Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday, Emma!

Today our daughter, Emma, has hit the double digits. She is 10 years old. Unbelievable that it happened so fast. We are amazed at her calm spirit and goofy nature all rolled into one. We have found ourselves saying some interesting phrases over the years due to this sweet girl--for instance "No bouncing before breakfast," and "Where did you put your ears?" Happy birthday, Emma Gracie Girl!! Your are an amazing blessing!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry CHRISTmas!

We hope all of you had a blessed Christmas. We enjoyed seeing it all through Eliza's eyes. Even though it was new to her she really tore up the wrapping paper! We have been snowed in for over a week now. We are trying to not let it get us down. Nothing like quality time with the sweetest family ever!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday, Ethan!

It was twelve years ago today that we sat in awe of the baby boy God had given us just shortly after midnight. Since then he has grown to be a sweet boy--sensitive to other's feelings and striving to obey the Lord. We love you, Ethan!!!! We are forever grateful for the blessings of being your parents. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eliza Praying

Our sweet girl is learning to pray! These last few days Eliza has been putting her hands up to her face to "pray" at meals. I just had to share this picture of our sweetie!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Fun

We have had an interesting week. Just today we had 3 inches of snow fall at our house. It has been fun to play in. It's turning out to be a white Christmas--this is the first time since we have lived here that we have had this kind of weather before Christmas.

We have had a truly blessed season so far. It has been such a joy to take Eliza for her first visit to Santa and get our Christmas tree with all of our children. We have been loving every minute of it all. The pure joy and enthusiasm in a child experiencing it all for the first time is so precious.

Emma and Faith were able to sing "Silent Night" at church with their friend Shawna Ashley. I'm posting the video. Nothing like sisters to push each other around on stage during a church performance. It is pretty cute regardless of the pushing.

We hope you are all having a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I can't help but marvel at the birth of a baby born to save us all so that we can be adopted into God's family. I am in awe of such a gift.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Emma Plays Piano

Although I just posted a few days ago, I could not resist posting a video of Emma playing piano at the library with her teacher. She has only been playing since September and has worked very hard. We are all proud of her. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving and Other Fun Times

It has been a while since my last post. We have had an exciting November! We were able to visit the Fortlanders and see how big Emily is getting. The girls were so cute playing together. We had to say good-bye to our dog, Lucy, after realizing how much pain her hips were truly causing her. Eliza also had her hair cut for the first time in the U.S.A.. She did not like the hairdresser messing with her heard. Also, we had a great Thanksgiving with family. It was a big group with all 12 of the cousins on my side along with their parents and grandparents. (There are actually 13 cousins but Jason's wife is not due until next summer.) I am also going to try to post a video I just took today of Eliza learning the countries of South Africa with the girls. Sorry about the camera rotation--I will work on it for next time. She is still very cute!!!! I hope all of you have a blessed holiday and your Christmas is full of the joy of the Lord! Take this time to remember the first gift of Christmas, Jesus.

Eliza's Yangxi girlfriend, Emily
Eliza's hair cut
"I want you for the Zimmerman family"
Eliza and Grandpa
Eliza and cousin Olivia
Eliza and Grandma
All the cousins

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Harvest!!!

These last few days have been busy! Emma had an informal piano recital, Eliza went to work cleaning the house (see pictures), we carved pumpkins, and we did the traditional trick-or-treat and harvest party night. We also reached the end of our first quarter of school. Toby and I made out report cards for the kids and they all did great. One of the things we are loving about home school is that we can take our time with the kids and make sure they understand a concept before they move on. It is really helping them to learn more and feel more confident. We are very proud of them all. Believe me, they work very hard.

Here are some great pictures we took in the last few days--one day, during school, Ethan was sweeping the kitchen and Eliza decided to help--soooo cute!!!! She didn't really like her cute bunny costume but we still got some great pictures. She is even adorable when she fusses! It is wonderful to have all of our children home for the holidays this year. There are no words for how blessed we truly are.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Eliza's First Trip to the Zoo

Today we took advantage of the beautiful fall weather we have been having and took Eliza to the zoo for her first visit. Ethan was at a youth retreat so it was just us and the girls. Eliza really liked the animals. She laughed when she saw the new baby elephant play with it's mom. It is always fun to see it all in our children's eyes. Eliza was taking it all in for the first time and Emma and Faith still get excited when they see all the animals. Eliza really enjoyed the elephant ears and ended up with an extra sweet smile!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkins, Books, and a New Duck Fan

We have been having fun in our first 8 weeks of school. Eliza has been getting into her books too.

Toby went to Malaysia and Shanghai for business and brought us all back some goodies. Eliza really liked her new purse. Look out mall here we come!

Emma has been doing great at piano. Last week she came home with a prize that Eliza enjoyed. I think we have another Duck fan in the house!

We had a great time on our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. It's such a blessing to finally get to share our family traditions with Eliza.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

6 months ago today......

I remember being nervous and excited all at once. There were six of us couples cramming into the elevators at the Guangzhou Civil Affairs office building, important papers in hand and cameras ready. Who would be first? We thought for sure we would be last with the last name Z----.

We walked in the room and tried to peek at any babies. None yet. Then, after a few minutes, we saw some. Was one of them her? We weren't sure but one did have some pretty "spikey" hair. Toby video recorded the women walking by with them just in case.

They started to call out names. One couple went up and a woman came out with a baby and handed her over. A new family was born. As I watched it all unfold I looked up and there she was, in the doorway with one of the women. Tears came to my eyes. I finally saw that sweet face I had been studying in a picture from afar and dreaming of for three years. I turned to the expectant father next to me and said, "I just saw my baby!"

They called our name. Two women came out, one holding her. She caressed Eliza's cheek and said, "Misquito bites." Then they put her in my arms. "Does she look like picture?" the woman asked.

"Yes," Toby and I said in unison. Cameras were flashing and try as I might I couldn't get her to look at me. She was too busy looking around the room. Her pants were too big, flapping around past her little legs and making her look much taller. She had socks on and underneath we could see that her feet were dirty.

She locked eyes with Toby, seeing her Daddy for the first time and laughing. No tears came to her eyes but man could she laugh. We tickled her and played with her. We took turns holding her while she looked everywhere. God had kept His promise.

It's hard to believe it has been six months. In a lot of ways it seems like it has been longer. I'm amazed at this girl and at a God who loves us so much that He would trust us with such a gift. This scared little girl and her scared parents have come so far. Today, while at Emma's piano lesson, I walked just a few feet away from her. Then I heard her. She had followed me over and placed her sweet hand in mine. This little one who wouldn't look me in the eyes was reaching out to me. THANK YOU JESUS! I AM BLESSED!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Growing, Laughing, & Learning

We are into our fourth week of school and we are having a great time. It's a huge blessing to have the kids home and to be able to be a part of their learning. Everyone is being cooperative most of the time and we have more time to have fun together. I am a really blessed mom. Eliza is handling it OK although she is not thrilled about losing the attention she used to get from the kids and Mom. She does some interesting things to get attention during school time which can be distracting and funny at the same time.

We had the chance to visit with my parents a few weekends ago and Eliza had a blast playing in their playhouse. It was just her size.

We also went on a field trip to the Oregon Garden and Silver Falls. It turned out to be a two day field trip thanks to my negligence in leaving my wallet at the park. The Lord truly protected us in that the Ranger found it and called. So, we went back on Saturday to pick it up and do some more hiking.

This weekend we went to the local Families with Children from China Moon Festival Picnic. It was fun and Eliza came home with her first temporary tattoo.

Please keep us in your prayers in the next few weeks. Toby will be traveling to Malaysia and Shanghai for work the first two weeks of October. We will definitely be missing him. Please pray he will have safe travel and we at home will not have any "big problems" while he is away. It will be the first time he has traveled for work since Eliza has come home and I have a feeling she will miss her Daddy a lot.