We did it Taylor! 60 posts in 60 days! Thanks for the wake up call. Someday these posts will be like magic for your kids and grandkids. They'll be able to see you and your siblings progress through many precious stages of your childhood.
Know that mom and dad love each of you so very much!
This is a real, live picture of Taylor behind the wheel. He is going about 45 miles per hour at this point. Poor kid has to learn to drive in a 12-passenger van. But he really is doing well. Can't wait to have another licensed driver in the house!!!
Graci LOVES her long hair. When it gets to the point that it might be a good idea to cut it, it is often difficult to convince her of this fact. A couple of months ago Graci decided she would cut her gorgeous black tresses and donate them to Locks of Love. We're proud of you, girl!
Over Christmas break most of the family went to Grandma's and Grandpa's house in central Utah. Christi and I split up the time there so one of us could stay with Elli here at home. While Christi was there, she made a few videos of the kids. Here they are doing some arts and crafts and also sending messages to me:) I feel very self-confident after hearing Lexi and Sophi!
Last month I had to go to Cedar City for work. Six of the kids wanted to come with me, so we loaded up and headed down the freeway. After my work appointment, we got to go to dinner at Chili's, watch the new Cinderella, and go swimming at the hotel pool. What an adventure!
Sophi found out she can stand up by herself (and jump and dance!) in the shallow end of the pool. Way to go, girl!!!
On the way back home we took a short detour to Richfield and went to see Grandma Larsen. I was talking to Grandma in the kitchen and suddenly noticed that the house had gone completely silent. Our family does not do completely silent! We couldn't find the kids in the house, so we ventured outside, only to find all of them, including Cali!, up in a tree.
Sophi and Cali both went with me up to Shriners hospital last month. We had to wait quite a while while they work on Cali's wheelchair. It's amazing how much more patient kids are in these types of situations if there's an electronic device for them to enjoy!
Last month there was a great local opportunity to celebrate Chinese culture. There is a traditional Chinese dance company from New York that is called Shen Yun. You can see some trailers of their performances at shenyun.com. When I saw it advertised I thought Graci and Cali would love to attend. They agreed:) The three of us went up to Salt Lake for a fancy evening together and had a wonderful time. I'm so glad for our ties to China and for opportunities to continue to learn about the Chinese history and culture. Love you girls! -Dad
Christi has been threatening for years to wax my back. Tonight she decided the time had come. OUCH! Yes, I am blogging as I am being tortured. Thank heavens for iPhones. OUCH! Christi doesn't have a lot of sympathy for me, although she is impressed with how well I'm enduring it. She says she's been having her eyebrows waxed for years and I just need to suck it up. OUCH! Taylor, Jessica and Parker are watching with avid interest. Parker keeps saying things like "I don't know why I keep watching. It's really kind of nasty. But I can't look away." OUCH! Jessica keeps offering great supportive verbalizations. Things like "how much hair did he have before? Was it like a monster?" or "Dad, aren't you glad you're doing this? Isn't it worth it? All this pain?" OUCH! I'm going to sign off now, before I black out.
It's amazing how fast children grow up. Two weeks ago our sweet Xander turned 10! Hard to believe he's been with us for almost six years. Xander is such a wonderful boy. He is thoughtful and kind. He always tries to help. And he is so creative! He loves to build things with legos or other building sets. He loves to cook and often tries new creations. Xander, you are such an important part of our lives! We love you so much:)
-Mom and Dad
Jesi insisted that she buy Xander a present with her own money. The night before his birthday, Jess and I went to the store and she got him a football and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. What a sweetie:)
Every year around Easter, the Utah Council for the Blind sponsors an easter egg hunt. They have special eggs that beep so that kids who are visually impaired can find them. They also let parents and siblings get eggs, but they have to wear blindfolds so they can experience what their visually impaired family members are going through. It's a really neat experience and we're grateful for the volunteers who help put it on.
Sophi standing next to any kind of character is a bit of a miracle. She is finally OK with them. Yay, Soph!
We can always count on our kids to remind us if we're running short on food. Parker lets us know if we're running low on 1% milk. Graci always lets us know when we need more fruit. Taylor alerts us if the peanut butter is almost gone. Cali can't survive without almond milk. And of course several of our kids are frequently pining for more Chinese food.
Today I walked into an ambush. As I entered the living room, Graci and Xander started chanting "We declare more food!!!" This particular time they were basing their revolutionary tactics on the lack of Asian food in the house. They 'declared' it a couple of times, then Xander added, "and we have pitchforks and torches!!!" Fortunately I was spared their wrath by the fact that they both burst into giggles after this comment.
Graci is SO amazing with her siblings. She is always playing with them and taking time to share her imaginative play acting with them. Graci, you are AWESOME!
Here is Xander demonstrating his "pitchfork and torches" look:
I told him that when he wears this "muscle shirt," I have to call it a "bone shirt" instead;)
Conner is so sweet with his siblings. He is particularly mindful of Elli and Sophi. He will often give them hugs and talk to them. In spite of Elli's special needs, he often reaches out to her and tries to let her know she is loved. We're so grateful to have him in our family! Thanks for being such a great big brother!
Over Valentine's Day weekend, my nephew Ben came to hang out with us. He LOVES Xander and always looks forward to seeing him:) And Xander loves it when Ben comes to visit. Thanks, Ty and Laura for letting him stay with us. Here are Ben and X-man all dressed for church:
Lexi is often at Grandma's house for her birthday it falls right after Christmas. But even if she's in Ferron, she still gets breakfast in bed, gifts and birthday cake (Or, this year, cupcakes:)
We didn't get around to her actual party for a couple of months. Lexi has always wanted an outdoor Teen Beach Movie party, but with a birthday in the dead of winter, that hasn't usually been feasible. But with the unseasonably warm weather we had this year, we had a beach party in February! She had pictures at the "beach," outdoor games, and even a campfire with hotdogs and S'mores. Happy birthday Lex. You are SUCH a special and important part of our family:)
When we fell in love 15 years ago, we started down a path that has been challenging, exhausting, and breathtakingly beautiful. Here we chronicle the blessings and stressings of parenting some pretty amazing children. We think they're the perfect travel companions as we look forward to the next fork in the road. Welcome to our journey.
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Jeremy and Christianne
Our oldest by birth, he's the voracious reader, BYU fan, spiritual giant, math whiz, sports nut, huge-hearted ray of sunshine!
The red-headed social butterfly, he's our all-star athlete, top student, outdoor-loving, spunky second-born, with a heart of pure gold!
Jessica Anne "Jesi"--10
Our little princess with the big smile, Jesi loves dress-ups and tea parties, reading, playing with her siblings, and snuggling. She sparkles!
Jacob Michael-- 6/8/2004
Little one of heavenly birth, born too soon to bloom on earth. You have taught us so much--we love you, Jacob!
Emily Anne "Emmy"--9/28/2005
Emily's exquisite little hands and feet have left their mark in this world. Her body was tiny, but her spirit enormous. We miss her!
Elizabeth Mei "Elli"--9
Elli's world may be dark, but she's the light of our lives! Lover of music, chocolate, and Mommy's arms, she brings joy to all who know her!!
Gracelin Kate "Graci"--15
Showing true grace throughout her battles with heart disease and pulmonary hypertension, our Gracester is loved by everyone! She's smart, gorgeous, friendly, and has faith to move mountains!
Alexander Philip "Xander"--8
With a spunk and smile that could outmatch anyone's, our Xander has not let Cloves Syndrome get the best of him. Adopted at age 4 from China, he loves having a family, eating junk-food, and playing with his many friends!
Alexis Li "Lexi"--9
Meet the friendliest girl on the planet! Blind from birth, Lexi amazes all of us with her braille skills, determination, talents, but mosly by the way she spends her days SMILING. She is an angel in every way. We are thrilled to have our darling daughter home three years from China!!
Sophia Breanne "Sophi"--5
Her eyes called out to us from half-way around the world. Little Sophi is beautiful, smart, and coy. She can do amazing things with her little toes and we think she's about the cutest thing on the planet! Welcome home, baby girl!
Calais Rose "Cali"--13
Charming Cali joined our family in December of 2012. This girl is beautiful both inside and out. Born with spina bifida, Cali is confined to a wheelchair, but that does not keep her from enjoying life to the fullest. She is smart, opinionated, strong, and lovely in every way.
Conner Allen-- 13
Meet our newest addition! Wu Jia Xia is from Wuhan City in China. Blind from birth, he will blow you away with his incredible talent on the piano. More importantly, we are told he is sweet, compassionate, hard working and ready for a FAMILY of his own. We can't wait to get our arms around you, Conner!