Sunday, August 31, 2008


Thank you to Jill for having this on her blog...

Do you think I should use it for potty training???

In other news...I'm a very happy camper about the McCain pick for Vice Prez...go PALIN!!!

In non-political news, Yesterday, Yan and I babysat for some friends so that they could go to little Anna's funeral. We got to watch their newly adopted daughter, Claire...she is awesome. They also have a new, adorable dog named Lucy. Have I mentioned how much Yan LOVES animals? I seriously have to figure out a way to get her one. She was all over that dog. Petting him, kissing him, holding him (yikes, I know ;-). When we sat down to lunch it seemed like Yan was eating a lot faster than normal. Then I realized that when I turned to eat, her handful of sandwich was going down underneath the table. Needless to say, Lucy enjoyed lunch. My daughter!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Reason for heartbreak

I didn't know whether I should post or not earlier, but have decided to so that others can lift this family up in prayer.

One area that we are so richly blessed with here is the wonderful adoption community. Everywhere I turn I get to see little ones with their families through the miracle of adoption.

However, when tragic situations hit-it is hard on the whole adoption community. It seems that recently there have been many situations and losses, that leave us wondering why. Recently a family just moved to town. They had adopted a beautiful daughter from China who is now 5 and 2 months ago were able to bring their second wonderful daughter home, age 2, also from China.

Little Anna was full of life and a true gift from God. She had a known heart condition, but the family knew this and was armed with a medical team to help her. Monday Anna went in for a "routine" heart catheritization procedure...unfortunately her little heart had a lot more damage than anyone knew...things went bad and they lost Anna on the table for 45 minutes. They were able to revive her and had her on a bypass machine and life support. Wednesday afternoon they ran tests and found that the neurological damage done was extensive...they removed her from life support and she passed away about 10 minutes later in her mommy's arms.

My heart is breaking for them for the loss of their Angel. They began a prayer blog that also has posts from Anna's amazing mom, Jo.

Please lift them up in your prayers as they walk through this painful journey. Please pray that Anna's life will be a legacy and catalyst for other children to come home and for Christ to draw them to Himself. Thank you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fun times...

What I thought she was doing: Playing quietly with her toys.

What she was really doing: Covering the kitchen floor with a whole bottle of Elmer's glue 2 minutes before the appraiser for the new landlord arrived.

Fun times.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I'm heartbroken tonight over another local tragedy. There seems to be so much going wrong with so many people. I keep telling myself that part of it is that everyone is so connected by the computer. When anything happens (good or bad) we can find out about it within seconds. The problem is sometimes we can feel like everyone else's problems are our own...and we start to bear the weight of it all. God doesn't give us the grace to handle everyone else's issues...I just need to learn to take it to Him and not try to "fix" everything I come into contact with. (It's a lifelong problem that I have.)

On the tragic note...please just pray, God knows who is involved. I will post more when I'm able.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yan Happenings

We have had some busy days lately. I thought I would share a few pictures. On Saturday I had to attend a continuing education class all morning. Yan was able to go to our friend's house, the Dorris', who have three fabulous girls from China-Zara, Zena and Zola. Yan loves it there! She has gone from apprehension to feeling right at home with Charles, Rebecca and the girls. This Saturday there was a "Dragonboat Festival" they all made a trip to check it out. We are so grateful for their friendship and support!
After I got back, we ran some errands and then went to our local "Families with Children from China Ice Cream Social" at the park. After a day of fun, park play and chocolate ice cream, Yan was sacked out and fell asleep on the way home. What a fun, sticky ending to the day.

The next pic was taken today...aren't those the most beautiful "F's" that you have ever seen??? My baby drew those by herself today. Our letter of the week is "F"! I am SOOOOOO proud...she rocks man! :-)
And lastly, the newest daytime member of the family, Alex! He is a cutie and we are enjoying taking care of him. Yan is constantly helping and kissing him (or hiding his lovey behind her back)! So sweet (most of the time)!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Not just any with Jenn and Yan!

Yan and I recently tried our hand at some new recipes lately. One night we made a "Veggie Pizza" and a "Fruit Pizza". The fruit pizza is so yummy and one of my consists of a sugar cookie crust, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla mixture for the icing, and any fruit you choose to go on top. Yummmm!
The veggie pizza was new to us, but we had it at our friend Rebecca's house. It consists of a cresent roll base (though next time we will use two packages, because it was a bit thick-lay it flat on a cookie sheet to cook), a block of cream cheese, a small container of sour cream and a package of powdered ranch dressing. Mix it up and put it on the semi cooled, baked crescent roll bottom. Next, take a bag of shredded veggies (like the broccoli/carrot mix you can buy) and sprinkle that on top. Top it off with some shredded cheese and you have a yummy treat. We're actually going to make another one this evening.
The last picture was of a beautiful cantelope...wanna know why it was so special? Well, I GREW IT!!! Woooohoooo, a minor success of my first year gardening. Unfortunately, I did not have as much success with the beans, tomatoes and cucumbers...but it looks like we will have more cantelopes, many pumpkins, and some watermelons very soon! WOOOHOOO!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Could it be? My dream Christmas???

No, I haven't won the lottery or anything like that. I don't even know if anyone else thinks about these things...but I am such a Christmas person. I love Christmas...heck, I had a mother who one year left the tree up the whole year, and other years it was nothing if she put it up in July. :-)

When I became a mom I was so excited to make Christmas a magical time in our home. However, Yan had just come home and was still in shock and very overwhelmed. I'll admit I went (slightly ;-) overboard purchasing presents and toys that surrounded the tree. She got up on Christmas morning, opened up a couple things she loved and didn't even want to open the rest. It literally took days to get her to open it all.

I don't want it to be just about the gifts...I want to give her the full meaning of Christmas; but it is just an amazing time of year! I have strong, wonderful memories of being a little girl and thinking constantly of dolls, babies, anything that had to do with being a mommy. I remember walking down the aisle at the newly opened "Toys'r'Us" by "Glenbrook Square" and feeling like I was in doll heaven. I peered up at the shelves that seemed to go on forever and saw nothing but doll accesories. That Christmas it was all about the clothes, new dolls, baby accessories. It was amazing!

Which brings me to yesterday's events. I needed to stop at "Toys'r'Us" to look for a toy for Yan was with me and we ran in to look around. During the last few months she has become obsessed with babies (and yes, I am now watching babies for a full-time job that starts Monday-thank you Lord! ;-)...she walked in and saw the aisles of baby stuff and literally started squealing with delight. She was going from one baby thing to another trying to touch them, signing and saying "baby", "awwww", "cry" (there were babies that cried), etc. There was a glimmer in her eyes. Can I just will be a "BABY CHRISTMAS" at the Cullimore house. I get to relive my childhood once again...I cannot wait. 4 months, 4 days until Christmas!! WOOHOOOO!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Advice, Tips, Help?

Okay, I love Yan Yan to pieces...all of you should know that by now, if you know me at all! :-) So this is not meant to be negative or a mean post at all. I just wonder if any of my friends might have advice on how to stop what seems to be an unconscious habit? When I first adopted Yan should would grind her teeth almost all the's amazing to me how she makes such a loud sound and yet still has teeth left. Once she became comfortable with her surroundings, it decreased dramatically. Now, it's coming back along with a VERY loud moan as she's concentrating on things. (See video of example) Since we've started doing a lot more schoolwork at the table, I'm really noticing it.

Do you think it will go away as she gets more comfortable with the tasks? The old Dr. at the Down Syndrome clinic referred us for autism testing because of this sound...but then she's completely sociable, interactive after she's done with the intense focus. Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions? I have tried saying, let's stop moaning and she will-until she starts to focus again. Just wondered what you would do? Thanks!! Jenn

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Olympics

I've fallen behind in my blogging...partially because in the evenings I have been glued to the Olympics. I must admit, I really enjoy (most) of them. I've also enjoyed seeing so many fascinating blurbs about China (some good, some sad).

Yan has enjoyed watching many of the events as well. She cheers almost non-stop. I taped a little blurb of her watching diving this evening. Hope you enjoy it!

We've had lots of happenings here at home. I had a brand new job that I thought I was going to start (at an elementary school-Yan was going to attend as well). However, it fell of those, huh?, why? moments. So, I'm regrouping a bit and have begun to offer full-time child care from home. I think it will be good, at least for this season. I've also begun homeschooling Yan-she is enjoying our "school" time.

I love that homeschooling allows me to really give her what she needs, when she needs it. Tonight we were working on letters, she was trying...but literally would stare at the letter for 30 seconds to a minute before she could remember the name of it. I just waited and was amazed at how many she got correct!! I'm praying that it's a wonderful year for her...hopefully she will be reading a bit by the end of it. :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How Cool is this...

Make your own (tons of styles) at

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Trying pics AGAIN!

The bottom two pics are from of Wheat and Yan playing bean bag toss, and one of Yan and Wheat's daughter, Emmy. Then the top one is of Yan doing what she loves lately...dressing up like her pal Barney! ;-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Brain in overdrive!

There are some days that I am simply amazed by Yan's problem solving abilities and was one of them. I fully admit that on some things I give her a bit more freedom than I possibly should...but I'm always nearby...and honestly I love seeing what she comes up with.

This morning she apparently woke up and thought she was 16 years old and at least 5 feet tall. She woke up early and came to my room. I was (mostly) awake, but couldn't yet drag myself out of bed. The first thing Yan did, as she almost always does, was to go around and turn on the lights. Well, today the hallway light burnt blew right as she turned it on. She ran back to my room and said, "SORRY"...she's so cute, she didn't know it wasn't her fault. Then, my dear daughter went and got my camera, she took one picture of my office, then went out in the hallway and took a picture of the light that burnt out (why, I'm still not sure, but apparently she was very bothered by the light). Next, I heard clanging metal...she went into the laundry room, and drug out the step ladder to the hallway where she was trying to set it up to change the lightbulb. I stepped in at this point. :-) Though she often doesn't know her limitations, you gotta give the girl props for trying! I love her!

This evening she chose to not use her planning skills for good. We had finished dinner and I was sitting on the couch looking at a new "Super Duper" catalog that came in the mail today. She came over to see it, but decided she didn't want anyone to see it and tried to take it away. I told her no, and kept looking. She resumed her play and about 10 minutes later the phone rang. I went to go get the phone and the moment that I was out of the room, she dropped what she was doing, grabbed the catalog on the couch and threw it on the ground...naughty! I still love her!

I know this was a random, tidbits of the day post...but that's all I've got today! Love! Jenn
Oh, and the pics...they are not uploading...I'll have to try again tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The BEST Vacation Bible School EVER!

Some of you may remember my frustration when I found out that one of the local churches wouldn't allow Yan into VBS because she still uses pull-ups. I'm sure that it was more than the pull-ups that they were afraid of. After that incident I found out about a wonderful program at nearby "Christ Presbyterian Church". Every year they host a "Very Special Bible School"...let me tell you, it is the BEST EVER!!!

It is one thing when you are looking for people that will 1) Include your child with special needs. 2) Be attentive, kind, patient and take care of your child with special needs. But it takes it to a whole new level when a group of people feel excited and blessed to work with your child with special needs! As a parent, I feel blessed to be with Yan on a daily basis. To me she radiates God's perfection, joy and happiness. But, it's really hard to find others who will take the time to get to know her and see the same joy in her.

When we arrived at our first morning of VSBS, we were greeted by Yan's assigned special helper, Wheat. Wheat is a totally caring, joyful young woman. When I came to pick her up she said, "Do you know what a blessing Yan was to me today?" :-) She tried to learn some signs, just because she thought it would let Yan know that she loved her and that she was trying to understand what she was saying. She has told me positive after positive thing about what Yan has done has been a breath of fresh air. Wheat is a gem!! If you're reading this Wheat, we love you!

I'm sad that it ends tomorrow, but am so glad that we found out more about the ministries that the church provides. We will be back! I also feel blessed that I've finally met several moms in the area that all have children with Down Syndrome. I'm grateful that God has spoken to churches like this and that they are reaching out to be the hands and feet of Christ!

Pictures posted are: Yan and Wheat (Yan was not interested in looking...I've got to try and get a better picture of them tomorrow). And a glimpse of our many times to you push your stroller full of pull-ups with no pants and a cowgirl hat on roller skates? :-)