Chinese New Year Party

On Sunday we all headed up to New York City to attend the annual Gladney Chinese New Year party. Eliana especially looks forward to these events and she talked about about it all last week. On Friday she got out her Chinese silk dress. On Saturday she counted the hours until bedtime so that Sunday would come more quickly.

And on the ride there she started chanting, "I'm gonna see Chelsea! I'm gonna see Chelsea! I'm gonna see Chelsea!"

She wasn't disappointed. She devoured the food. She was mesmerized by the dances. She reveled in the various activities and crafts.

Of course she wasn't the only one who enjoyed it. I had a pretty great time myself. I got to see several little ones I have met in China, which is always amazing! And I got to see their parents too, which again, is always amazing.

It was such a great day. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!


Do You Want To Go To China?

As most of you know I work with Superkids and travel to China a couple of times a year. We have been thinking and dreaming about ways to benefit more kids and help to families be better prepared for adoption and we are so excited to announce that we are going to be hosting our very first:


What is an advocacy camp? Well, I'm glad you asked! It is an opportunity for prospective adoptive parents to travel to China to meet and interact with children. You then have the opportunity to advocate to find a family for a child who might otherwise be overlooked.

You will have an opportunity to visit two orphanages and to interact with children in each of these places. You will be able to do projects and play with children in an environment that is familiar to them. I promise, your participation will impact the life of these children!

So the details:

When: April 9-17, 2016
Where: Changsha #1 Social Welfare Institute in the Hunan Province and the Shanghai Children's Home

We are looking for prospective adoptive parents who are interested in meeting and interacting with children who are available for adoption. Parents with a completed homestudy are preferred. Parents without a homestudy are also welcome to join us.

Please contact Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information! Or you can ask me for details.


Martin Family Day

Every year on New Year's Day The Martin family spends the day together at Keith's mother's house. This year it was post-poned for a bit and we all headed that direction on Saturday. As the nieces and nephews are starting to get married and have children the crowd keeps getting bigger and bigger! This year the total number of people was close to 50 and there were 5 babies under a year old!

The children have such a good time playing with cousins! They always especially look forward to these days!

And, of course, there is always lots of food. It is one of the only times Keith gets crumb cake, brown buttered noodles, and shoo-fly pie all in one day!


My Resolution

I don't really do resolutions. I try to live pretty intentionally all of the time. I'm not saying I don't have areas that need improvement, not saying that at all! But somehow "I'm going to be happier and more calm in that worse hour of the day just before Keith arrives home" doesn't help me out much. That is just a time of day that needs redemption, what can I say?

But I've been learning something really important over the last couple of years since I've been dealing with health issues. If it isn't extremely important to me it just doesn't make my list. If it takes some of my limited energy it is going to have to make my teeny, tiny list of truly important things. It is going to have to make me excited to do it and make me a better mom and wife. Because, you may not understand my limits and my capacity, but I do.

So my resolution? To be ever more intentional in what I allow to end up on my and my family's calendar. There are so many good things, so many great things, so many worthy things, that could be added, but it is going to have to be the best thing for us if we are going to do it in 2016.

And that is all. I think that is enough.


A Few Highlights of 2015

It's a new year! I love looking back through the blog at the end of the year just to see what all I considered blog worthy throughout the last year.

Here are a few of the highlights from 2015:

The children and I spent most of last January in Texas. We did a lot of fun things while we were there, but the skate party for Freeland and Casper's birthdays and the fun day the children planned at school are some of my favorite memories from our stay there.

In March Keith and I attended the Together Called Retreat for adoptive parents. We had such a wonderful time there together!

In April I went to China and Keith and the children went to Florida. We still laugh about their less than thrilling trip!

In June I completed my first 365 photography project and started on a second year. I learned so much by taking the time to get my camera out {almost} every single day!

In July I started my photography business. I had a goal of doing two sessions per month. So far I have far exceeded that goal.

Also in July Keith went on tour with the Oasis Chorale. At the last minute Eliana and I decided to accompany him. We began and ended the tour in Indiana and spent most of the time in southern Ontario.

In September we began attending a Classical Conversations homeschool community once a week. It has been a good fit for us and we are glad we took this step!

I went to China in September and this trip we also went to Taiwan. I got to experience a typhoon in Taiwan. It meant we didn't get to see as many children, but it sure makes a great story!

The children sang in a homeschool choir this year. Their Christmas program was a big deal for all of us!

Douglas got his driver's license in December and we are all still figuring out what all that means. I do know he went grocery shopping the other day and only missed one item on the list, so that may mean great things for me!

My brother, Levi, was here for Christmas. It had been about six years since he had visited us so it was a super duper special Christmas!

And that brings us to now. 2015 was pretty eventful and I fully expect 2016 to be just as full of excitement and blessings!


The Superkids of 2015!

What better way to wrap up the year than to share with you the Superkids of 2015? Each of the precious children came home or were matched with families in 2015. These are my babies. Most of these children I have met, played with, prayed for, advocated for, and rejoiced over when their families found them. These sweet kiddos are a huge part of my life and I'm super excited to share them with you!

Here they are!
The Superkids of 2015!

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