack took a nap together. (Being up in the middle of the night really wears you down!) Then, Uncle Shawn and Aunt Jocelyn came down for a visit. We had a really fun afternoon playing, and the kids seemed very comfortable with them. They asked to be lifted up and held and of course they got tickled! There was lots of laughter and cuteness! When it was time for them to go, both of the kids spontaneously did the "wai" (the polite greeting with your hands folded together in front of you and a slight bow). We haven't seen them do that without prompting to very many people.

Well, tonight Daddy did bedtime, hence my earlier post. They knew it was coming so they started to protest and cry, but he read a couple of books with them. We are hoping to be able to eventually read a Bible story with them. When he laid them down and left, however, they went into hysterics. After a minute or so, Daddy went back to check, and discovered Calvin, the cat, sitting on the bed staring at them. I guess they're a little uncomfortable with that! With Calvin out of the picture, their cries slowly became whimpers and eventually they could be heard just having a quiet conversation. Mitch said when he peeked in, Beth was patting Jack's head to console him. And now I don't hear a peep. Whew! Hopefully they'll sleep the night through.

More about the language...we are doing fairly well communicating the basics with them, like "Does it hurt?" "Do you want some water/food?" "Come here." "Do you have to go to the toilet?" "I love you." If all else fails, we look up words in the dictionary to tell them something. Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way so we often don't know what they are saying. But, they are also pretty good at pointing and showing us what they want or need. We try to communicate our love and acceptance of them through hugs and kisses and a positive tone of voice, and they seem to just soak it up.

What treasures they are! God has such an amazing plan for each of their lives! As I prayed for them last night, I realized that right now, the only Jesus they know is what we show them. I long for the day when we can introduce them to Him. I hope and pray that when we do, they will recognize Him. It is much like the photo album that we sent to them with pictures of us and our home. When they finally met us for the first time, the social worker said that they really did recognize us! So for now, they get snapshots of Jesus. And someday soon they will meet Him!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Recovery Day

Compared to yesterday, today was very laid-back. We took our time getting up and around and stayed home all day. At around 11:00, Grandma Pat came over to hang out and play with Jack and Beth. She brought counting books and a new coloring book. Both kids enjoyed coloring with Grandma and looking at the books. She was amazed by how well Jack can color in the lines already! As they looked at the books, they repeated the words after her. The word of the day was "sock." Later, when we were putting socks on after bathtime, Beth pointed and asked what the word for sock was. She's really picking up a lot!

Both of them learn so fast! Beth was singing "A-B-C-D" today, all on her own! And this afternoon she dragged me to the refrigerator and pointed to the picture of Hannah and Sarah, the friends who had the birthday party. I only caught the word for house, but obviously yesterday was memorable! Then we looked at the Gant boys' picture and she wanted to know their names. She even had me repeat them to her brother!

Well, the rest of the day looked more like a routine. Play--Dinner--Bath--Cuddletime--Bedtime. Dinner tonight was all-American--tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Jack ate his sandwich and half of his soup no problem. Beth was much more hesitant (perhaps stubborn would be the better word?) We ended up motivating her to try it with the promise of dessert. She miserably watched Daddy, Mommy and brother devour our cupcakes before she reached for her bowl again. As soon as the required 5 bites were swallowed, she was all smiles again as she happily licked the frosting off.

Both of them fell asleep while cuddling with Mommy in the living room so we had no tears at bedtime. Woohoo! Now if we can just make it through the night...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Big Day!

Thursday, September 27, 11:00 p.m.
Sorry no post last night--thought I'd try to get to bed early. It didn't make any difference though because at 1:30 a.m., Beth fell out of the bottom bunk, landed on a cushion, and woke up scared and crying. Well, that awakened Jack, who also started to cry. Beth was consoled fairly quickly and fell asleep on her cushion on the floor. But Jack refused to close his eyes and go back to sleep, kept getting out of bed and wandering around, and cried some more when I put him back in bed--for 2 hours! It's hard to know if he is afraid or just stubborn. Finally, I just stood in the doorway until he drifted off. But it made for a tired Mommy this morning.
We had a big day planned, so as soon as everybody woke up, we were moving to get ready and eat breakfast. Our first stop was the coffee shop so Mommy could get her mocha--definitely needed it today! We were surprised to see Mike Gaffney when we went in! But it was fun to catch up for a few minutes. Then, we headed to the store to purchase a birthday gift for their new friend, Hannah, whose birthday party was today. As soon as we walked into the store we spotted a kids' "car cart," you know, the ones where the kids pretend they are driving around while it's really Mommy pushing. They were excited to get in and spin the "steering wheels!" Meanwhile, I was breathing a sigh of relief that getting them into a cart had not been an issue!
So, we headed to the toy aisle, with Mommy praying all the while that there wouldn't be any tears when they realized that the toys we were buying weren't for them. My Thai language is very limited, VERY limited, so explaining that we were going to Hannah's house and that it was her birthday was about as much as I could do, much less explain that we were going to pick out some exciting new toys but they didn't get to have them. And I don't even know if I said that right! Well, I bought some balloons to use as a distraction and it actually worked pretty well.
Anyway, we drove to Hannah's house and went in to discover that all of the kids were outside playing. Beth and Jack, being naturally very curious, wanted to try out some of the great toys and did very well playing together (as opposed to hanging on Mommy or trying to hide behind her.) They still are hesitant to interact with the other kids, though. I imagine it must be frustrating to not understand what the other children are saying. They were very interested in the trampoline, but didn't try it out until all of the other kids went inside to open presents. They ended up having so much fun jumping and flopping around. Then they wanted Mommy to jump too, so we had a fun time laughing and jumping. All in all, it seems they did very well with their first American birthday party. We actually stayed for over 2 hours!
Back home, it was obviously nap time for Jack, so Beth did some coloring and Mommy folded and sorted clothes. At around 3:30, the Brown family stopped by to visit. Jack was still sleeping so the rest of us went out to the backyard. Beth was quite shy again with new people, but we just chatted and let the kids play independently. We finally woke up Jack and brought him outside too to have a snack. After a while, we got up to check out the garden and while Mommy was picking tomatoes, Steve started to engage the children in a game of chase. Soon Beth, Jack and their friend, Eric, were laughing together and running around the yard. After Steve sat down, the three kids continued to chase each other--the best interaction with kids their own age we've seen! We thought that was definitely a positive step!
When Daddy got home, he had some good play time with them while Mommy got dinner ready. They got to "drive" Daddy's remote controlled Hummer! Beth was a wild woman--crashing into the curb and trying to run her brother over! Jack was quite a bit more cautious!
After dinner, we all got in the car again and headed over to the Cornelius' house for a visit. We wanted to help Beth and Jack get used to going over there since we usually have a Bible Study there every Thursday evening. 6-year-old Hannah, had set up some toys especially for Jack and Beth to play with when we arrived! What a great little hostess! Even though they had already met so many new people today, they seemed to warm up to our friends a little quicker than before. By the time we left, Steve was getting high-fives from Beth and playing peek-a-boo around the kitchen island.
Whew! What a day! By the time we got home, brushed teeth, got pajamas on and got them into bed, they didn't have much protest in them. Only 20 minutes or so--way better than 2 hours!
So many of you have asked about their language acquisition that I thought I'd include a few updates and a funny story. Beth can count to 5 in English, and she really emphasizes the "FIVE". She also like to play the letter "I" on the fridge phonics over and over. I wonder why she likes that sound so much? They both say "thank you" and with prompting will say "please." Most of our communication from them depends on us understanding their Thai. We do our best to say things in both Thai and English, but often rely on pointing and demonstrating to indicate what we want them to do. So anyway, last night at the dinner table Daddy quite obviously passed gas. I reminded him that he should say "excuse me" so that Beth and Jack would learn to say it in such a situation, too. So, he dutifully said "excuse me" to which Beth responded with a strong "AMEN." Yes, we find a lot of amusement at the Wofford house now!
P.S. So sorry no pictures today--I thought Beth had absconded with the camera, but found it safely hidden behind the tool turnabout on the kitchen counter after all the day's events had passed by. (She is a bit of a packrat :) )

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More New Experiences for Jack and Beth

Tuesday, September 25, 10:30 p.m.
Today started off with our earliest rising yet--7:30 a.m.! Mommy had a meeting this morning, so Daddy stayed home and fixed breakfast and played with Beth and Jack. They got to try cereal--Daddy's usual breakfast. Let's just say it might take some getting used to.

After Mommy returned home, we packed some snacks and headed to Lone Pine Farm--where the kids played on the playground--they really like slides!, watched Mommy feed the goats--still too scary to let some strange animal eat out of their hands, "mined" for precious stones in the new sluice--they love playing in water!, and helped me shop for some fresh vegetables. Grandma Mitchell went with us and Beth let her push her on the swing and hold hands when we walked across the parking lot. It's great to see the kids begin to warm up to their new family!

Back home, we ate lunch and Jack took a nap (much-needed I might add!) Beth and Mommy went outside and hung up laundry and colored. After Jack woke up, they decided to help Mommy water the plants. Maybe they'll be little gardeners some day? Actually, they just liked to play in the water.

For dinner, we tried pizza--brought over by some of our wonderful church friends. Jack and Beth didn't want to try it until we showed them the meat on the pizza. Then, they just picked it off and left the cheese and crust. Good thing Mommy had a pot of rice on standby! Mitch and I thought the pizza was great, by the way!

After dinner, Mommy stubbed her toe almost-swearing bad--yes, it was even bleeding. Beth was very concerned and followed me into the bathroom. She grabbed a bandaid and unwrapped it for me while I washed off my toe. So, maybe she'll be a nurse? What a little sweetheart!

They learned "thank you" today, and even said it a few times unprompted. And, at lunch, they repeated after Mommy when we prayed. They love the "amen" and usually shout it out!

They met a few new friends today--the Gildays and the Shelleys--still very shy, but that's okay, they've only been here a week, and we think they are doing amazingly well!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Visit to Holt Office

Monday, September 24, 9:20 p.m.

Today, we made plans to meet Margaret's cousin, Faith, who happens to work at the Holt office, and go out to lunch. Beth and Jack did very well in their carseats, even when we made a couple of stops on the way.

When we arrived, Lisa and Marissa (the Thai program coordinators), as well as a few others from the office were waiting to meet us. But they had been warned to "ignore" the kids so that they wouldn't become like little turtles and crawl into their shells. It really worked! They didn't seem to realize they were truly the main attraction. We let them play with the toys while several of us sat and chatted about our trip and how they are doing now that we are home.

Soon, it became obvious that they were getting hungry, so we made a quick trip to the bathroom and then headed across the street with Faith to the Chinese restaurant--fried rice is always a hit! Jack insisted on sitting on my lap to eat, but he definitely had a good appetite--almost two full cups of egg flower soup plus mar far chicken and fried rice! He could stand to put a little meat on his bones though.

Back at home, we played outside for a little bit and then had some quiet time on Mommy's bed--it really wasn't as quiet as I would have hoped, but at least they stayed there long enough for me to hang up the sheets from Jack's bed to dry (Yes, we've now had our first official bed-wetting episode.) When we finally let them get up, they played outside with Daddy for a while so Mommy could try to get some housework done (TRY is the operative word--seems like everything takes soooo much longer to do now!)

Bedtime is still teary, but it seems to be taking less time for them to calm down each night. Singing over them seems to help, and of course praying. Jack likes to hold my hand and Beth likes her back to be rubbed.

Well, I wanted to mention the status of Miles Baur since so many of you prayed for him and asked how he was doing. We checked the Baurs' blog and they are home safe and sound which means that Miles improved enough to be released from the hospital and fly home. It sounds like he is adjusting well to his new brother and sister, but not to his carseat. No surprise there! Thanks so much for praying for him and for the Baurs! I let them know that you were praying and they appreciate it so much.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Most Surprising Things

Sunday, September 23, 10:30 p.m.

Today was a pretty good day, although it didn't go as planned. We had set the alarm intending to go to Sunday School, but since the night was so broken up, we just turned it off and slept in.

The kids got to spend some time with Grandpa and Grandma Wofford today, as well as with Aunt Lisa and Catlin again. Beth and Grandpa had a little conversation about some cat pictures he had brought with him. Beth did most of the talking and Grandpa didn't have a clue what she was saying! But they sure had a good time! Beth's most common English word is "kitty" (sounds more like "kittle-ey" though) or "Calvin" ("Cow-bin"). But she really likes to look at books with Mommy and hear the English words.

By the time Aunt Lisa left she had them rolling across the lawn and sucking on candy that turned their tongues blue. Of course, they had to show us! It's so good to see them relax with family and really enjoy being with everyone.

We look at them often and thank God for entrusting such treasures to us! Wow! We are so undeserving! But somehow God chose us. It makes us lean even harder on Him for the strength and wisdom to be the parents Beth and Jack need.

Well, after almost 2 weeks of parenting, I thought I'd end this post with my top ten most surprising things about being a parent...

10. How proud I feel when they remember little rules like "Eat only in the hard-floor room" or "Take your dish to the sink."

9. How they manage to get so many outfits so dirty!

8. How much louder mealtimes are now.

7. How unskilled I am at little girls' hair-do's!

6. How quickly kisses really do take away the little "owies."

5. How soon after a temper tantrum the smiles and giggles can reappear.

4. How unrestful it is to sleep in a twin-size bed with a squirmy two-year-old!

3. How long they can fight sleep when they are so exhausted!

2. How many trips to the bathroom a mother of two preschoolers makes in one day!

1. How incredible it feels to hear your own child say "I love you, Mommy" while hugging your legs. (Of course in Thai it sounds like "rak meh.")

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fun with Playdoh and cousin Catlin

Saturday, September 22, 9:45 p.m.

Today was a busy day for the Wofford family! We ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and rice (of course!) and then had a playful morning. We tried out the PlayDoh today and they both really had fun! Jack stayed with it for at least half an hour and then played with his Matchbox cars. But Beth and Mommy played for almost an hour! And of course all of the colors are now mixed together, which drives Mommy nuts, but oh well. (Thanks to some wonderful friends, we have PlayDoh to spare!)

Soon after lunch, Aunt Lisa and cousin Catlin arrived to visit. While Jack had his nap, the rest of us went outside and talked and played, trying not to focus too much on Beth so she would feel more comfortable. She stayed close to Mommy and Daddy most of the time but watched our visitors curiously.

After Jack woke up, we all got in the car and drove over to Grandma Mitchell's house again to pick tomatoes. They enjoyed riding around on tricycles and being pulled around the farm in the wagon. Beth helped us pick tomatoes for Aunt Lisa and Jack helped Grandma pick pears.

When we got home, another wonderful friend from church was waiting for us with another wonderful meal! (Thank you so much to all of you who are taking such good care of us! We feel so blessed and loved! That's what church family is truly all about. I hope that we can reciprocate some day!)

Aunt Lisa and Catlin stayed for dinner and after dinner, Catlin (a 15-year-old high school freshman) got down on his hands and knees and started to crawl around following Jack. Soon Jack was giggling and playing peek-a-boo with him. Well, Beth was not about to be left out, but being a little more cautious, she watched for a few minutes. Within a few minutes, however, all three were out in the backyard chasing each other and laughing like crazy! What a great step for them! They were able to interact positively and freely with someone besides Mommy and Daddy!

The rest of the evening went as usual--bath, pjs, relax in the living room, tears in the bedroom and crash, they're asleep. Beth sounds like a toy with a battery running out as she finally nods off. Please continue to pray that they will adjust to the new routine for bedtime. We're not even sure what the old routine was, so we just try to reassure them that we are here. And Mommy gets a good half hour of prayer time in as she rubs their backs and waits for them to fall asleep. So it's not for naught! We know prayer works so we just keep praying for them.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Positive Progress

Friday, September 21, 11:00 p.m.

Well, here it is blog time again and for the second night in a row, Jack is joining me.
Of course he is asleep on my lap and I am typing one-handed. Anyway, we had another great day. I guess to make up for the rough night?

Both of the kids are repeating more and more words in English. And we are hearing them say "mommeeeee" and "daddeeeee" more often. Jack actually took an hour-long nap today! And Beth and Mommy had some quiet time coloring--almost 45 minutes! Both of them like to be wherever Mommy is, so while they watched a dvd, I folded laundry (I'm actually caught up!!) and while they played outside, I weeded the flower bed.

Beth saw Daddy pull into the driveway in his pickup and ran to the window to see. Then she ran to the door to go outside. When we got close enough, she ran to him and gave him a big hug. You should have seen the smile on Mitch's face!

We had more visitors today--the Foster family! They brought flowers and friendship so we invited them out to the backyard to see if the kids would play together. Beth and Jack were still somewhat shy, but didn't totally ignore their new friends. It was a good step and we hope to have more opportunities to play with all of their new friends!

I thought I'd end this post with a couple of cute pictures of bathtime...they love their bunny and bear towels!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Playdate

Here we are at the end of our third full day home with Beth and Jack! Seems like we are on more of a normal schedule--woke up at 8:30 this morning instead of 11:00. The kids slept better last night too. No nightmares and no tears in the middle of the night. Beth still cries at bedtime, but falls asleep fairly quickly.

Our morning was leisurely with lots of playtime and a little Sesame Street. They seem to prefer to watch tv with us rather than by themselves though.

We made plans to try an outing--in the car again. We decided to drive out to Grandma Mitchell's house, which was only 2 miles away. Mommy thought for sure Jack would fight the carseat, but surprisingly, he only protested for a few seconds before relaxing quietly. Woohoo! At Grandma's house, they dug into the huge sandbox and were soon joined by the Gant boys. We wanted to see how they would do around other kids. They didn't interact very much, but they were definitely more animated than we've seen them meeting adults. When it was time to go they even waved "bye-bye" to Grandma.

Back home, it wasn't long before Daddy came home and we all played in the backyard. Another wonderful family from church brought us dinner, which we all enjoyed! Baths after dinner and then bedtime, which seems to be the hardest thing for them to adjust to. They are used to sleeping in the same room as the rest of the family on mats on the floor. So it's no wonder they are afraid to sleep in another room by themselves. We usually end up just holding them until they fall sound asleep or laying down beside them and rubbing their backs. They are so precious to us and it breaks our hearts to see them struggle. Hopefully it will be the strengthening of the butterfly for them. We know that God has incredible plans for their lives!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Counting our Blessings!

Well, our day started with seriously sleeping 11:00! After a rough night of nightmares, fevers, and plain old homesickness (at least those are our best guesses at the reason for all the waking up and tears), we needed a little extra time to wake up! Daddy was back to work today so Mommy and the kids got the day started with breakfast for lunch. Would you believe between the two of them they ate 5 extra large eggs?! For now, we just want to make sure they eat so we look for things that are familiar to them.
Mommy spent the day trying to clean up, do laundry, catch up with a few folks on the phone and finish unpacking in between the times when Jack and Beth played independently. They actually do very well playing together! They wouldn't play outside without one of us though, so Mommy hung out the laundry while they got a little fresh air.
The kids got to meet their Uncle Rod (Margaret's brother) and Uncle Ken and Aunt Kathy (Mitch's brother and sister-in-law) along with new cousin Matthew. They are both very shy when they are introduced to new people, so it might take a little time to get to know them. We wish you could have seen us at the dinner table though! Beth and Jack seemed to have their own little jokes and just laughed like crazy. Mitch and I decided to tell our own little "jokes" and laugh like crazy, too! They hesitated for a moment and then laughed even harder. We got some of it on video in case no one believes us that they really are talkative.
After dinner, they had some Daddy-play-time and watched themselves on the video before baths and bedtime. Beth cried again, but maybe out of exhaustion more than anything. Jack just flopped down on his pillow and was out like a light!
I guess being home is not quite as exciting for all of you as when we were clear across the world, but we are still celebrating the little moments as much as the big ones--like when they understand to close the door, or they repeat what we say, when they are delighted with blowing bubbles or they discover the raspberries on the vines. It's wonderful to be where we are right now and we thank God for his blessings!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Day at Home

Tuesday, September 18, 9:00 p.m., Home
Our first full day home went very well, all things considered. Beth slept 14 hours, most of them on the floor. I guess she just feels more comfortable with the familiar right now. Jack woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't find his sister. But as soon as we figured out what he wanted and he saw her, he just flopped down on the floor right beside her and went back to sleep.
We spent most of the day just playing and trying to unpack, do laundry, take naps and teach Beth and Jack what's okay to play with and what's not. I'm finally in the "mountains of laundry club!" They love to play with their LeapFrog fridge phonics and so we've heard the alphabet song already more times than we could count. But, Beth is starting to sing it on her own when she's playing so it's been worth it. Jack will repeat almost any words we try to teach him, but Beth plays the shy card. She still calls us by the Thai words for Daddy and Mommy, "Por" and "Mae", so we try to get her to call for us in English. It ends up sounding like a combination "Mom-mae." Beth likes her baby doll and calls her "babeeeee." And they have started to call the cats "kitty kitty."
We all walked down to the local school playground this afternoon so they could get some energy out. Beth picked up swinging super fast! We didn't even have to teach her to pump her legs. Jack went straight to the tall slide and enjoyed both sliding down and crawling up it. He doesn't seem to have much fear.
Soon after we returned home, a good friend from church stopped by with dinner for us. What a blessing that was! Margaret had been fighting a migraine ever since we arrived home, so it really helped to not have to worry about cooking. It was their first American meal (well, unless you count McDonald's in Bangkok) and we were anxious to see how they would like it. They loved the meat and au jus--Jack just slurped it like soup! We decided from now on to let Jack try new foods first, because if Beth doesn't like something then he thinks he doesn't either.
We started off the meal by holding hands and closing eyes and praying. They didn't really know what was going on, but halfway through dinner, Beth wanted to "hold hands" again. So we did and Mitch prayed again. At the end, after he said "amen," Mommy said "amen" and then Jack piped in with "ahmen," and with a little prompting Beth wasn't about to be left out! We ended up playing that game a few more times before we decided dinner was over.
Daddy and the kids had some playtime and took baths while Mommy went grocery shopping. They weren't too sure what was going on when Mommy left, but soon got distracted by bathtime. They were still pretty exhausted and trying to overcome jet lag, so they went right to sleep.
We just have to say that we are having so much fun! Yes, there are frustrating moments, but it is such a joy to hear them laugh and squeal when we tickle them, or giggle and squirm when we kiss their necks. Their hugs are so priceless! We feel so blessed!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The long trip back home

Monday, September 17, 8:15 p.m., Home
Whew! What a DAY ( well, actually it's been a day and a half since our last post)! As you can see from our date entry, we made it safely home. We started our journey home with a 3:30 a.m. wakeup call. The kids woke up by the time we left the hotel at 4:00 and surprisingly stayed awake. At the airport, we discovered that when we changed our tickets to return a day early, only Mitch and Margaret's were rebooked and the kids were still booked to fly on
Tuesday! Well, that wasn't going to work! There were no seats available in economy but there were in business. So yeah, we already started off spoiling our kids! We were so ready to come home that we just decided to go for it.
Next stop was the immigration line to check everyone's passports and adoption documents. It was to be the first of many lines throughout our trip! By the time we got to our gate, we had used up our whole two hours prior to showtime and were some of the last passengers to get on the plane.
Jack and Mitch took the first leg in business class and Margaret and Beth were in the middle of the plane. We had been hoping that they would go back to sleep as soon as we took off, but they were way too wired! Neither one liked to wear a seatbelt and Jack threw a royal fit. Beth finally understood how to watch for the lighted sign to go on/off and had no problems after that. I think she kind of enjoyed snapping it closed and then flipping it open. Jack really got into the buttons on the console, especially the light. Beth got a lot of practice with "yes" and "no" when I had to remind her repeatedly not to push the call attendant button!
Our stop in Tokyo was pretty uneventful. We had just enough time to get off, stretch our legs, go through a security line AGAIN, and board our next plane. This time, the girls got to sit up in business class and the boys had backrow seats--literally! This was the longest leg of the trip and the kids got 3 or 4 hours of much-needed sleep. Both kids did amazingly well for being cramped up for so long (aside from Jack's tantrums over the seatbelt issue that is.)
We were so happy to set foot on U.S. soil! Too bad the kids don't have a clue yet! We knew we had a pretty long lay-over so we didn't hurry too much to customs and immigration. It was still pretty busy by the time we arrived there and we got in the line marked for new immigrants. The officer came to us in line and asked for all of our documents, then he just walked back to his little cubicle and told us to go to the end of another line. Long story short, we ended up being the last family to be served with everyone else cleared out long ago. (Note: this is the same US government department that made us wait in a small lobby with two small children bored out of their minds for 2 1/2 hours last week!)
We collected our luggage, re-checked it for a domestic flight and made a few phone calls to let our families know when to expect us. Then we waited some more. Overall, the kids did very well! No major temper tantrums, praise the Lord! As the journey wore on however, the tears did increase. The last flight from San Francisco was the shortest and the longest at the same time! Everyone was exhausted and of course Jack protested loudly over having to wear the seatbelt again. On our final descent, Beth's ears started to hurt from the pressure and it took a few tries of various "remedies" before Mommy remembered the sippy cups that we had brought. We finally got her to suck water through the straw and she calmed down enough to actually fall asleep right before we landed.
We were greeted with huge smiles from the grandparents! (There might have been a few tears as well?) The kids were shy and quiet (their typical behavior when meeting someone new). We ended up waiting yet again, because one of our suitcases never came through on the belt. Mitch had to wait (yes, again) for everyone else to be checked in to their flights before anyone would help him. They finally found it somewhere--who knows what the story was! By that time, Jack had fallen asleep and we were hoping he would stay out long enough for us to survive the drive home in the new carseat (with a harness!) Oh yeah, in Thailand no one uses seatbelts, much less car seats for kids! But, no such luck. He woke up as we walked to the car and boy did we hear an earful on the way home. Good thing we live so near the airport!
We were greeted by a huge welcome home sign hanging in front of our window when we arrived home, only 30 hours since our wakeup call in Bangkok! So many of our church family had signed it with notes of encouragement and blessing, it brought tears to our eyes when we read it all later. The kids were excited to investigate their new home! We showed them their room and they discovered a few toys, but when we took them out into the backyard, they dug right in to the balls and trikes and other old outdoor toys. It was great to hear them laughing and playing and enjoying themselves. By 7:30, we had wrapped up playtime, taken baths, checked out their new bunk beds and tucked them into bed. We decided to begin the practice of praying for them each night at bedtime and by the time we had finished, Beth was sleeping soundly. Jack was only seconds behind her. Now it's time for Mommy and Daddy to get some sleep too! Thanks again for your prayers for us we know God has answered many prayers on this trip.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Opposite Day!

Sunday, Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m. - Bangkok
Well, today was opposite day-as great as yesterday was, today was the exact opposite! We awoke to an impending thunderstorm and, sure enough, by the time we returned to our room after breakfast the thunder and lightning was in full force. We felt trapped inside by the pouring rain, and had to deal with a storm inside as well! Temper-tantrums extraordinaire! Once the tears subsided a bath refreshed the kids. They are used to taking baths three times a day and boy do they love the (nam) water! You'd take several baths a day too, if you lived in this sauna!

We decided to try another outing on the Skytrain. I must say I'm very impressed with how nice and modern this train is, it's one of the best mass transits I've ridden on. Anyway, this time we tried out the "Siam Center Shopping Mall" - just 3 stops away, and very nice too. The kids enjoy the train ride and especially putting the ticket in the turnstile machine. We had Japanese food for lunch and Beth actually did pretty well slurping up her ramen! We found out where the aquarium was and headed that way with a quick stop at the ice cream shop. They both like chocolate, but Beth does not like whipped cream or cherries. So many things to discover!

The aquarium was a little spendy and the kids we not minding very well either, so we decided to head back to the hotel and swim off some energy instead. The rest of the afternoon left us feeling like we had no more buttons left to push. But we are trusting the Lord to give us patience and understanding beyond the language barrier. Part of the frustration they are experiencing is when they try to tell us something, and we can't understand them. I wonder sometimes if we are learning Thai faster than they are learning English though?! But we know God's grace is more than enough and that bolsters our lagging spirits. We also know that this is God's plan for Beth and Jack and we want to do our best to show them His perfect love as imperfect as we may be.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Zoo

Sunday, Sept. 16, 8:45 a.m., Bangkok

Sorry for the late posting last night we tried to post this but didn't realize the computer room closed at 9:00 p.m.

Saturday was spent as a leisurely morning sleeping in, getting our breakfast and playing. We left for the zoo around 10:00 a.m. First we walked a few blocks to the "Skytrain Station". We took the Skytrain to the Victory Monument which was only 6 stops away. From there, we caught a taxi to the zoo.

At the zoo, Beth and Jack were so excited to see all the animals! Sometimes we would have to drag them away so we could move on to the next exhibit. It seemed that their favorites were the reptiles-especially the turtles.

The zoo was beautiful and well-maintained. It even had a nice playground for the kids. They took to it much easier this time and really enjoyed the slides. Jack seems fearless and Beth is cautious but curious.

As we started to go toward the elephant house, we glanced outside the zoo grounds toward the Parliamint building and noticed a parade was in progress. We were treated to dancers in traditional costume, and 80 elephants bearing honorees, music and drums. It was all very fascinating, and we found out this morning that this was in honor of his majesty the Kings' birthday!

By the time we were ready to head back out the gate, some of the elephants had arrived back at the zoo gate all decked out in their silk finery. They let us take pictures with some of the "babies" and even pet them!

The weather was hot and humid all day long and we felt like we had been in a sauna. Both kids catnapped in the taxi on the way back but woke-up in time to enjoy the Skytrain agian.

Back in our room, we took cool and refreshing baths and rested on our beds. Everone seemed to really perk up then and so we did some quiet play, dinner and into bed. It was another fun day for the Wofford family!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Visa Day

Friday, September 14, 8:40 p.m., Bangkok

We started our day off by inadvertently sleeping in, so when we awoke, we discovered we had only one hour to get everybody dressed, eat breakfast, cross the street (not as easy as one might think when there are cars 8-wide on a 6-lane avenue and motorcycles and scooters zooming in and out between all the cars!), hail a taxi, and get to the US embassy by 8:30 a.m. The good news is that we did it! The better news is that our visa interview went smoothly. And the best news is that the immigration officer told us to wait and they would process the kids' visas before we left. We didn't have to return later to pick them up! Mo says that "never" happens. Prayer is making a difference!! So that means all of our official business is over! Praise the Lord!

We were hoping to be able to change our tickets and come home right away, but it looks like we will be spending the weekend here after all. Tomorrow, we'll take the skytrain to the zoo. And Sunday, we might make a daytrip to the beach. It all depends on how well Beth and Jack are doing. Jack hasn't been getting his usual nap each day, so he is usually pretty exhausted by 7 or 7:30 p.m.

Anyway, we had another chance to spend time with Mai and her sister, Noi. They had accompanied their father to the hospital for his dialysis treatment and since the hospital was within walking distance of our hotel, we met them there for lunch. We got to meet their father, who was gracious and cheerful and seemed delighted to meet our children. (By the way, the hospital is cutting edge, beautiful and huge!)

After we said goodbye to Mai and Noi, we went upstairs to check on the Baurs, who had just today admitted their son, Miles, because he has pneumonia and needs IV antibiotics. They had to check out of the hotel and were camped out in Miles' room. They were supposed to fly home this evening, but now will also be spending the weekend here. Please pray for little Miles--he can't seem to keep anything in his stomach, has a high fever, and has trouble breathing.

We are somewhat concerned for Jack and Beth's health as well. Both have sinus congestion and bad coughs. We've got cold medicine, vitamins and airborne, so hopefully by the time we fly, they will be over their colds. (By the way, Beth only had two sips of my coffee, you guys!)

Both kids are becoming more affectionate toward us. Jack is starting to say "Mommy" and his hugs just melt our hearts. Beth is more hesitant, but still enjoys cuddling when we initiate it. Both have tempers when they don't get their way, and so we just pick our battles and make sure we win. They are just testing the boundaries. The laughter far outweighs the few tears, and we would just about give anything to know what Beth jabbers on and on about! That girl can talk!

We had another good day of swimming and Beth even tried on her swimsuit--although not until we were back in the room and taking baths. Oh well. At least she tried it on without crying! Jack still won't get in the pool, but he sure has fun splashing and kicking the beach ball across it!

Daddy went out for "take-away" again and after dinner everyone just relaxed. It was a good end to a long day!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Good Day...

Thursday, September 13, 8:20 p.m., Bangkok

Well, today was definitely an improvement over yesterday! We let Beth and Jack sleep in this morning, which meant they woke up at 7:00 instead of 6:30. They are definitely early risers! After breakfast, we took a walk around the block and looked at cats and lizards and turtles. Then, we played in our room until Daddy had to leave to take care of our immigration papers. Mommy and kids went across the streets to the supermarket/cafeteria to pick up a few snacks and some "take-away" food for lunch. We went around the corner and had our first Starbucks experience. Jack loved his mango smoothie, but Beth seemed to prefer Mommy's caramel frappucino.

Mitch returned with great news--our visa appointment is tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. at the embassy! Sounds like our prayers are already being answered!

This afternoon, we decided to try the swimming pool again. Daddy wanted to swim so Mommy agreed to stay on the side with toys, just in case they panicked again. We splashed in the fountain and then they started to toss the beach ball to Daddy. Slowly, they moved closer and closer until they finally splashed their hands in the pool. After shoes came off, Beth started to hang on the ladder and gradually worked her way down to submerging everything but her head. Jack discovered the shower and ended up just as wet, but never got in the pool on his own. We felt it was a great step for them!

Back in the room, Beth apparently wasn't feeling well because she suddenly started vomiting. Like we said, they sure are breaking us in quickly! But after that, she was playing and laughing as if nothing had even happened.

We went to the corner restaurant for dinner and both kids had good appetites. The restaurant staff were especially friendly and acted like we needed a lot of help with our two little Thai children. We didn't think we were doing so bad, though. Oh well, they all seemed to enjoy the fussing--even the kids.

Back in our room, their eyes fell closed by 7:30. All in all, it was a very good day and we are starting to get to know their individual personalities better. Beth is sensitive and artistic and often sings little songs while she plays or colors. She laughs easily and loves to be tickled. Jack is rambunctious and confident. He seems to enjoy trying new things--food, toys, and whatever his sister has at the moment. They both demonstrate affection toward each other in their own ways. Jack shares food or brings something to Beth when she seems upset. Beth usually shares toys and talks to Jack or takes his hand to lead him somewhere.

Well, time to sign off for the night. Thank you for continuing to pray for the Wofford family! Our journey home is yet to come!

P.S. Here are a couple of pictures we forgot to post yesterday.