Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homeschooling Highs and Lows...

I'm so excited right now! My little one has started to read English, and we have been writing English sentences together. Wow! I don't think I could do that after only 3 months here. We go to the library a lot. She loves to get Chinese books from the Fullerton Library and English readers from the Yorba Linda Library. I'm so proud of her. She has had a consistently better attitude towards her schoolwork. I was very discouraged at the beginning of this month, because we had some major setbacks with her behavior. She would throw temper tantrums over little to nothing. It was getting to the point where we were having daily episodes. She would be very happy and loving one moment, then be mad and stonewall the next. I felt like my head was spinning. I hear this is normal and is a sign of mourning the loss of everything she knows in Taiwan, but it has been hard. This last week or two have been so much better, and I'm starting to relax again, although I'm nervous to do so.

One very special moment to me though was when we were trying to find the Fullerton Library. My navigation system took us to a smaller library in Fullerton first, called Hunts Library (I think). We were surprised to find it closed and many homeless people were encamped around it. Trina asked me who all these people were and why they were sleeping there. I explained the best I could. My girl then had the wonderful idea of bringing them food, so the following week we went shopping together and fed about a dozen homeless people there. She wants to do it every week, but it is a very hard time financially for us right now. I told her we could do it once a month. I am so blessed by her heart to do this. I think we have found a new ministry together, although she has asked to have some of them move in with us. This protective mama bear drew the line at that one.

Anyways, that's the latest scoop on Trina.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Her English is Improving...

I was sitting at lunch with Trina today at the China Buffet. I had finished two of my favorite cookies, when she asked me if I wanted any more. I told her that I did want more cookies but that I would get fat if I had too many. She answered back,"Mama, you're not fat. You're not fat, mama." I said ,"Thank you, sweetheart." Then she said,"You say you're heavy, not fat. Saying fat is not nice." Wow. That's just about all I can say. Wow.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Love This Baby!

Trina Jing-Qi as a baby-
Sabrina was able to email us some pictures of Jing-Qi when she was a baby with her foster family. I had Sam do some work on this one so we can have it framed and placed on the "family wall" in the office at my work. My parents have baby pictures of all their grandchildren up on it. Now there will be one more! God is so gracious!

Here are our latest pics...
(I'm still working on Sam to do a family portrait session of our family, but I can't believe how busy life gets when you add a new member to the family. I didn't realize my last post was over a month ago!)
Yes, we still do the peace signs.

This is Jing-Qi with her cousin, Hannah, who is helping her learn to ride a bike.

Jing-Qi loves spending time with her cousins.

This is the whole gang! What a blast they had cruising around the park on their bikes, looking for ducks and squirrels.

Daddy is helping Jing-Qi learn to ride a bike. Everything of this sort is so completely new to her. I have her play on the playground after school gets out with Christina and her friends. I don't think she has ever seen monkey bars before or the big slides that are customary here. She is still building up her courage for those. I put her in gymnastics, where her lack of exposure to such things really stands out, but fortunately she doesn't seem to notice. She absolutely loves it and feels so strong and brave afterwards. I see her little body growing stronger each day, and we are off the "asthma/allergy" pills now with no snoring at night. Praise God!

These two little monkeys love to be silly and have a blast playing together, when they aren't driving each other crazy that is. Typical sisters! 

I think the adjusting has been the hardest for Chrisitna. She is not used to sharing a room and, with her SPD, the new noises at night of her sister sleeping in the same room can be quite a challenge. Her teacher said she was coming to school really tired and sleepy at first, but is doing much better now-yet another thing to be grateful for. She has had some jealous moments as well. My daddy's girl is not entirely sure she is ready to share Daddy, but things are improving each and every day, and most of the time these two are inseparable. On weekends, they love to build "pillow houses" together to sleep in and get to watch a movie in their room before bed. Very fun times!

This is my attempt at trying to get them to take a serious picture. Almost there!

Jing-Qi can't stop giggling. We love this girl! By the way, the mornings have greatly improved. I think we are settling into a regular schedule now. Sam and I even got out on a date night, which was so needed. It was great to be able to focus on each other and recharge a bit. My little Jing-Qi is still very much tied to my hip and does not like to be alone, which this introverted mother has found somewhat challenging. I am greatly enjoying home schooling her, though it can be very hard on the days that I work. She comes along with me and we are settling into this part of our new lives together as well. I am so very glad I decided to home school. It has given me the opportunity to spend much time alone with her, which I was able to do with my other two when they were babies. Also, it is giving her a comfortable window to learn english and our culture before starting school. I have found that some things we teach in second grade math, she has not yet learned though she is in third grade, so I'm glad to have the chance to see what she knows and, hopefully, get her caught up before she starts school in fourth grade. Life has been very busy, but very rewarding as well. I'm so proud of how well she is adapting into our family. Thank you all for your prayers. I am overwhelmed by God's grace and love for us and am so grateful for every answered prayer.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jing-Qi's 1st Christmas Home!

We all had a blast on Jing-Qi's first Christmas. It was so wonderful to have her home. The kids had fun running through the trees at Frosty's Forest to pick out our annual Christmas tree. In all the commotion, we forgot to check that the tree was put on straight on the tree stand. We got home with our hot chocolate and tree to find that our tree looked like a cannon ready to fire. I mean it was at a 45 degree angle to the ground. Poor Sam wrestled with that tree for a good half hour before it finally surrendered and went straight. Way to go, Sam! Then, we all had fun listening to Christmas music while we decorated the tree.

Jing-Qi loves to wrap. The week or two before Christmas was filled with lots of wrapping of gifts for friends and family. Christina's school hosts a special store where the kids can buy inexpensive items for their families. Jing-Qi was allowed to participate as well, and she loved having gifts of her very own to give and wrap.

The eve of Christmas eve we all went to Sam's side of the family's Christmas dinner. I was concerned that meeting all the new people would be overwhelming for Jing-Qi, but she did awesome. She loved meeting everyone and playing with her cousins.

On Christmas Eve, we all enjoyed going to Grandma's house for the usual Christmas Eve gift of Christmas pajamas. Then, we all went to the candle light service at church, which was beautiful as usual. I love this service. It is so much fun to sing the traditional Christmas songs and light the candles while singing Silent Night. My parents come with us every year as well, which always makes it extra special.

On Christmas morning, we all went over to Grandma's house in our Christmas pajamas and open presents and have breakfast. My mom is up to twelve stockings on her hearth! Once again, I was concerned Jing-Qi would be overwhelmed by all the people and presents (Grandma has been known to get carried away), but not my girl. She had a blast!

That night, we all went to Aunt Mary's house for Christmas dinner and enjoyed the fellowship with more family.

We got home that night with Jing-Qi saying, "I like Mei Guo (America) Christmas!" She explained that in Taiwan she would stay up late and watch movies, which was fun, but there were no presents or family parties.

I am so grateful that we were able to have her home this Christmas. She has been adjusting incredibly well. I can't believe how well! She has embraced every member of the family and is learning family life well. I am so grateful! Praise God! We start back to our early morning schedule next week for school. I hope I'm still saying this next week! My girl does not do mornings well. She fits in to the Benavides family nicely.

OK. That's quite enough words! Here are some pics... the Balboa Bay Club Christmas Boat Parade

We like silly faces...

Christina did Jing-Qi's hair.

Sam's dad with all his grandchildren & great grandchildren present
(a dozen more were out of state)

The dynamic duo sportin' their Christmas pajamas

Jing-Qi's first Grandma Christmas "sock"

Emily's 1st pic with her 1st Nikon camera-
following in her father's footsteps

Breakfast at Grandma & Grandpa's house...Yea!

Jing-Qi's 1st digital camera from Grandma & Grandpa

Christina, who struggles with SPD, wore the itchy dress!

This girl is silly!
She liked her Christmas dress so much, she tried to wear it to 
McDonald's the next day. She normally doesn't feel comfortable in dresses.

Christina escapes the itchy dress and celebrates with a little song.

Christina treated us to "Jesus Loves Me", "Hear Dem Bells",
and "Deck the Halls." Later, she improvises as her cousin, Hannah, 
dances ballet for us. It was quite a performance!

Mommy enjoys cousin, Austin's, beautiful piano.

Jing-Qi loves playing with her cousin, Chris, and Uncle Earl.
I think I will get her into fencing. 

Emily tries out Chris's archery set.

Wow! Go Grandma!

Christina is not feeling well. We find out a couple days later in the emergency room,
with a 104.5 degree temperature, that she has a really bad upper urinary tract infection.
She is doing better now, though, after a big scare to mama bear.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Here are the pics...

Here are our most recent pics of our new precious jewel. Warning: Some are very silly. Christina and Trina had a blast celebrating our Christmas lights going on for the first time, while our neighbors inflated the big snow man for the first time as well. The rest is pretty much from their cousin, Hannah's, birthday party. Last night was soooo much better in regards to the sleep situation, and she woke up no problems this morning, earning more student dollars. Yea!