Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program...

for a wonderful advertisement! My friend Heather is once again sending out personalized "Santa Letters" to the little ones this year. These are a fun treat for kiddos to get. If you want to learn more about it, please visit her at:

Remember...only 50 days left until Christmas! :-)

Oh, and I'll try to update the blog soon!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We now love horses!

I know, shocking to have 2 posts in one week. ;-) Yan had the opportunity to take a short session of horseback riding therapy lessons. She LOVED it! The name of her horse (pony) was "Alladin". She did great learning to guide him right and left. She said "Walk On" to make him go and "Whoa" to make him stop. I'm hoping to get her in continuous lessons, but were not off the waiting list so far. Honestly, the horseback therapy and gymnastics have been the best activities for Yan. I would choose them over certain traditional therapies anyday. They are fun, motivating and a joy for Yan to do. There is never complaining...just excitement at each new accomplishment.

Here are some pics. The little boy in the photo's with Yan is Christian. He was adopted from Russia and just happened to get a class with us. The kids had fun together. Though Yan wanted to hug Christian a lot and well, Christian said, "I just want her to keep her hands off of me". :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall, Fall, Fall!

I love fall! I love the crisp air, the beautiful colors, the crackling of leaves beneath my feet. God is good, and his creation simply amazes me. Today I took Yan to the Pumpkin Patch. We had a blast, and enjoyed the ride along the way. Here are a few pics!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Okay, so I've been a blogging slacker...

Sorry for the long delay in blog posts. It was a busy summer and an even busier start to fall. We've had some crazy things going on in our family and time just got away from me. I did want to stop in and provide a brief updats.
Emily Yan has been busy. She is still taking gymnastics and has now started therapeutic horseback riding. She LOVES it! During her last session they let the horse trot. She wanted to continue and kept telling the horse "go, go, go". :-) We've had a slow start to our homeschooling year, but finally received the rest of our curriculum. Yan is trying to say so much more, which I love.
Even though it hasn't officially turned "Fall" yet...we were both thrilled to walk in Kmart the other day and find Christmas trees galore! :-) We're planning on putting up the tree the weekend of Halloween. :-) Hee, hee!
I hope you are all well...drop me a line and let me know how you're doing! Jenn

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yan the strong girl!

I'm really attempting to get some better lifestyle habits, including some more exercise. When I've been successful losing weight in the past (okay, about 10 years ago) I was doing heavy duty cardio and strength training. So I decided that I wanted to get some small weights for home. I was hoping to find some used ones, and I did find a little pair (3.5 lbs) at the thrift store. I brought them home and showed Yan. I showed her how to lift them up and do reps up to 10. She's been working on her counting and decided to try on her own. She lifted them up, but by two she was struggling so this is how the counting went: one, two, three, TEN! She promptly set them down. I love her style!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Show Hope!

"Show Hope", formerly "Shoahannah's Hope" is a wonderful organization that was started by the Chapman family to reach out to orphans and families adopting. As most of you know the Chapman's have gone through a rough year after losing their daughter, Maria, last year. God has used this horrific event for good by bringing in funds to start a new home in China for children with special needs. We were able to go to the open house (here, not in China...but boy would that be fun!) for Show Hope last night. Fox news happened to be there and we were in the news story (at the start and end). You can see it here:

Yan loved seeing herself on TV and was shouting and pointing! :-)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Fabulous Party!

It's been busy around the Cullimore house lately! This weekend we went to a birthday party for our good friend, Zara. Zara's uncle used to own a horse and since she was having a "horse party" he decided to surprise her and bring the horse to the party for rides and "horse talk". To say that this trumps any party that I can throw from this time on is an understatement. Yan did not want to leave the horse's side. She talked/and signed about how she rode the horse for the rest of the day. She even showed Elmo how to ride a horse today. :-) So here are some horse pics...enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yan in Pictures!!

I don't have tons of time right now (dinner is on the stove), but wanted to take a moment to update the blog. Recently my friend, Amber, (which I'm not seeing her blog on my roll and I don't know why...perhaps I haven't updated it in a year or so :-O) told me about a wonderful program called "The Littlest Heroes Project".

It matches photographers with families of children with special needs. The photographers donate their time and talents to do a photo shoot of the child for free. They then give you all the pics on CD-ROM so that you can print off whatever you want. This is a huge blessing as it provides memories that are typically very expensive.

I signed Yan up and she was approved and matched with a wonderful photographer, Stephanie, with "Bella Flora Photography". Stephanie met us at a park a couple of weeks ago and took pictures galore. She took several hundred Yan Yan photos! This week she put a sneak peak up on her blog. Check it out!

When we arrived at the park to take the photos Stephanie surprised us with a beautiful, custom made pettiskirt set. It is GORGEOUS! You could tell the minute Yan put it on she felt like a princess. It turns out it was made and donated by a very talented woman. Here is her on-line blog/store.

Thank you both ladies! Thank you "Littlest Heroes"!! We are so blessed to have this photos taken!


Monday, May 11, 2009

A Yan Update!

I've not done well keeping up with things again, but thought I would at least post a little update. Things have been busy. I feel like we go through spurts when everything is great, medically speaking and then we hit some rough patches...I guess this has been a rough patch lately.

A couple weeks ago we went to the Down Syndrome Clinic for Yan's yearly tests. As some of you know Yan was born with Congenital Heart Disease, as a result of Down Syndrome. She had two large holes in her heart, in her upper and lower chamber. Her mitral valve was also damaged. Yan remained in the hospital in Hong Kong after her birth. At two months of age she had open heart surgery. The holes were repaired well, and the valve was too...however, as she grows her valve has been loosening up.

Ideally the doctors would love for the valve to just stay tight, but that doesn't appear to be happening. The next best thing would be to repair it (requiring open heart surgery again) when she is 13-15 years old, and almost grown...but they don't think that it will wait that long either. When she had her echo, they saw a lot of mitral valve regurgitation. The Cardiologist feels that her heart might begin enlarging in the next few months and that they will have to start some medication...and see how long they can prolong things without the surgery. The worrisome part is, if they have to do the heart surgery soon and the valve would not be in good condition to fix it, they would put in a titanium valve. However, artificial valves only last about 5 years, so they would have to redo the surgery every 5 years. :-(

My concerns...IT'S MY BABY!! I don't want her to have open heart surgery. My heart still goes back to thinking about her as a baby, without a mommy. I know that some of her sensory, security and fear issues relate to being in the hospital for so long as an infant. She is PETRIFIED of anything medical...and the thought of her going through all that just frightens me. I'm afraid they would have to sedate both of us for the entire hospital stay. I also really want her to grow more first...she is only 40 lbs now, and just doesn't have much reserve.

On top of all of that the doctor's are testing for Celiac disease and they also think she's having Sleep Apnea. I'll be honest, I know that other people are dealing with so much more...but sometimes it just seems very overwhelming and lonely. I know that God knows everything about Yan, I know that he knit her together in her mother's womb, I know that I know, that I know...that He knows...I just have to let go and let Him do it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bow thoughts!

Well, first things first, I have to show some pics of what Miss Yan has been up to lately. Can we say, "BUSY"? She is learning so much daily, but really she thinks that she's about 15 years old now and can do everything HERSELF! She purposefully tries to get up before me so that she can try to "cook". Ah, the stories I could tell you. Enjoy the pics of her "Eggs" morning. She also enjoyed making beds up for all the bottles of water.

She's getting much better at hiding things as well. Tonight I noticed that she had worn my slippers out of the bedroom while I was doing the laundry. I looked around for them and could not find them in any of the usual spots. I finally said, "Yan, my slippers are missing, do you know where they are?" She replied with a proud, "YES". I followed her to the refridgerator...sure enough on the second shelf with the food. I bursted out laughing. Oh my, what can you do? :-)

We had a bow breakthrough yesterday. I used to try to get bows in her hair all the time, but she would immediately take them right out. Yesterday we were going to a friends violin recital and I decided I would try again...she wore them all afternoon! Wooohooo!!! She liked to bop her head up and down and feel the bow shake. I thought I would post a few pics!

I'm still in the process of building up my caseload for work. I'll be honest, it's really hard to go from being a stay-at-home mom to working outside of home again. I love being with Yan. I love teaching her and feeling like I'm the one with the most influence over her heart. I just wish I could pay my bills and stay home with her! I'm also feeling a heavy heart lately wanting to adopt again. I just have a burden for so many children like Yan that are not given a chance. I was able to talk to my friend Amy the other day, they are in the process of adopting two more children with Down Syndrome (see Luke and Irena on my side bar for ways that you can help). These children age out at 4...they are put in an institution and are not cared for well, many dying of starvation. My heart wants to jump on a plane and bring as many home as possible. But I have no money, I don't have enough support around me yet to make that commitment again.

Sometimes I just have to wonder why? Why do people who have the heart to do things, not have the means. Why are some people who are so selfish and into materialistic things given so many riches to blow on toys for themselves? Where is the justice? I know, I'm whining ...but it is my blog. :-) Anyways, that's where my head and heart are today...please just say a prayer for all those children out there. Jenn

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday!

Well I was so nicely reminded by a friend :-) that I had not updated in a very long here goes, at least a brief snip-it! First and foremost, thanks for your prayers for Grace! She is battling some fluid around her heart right now, but has otherwise been a total rock star! God is good!

We've just been busy little bees. I've started a new job part-time and Yan has continued to keep me hopping! She is growing up so quickly that it makes me sad sometimes. She is SO independent...trying new things every day! She continues to love dress-up as you'll see in the pictures!

We are going to an egg hunt with our Chinese Adoption Group tomorrow...I will take pictures.

Remember the reason for this fabulous Easter...Jesus Christ came to earth sinless, died on a cross and rose again...all for YOU...all so that YOU can live forever!!! That is the best gift imaginable! Make sure you've accepted it!!!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Please Pray for Grace!

I have had a friend since I was about 6 or 7 years old, named Amber. We know far too much about each other to ever stop being friends. And today I'm a complete emotional basketcase because Amber's sweet little girl, Grace, had open heart surgery! Grace is only 2 and Amber's family just adopted her last year. She is a little angel (and firecracker all in one).

She just got out of surgery and has already been extubated! Will you please lift Grace and her family up in your prayers? It's quite a long recovery road and I'm sure they can use all the prayers they can get! Here is a picture of fabulous Grace!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Smart Little Cookie!

It has been a rough day, but I had to share what Yan amazed me with today.

I was finishing up a phone call with a friend while driving to a bank (trust me, it's a rare occasion that I talk while driving). I was whining a little bit about the weather and told my friend to feel free to call this weekend because thanks to the weather we wouldn't be going anywhere, even the P-A-R-K. (I spelled it because Yan loves the park and she would want to go regardless of the weather.) I hung up and Yan was staring at me, she smiled and said, "PARK"! :-) I screamed I was so happy! What a smart girl! I almost cried. I love it that she just soaks this in and amazes me!

I am blessed to have her as my daughter!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hi/Lo Post

This post is part of "Hi/Lo Thursday" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check out their blog to read everyone else's "Hi/Lo" posts and for a chance to win $100.

I'm posting a post for Abby's blog...Abby is a strong, sweet girl who is battling for her life!

Our that I know God is still in control and our provider.

Our Low is losing another job and fighting with the bank...but small beans in comparison to what others are going through.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Taking a little break...

I'm totally behind in everything right now. I know I haven't gotten a couple of blog awards posted, sorry Amy and Heather...I'm just a bit overwhelmed with things right now. I'm trying to start some new work, increase Yan's schooling and keep the house somewhat clean, lose weight, etc....and I just can't seem to do it all. So, I may not update for a while...but hopefully things will calm down soon!

Hugs, Jenn

Sunday, February 1, 2009

R.I.P. Whu

Last week we were able to go to our local Chinese New Year celebration. Honestly it was a little overwhelming for Yan...they had loud Chinese drums and a lion, dragon and other dancers. Basically, she cried and screamed for the first hour but then calmed down. We sat at a table with a family that we had never met, the Rush family (It's always fun to make new friends :-). They were fun to talk to and have had many sets of students that they consider their "kids" from Hong fact they had recently been to Hong Kong.

At the end of the evening we found out that our centerpieces (which were fish) were available for us to bring home. Yan loves fish (especially thanks to "Elmo's World") and was thrilled. The moment I told her we could take the fish home, she signed "Eat fish"...before I knew it she fed the fish a nice serving of noodles. Mr. Rush was kind enough to fish the noodles off but suffice to say, some random bets were jokingly made on how long the fish would last. It was 17 degrees out, the heat in our car wasn't working, the fish was in an open bowl, he already had a lot of oil in his water thanks to the noodle dish...let's face it the odds were stacked against him.

On the way home I asked Yan what she wanted to name him. Expecting to hear, Dorothy, Elmo or Barney I was surprised when Yan just blew (like she was blowing out a candle)...I told her that I couldn't really blog that name, but since we got him at Chinese New Year we could improvise and give him a Chinese name of Whu. Whu has been a great fish for the last 8 days, he was fun to watch, he swam gracefully, he ate well...and today I think, I killed him. Do not put a fish in tap water, even if you are just cleaning his big bowl (okay, it's a vase) out...dead an hour later.

Yan didn't take it too hard...she said, "Bye Whu" and I made her stay in the other room while I "flushed"...sooooo sad! So for your pleasure today, Chinese New Year and "Whu" pictures...RIP good buddy...enjoy the big fishbowl in the sky!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Birthday, A Haircut and more!

I know that I'm totally slacking on the blog-so sorry! Life just seems to be very busy. Yan is pretty sick right now (I am SO over winter) with a bad stomach virus. I'm praying she rebounds quickly. When I asked her, "Do you want to watch Barney?", and she responded with a "No" and laid on the bed in silence, I knew it was bad.

So, I thought I would post a few pictures from her birthday and from her latest big haircut. Yan is still dealing with some significant sensory issues. While we both loved her long hair, it was a battle to get it brushed each day. So, I cut it. I cut off 11 inches for "Locks of Love"...and though you wouldn't know it by the pictures, she really does like it. (Okay, I'll be honest, I'm kind of regretting it...but I do enjoy not fighting about brushing it every day.)

Yan also lost her 2nd tooth and she didn't swallow it! She was very proud! So enjoy the pics!