Saturday, November 7, 2015

October Happenings - 2015!

A lot has happened in the Birchfield house over the past month!  Lena lost her first tooth.  Will actually pulled it and I don't know who was more excited - Lena or Will!  She has another one very loose so she is doing a lot of wiggling of it!  Will is anxious to pull it too!

Lena lost her first tooth!
Lena continues to love school and her teachers.  She has mastered the monkey bars which is a huge achievement for her.  She enjoyed having pajama day at K4!  She loves all of the different activities that her teacher for K4 and KPlus plan for her class.  She is getting to experience and learn so much!

Will continues to take guitar lessons from Jason Givens who by the way is a great teacher!  Will is progressing and has learned so much in the past year!  Thanks to Jason who is so patient with Will and me!

Will and Jason
Will enjoyed his first ever Olympic Field Day at Eastwood.  He and Hope were on the Spartans and their team won the most Christ-like Award!

Will proudly carrying the Spartan flag!
Will and Hope pulling hard at Tug of War!

Hope having fun with the sack race!
Hope enjoyed Olympic Field Day also.  She and Will both did very well with all of the games and I was very proud of them both in their physical ability and attitude!  Hope continues to paint with Mrs. Nedra who she adores.  Below is one of her favorites.  Notice she has her own little way of doing her signature!

Wolf howling!
Hope also got to spend a day at Camp Chandler with her class.  The guides were great and made the activities so fun and educational.
Hope is just to the left of the guide!
Halloween was big fun!  Beth came home and she and several friends took the kids trick or treating.  Will was Captain America; Lena was Hello Kitty and Hope was a fox!

Lena, Will and Hope

Monday, September 14, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday Lena!

Although Lena turned 5 on Friday, September 11, she started celebrating her birthday when Will celebrated his on Sept. 7.  She actually got to celebrate a little all week.  When I ask her what was the one thing she wanted, she said a doll that talks.  I thought that would be an easy task, but finding a cute that talks proved to be a bit challenging.  The doll she ended up with is a Baby Alive which eats and drinks and makes messes in her diaper.  However, Lena does not know this, so shhh help me keep it that way.  Of course that was the first thing Hope said when she opened it up, so I gently put my hand over her mouth!  Who wants to buy diapers and food for a doll!  Anyway, Lena loved it and the doll talks all of the time.  With one slight push of her wrist, she goes on and on and on.  This is just what we need in our house - more noise!

Lena had a great birthday and was well celebrated!  She loved her Dora cake and other gifts and cards!

I also have to add that when she went for her five yr. old check up she didn't cry for the finger prick or her shots.  She said she was going to be brave and she was!

Her Dora birthday cake!  Chocolate - just like she requested!
One of her great gifts from g'parents!
Opening her last gift!
Yes, it is the Baby Alive minus the food which I had already removed!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy 8th Birthday Will!

Will turned 8 years old today!  He said this was his second birthday but he did have one in Moldova.  Of course, he is talking about parties!  It is sad that he only remembers one birthday in Moldova!  He has been over the top excited but for those of you who know Will know it doesn't take much!  He spent the day swimming, riding on the boat and even skiing!

Priceless look!
Lena (Hello Kitty), Will and Hope with Gigi (great grandmother)
He is "crazy" about the Avengers and especially Captain America, so he had a Captain America cake.  One of his favorite gifts was a Captain America costume.  Dow, Beth, his grandparents and even great-grandmother were able to share this special day with him.

The Birthday Boy skiing!
Opening his Captain America costume

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer 2015!

Our summer started off with me buying school supplies on the second day of summer vacation!  That gives you an idea of how summer started from my perspective!  We are still facing challenges and some days this summer were extremely difficult.  None the less, I think the kids had fun and that is what this post will focus on.

After a trip to the beach, Hope and Will attended Vet Camp through AUM.  They loved it and loved their teacher.  The week ended with a pet parade.  My wisdom of taking one dog instead of all three prevailed over the cries and pleas of Hope and Will, so Max was the only dog to experience the parade:).

Will and Hope with doggy Max

Then Hope had the wonderful privilege of going to The Little Mermaid at the AL Shakespeare  Festival with her Mimi Carole and beloved cousin Matthew!  Hope also continued with her art lessons with Mrs. Nedra.
Hope loved the play!

An example of Hope's art work!

Will continued with guitar lessons this summer with Mr. Jason and continued to make progress.  Will's big accomplishment this summer was passing his swimming test at Wynlakes and being able to go down the big slide.  Will also was fitted with hearing aids in June and we have seen a great improvement in his hearing and in his speech.  He also had three cavities filled and three pulled all in one trip to the dentist and didn't miss a beat!

Will receiving his band for passing the swim test!
Will getting ear mode for hearing aids.

Lena was able to attend St. James UMC K4 program this summer three mornings a week.  She loved it and I can't say enough good things about St. James' program.  While she didn't learn to swim, she did get very good at going under the water!  Hopefully, next year will be her year to learn.  The three kids spent a lot of time at the Wynlakes pool and our sweet friend, Katherine Rowell, often volunteered to take them.  Thanks Kat!

Will, Hiope and Lena with Kat!

I finally got to pull those school supplies out when Eastwood started on Aug. 13 (Yay!!!).  Lena is in K4, Will is in 1st and Hope is a big 2nd grader!  We are so thankful for Eastwood's leadership and the Christ-like teachers!  We are looking forward to a great year!

Will, Hope and Lena on the first day of school!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hope's 8th Birthday!

How can it be?  How can Hope be 8 years old?  But it's true!  We have always described her as watching a flower bloom and at almost 40 pounds (yay - almost into a booster seat), she continues to bloom beautifully.  It is hard to put into words how God used Hope to change our lives and I am not sure she will ever fully comprehend her impact.  God has already used her in mighty ways for it was through Hope that God spoke to us about a church orphan ministry which resulted in the launching of Children's Hope ( in 2010.

For those of you who know Hope, you know her life is all about animals.  In fact, one time I had to seriously ask her if she knew she really WAS NOT a dog!  She eats, lives and breaths animals.  We are often looking up answers to her animal questions on the internet (I have learned so much actually). This constantly reminds me of God's creativity, because did you know that a narwhal's tooth can grow up to 10 feet!?!?!  Anyway, for her birthday, the only thing she asked for was a stuffed baby lion that didn't look like Simba, so of course she got this!  Guess what she wanted to name it?  Simba!  I said absolutely not, because she has about five different size Simbas already!

We have gotten away from giving many toys to our children, so we gave Hope a trip to the Montgomery Zoo and the Atlanta Aquarium!  She could not have been happier.  Of course, Lena and Will were thrilled with her gifts as well because they got to enjoy them.  They thoroughly enjoyed their trips to the zoo and aquarium and we even threw in a ride on the ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta.

To top her birthday off, her Mimi and Pawpaw gave her tickets to see the Little Mermaid at the Shakespeare Festival next month with her favorite cousin, Matthew!

After a morning of swimming at the lake, Hope received her longed for baby lion

Receiving her gift for a trip to the Aquarium

A jungle them birthday cake - no princess cake here

Getting a little fishing in before her birthday dinner of "rare steak"

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Beach Trip 2015

Recently we returned from the beach with Beth, Will, Hope and Lena (Dow was in Haiti).  This trip included a lot of "firsts" for our family.  This was our first trip to vacation at Pensacola Beach which by the way, we loved and plan to return.  

However, the BIGGEST FIRST was that Will and Lena had never been the beach!  Have you ever tried to explain the vastness of the ocean and beauty of miles and miles of white sand to a child who has no frame of reference for such creation?  I still am just astounded at God's handy work every time I see it.  It was fun to watch them in awe of it when we first arrived.  Of course, Will was ready to get right in while in clothes when we first arrived.  On the other hand, Lena was very frightened of the waves (it was really rough during our trip) and after one wave crashed over her feet, she was headed to the sand! Hope is just naturally a beach girl from her first trip and was so happy to be back!

As the week went on, Lena did get a little braver with the water thanks to Beth's persistence.  Will and Hope loved every minute of it!

Creative Hope - found a broken sand dollar that looked like a heart

The kids also had fun in the pool where we stayed.  Will and Hope never tired of swimming which reminded me so much of my summer vacations at the beach!

 Some other firsts for Will, Hope and Lena included flying a kite, hunting for crabs at night (Andy caught two) and playing putt putt golf.
Playing putt putt!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lena's End of the Year 2015!

Lena had a lot going on at the end of the school year.  She had her first ever end of the year party at a classmate's house where she played and played and loved every minute of it.
Her first time on battery powered vehicle!

She loved swinging high in the basket swing with classmates
 I took this picture because if you know Lena, you know she loves to eat.  While all of the other children left a good bit on their plates to go play some more, Lena stayed at the table to eat every single bite!
And Lena loves food!
Lena also had her first ever end of the year program at St James.  Andy and I had to miss it due to a long scheduled colonoscopy for me, but Beth was able to be there.
Lena with some of her classmates

Apparently Lena was the only one doing hand motions!

Lena giving her sweet teacher, Lynn Higbe, a goodbye hug

 Finally, Lena began gymnastics through a program at St. James UMC in January called Leap Gymnastics.  Although she will never be a gymnast, it really helped her with balance and coordination.  It also helped her with listening to instructions, taking turns, and staying in place.  Her group had a special program in May.

Lena on the balance beam!
This was a skill that was hard for Lena at first but she mastered it
Lena with her sweet friend, Lucy

Monday, May 25, 2015

Will - Kindergarten Graduate!

Will and Mrs. Cox

Will receiving his certificate from
Mrs. Cox
This time a year ago, Will could not speak English, didn't know how to play, had moderate to severe hearing loss, and no clue about how his life would change over this past year.  But God sent an incredible teacher who began working with Will in the summer.  Diane Cox taught Hope in kindergarten and offered to help Will prepare for K beginning last summer.  Will met with Diane twice a week at Eastwood not only for learning but so he could become familiar with his future K surroundings.  I think it was love at first sight between Will and Diane.  They immediately formed a special bond.

When K finally started, Will had to adjust to not having her all to himself but he eventually did.  Diane taught Will more than just academics.  She finally coaxed him into playing with  others at recess and guided him in how to do that.  She gently guided him in the area of social skills as well, because Will had so much to learn.  She was so sensitive to his lack of experience, hearing issues, and his passion to know everything about everything!  She quickly picked up on how bright Will was; in fact we all did and were amazed.  He was able to grasp academic concepts quickly.  By the end of K, he was reading and performing simple addition and subtraction problems.  He gained so many skills in K and made many good friends.  He will continue to work with Diane this summer on language development.  Our family is so grateful to Diane for loving Will and going above and beyond the call of normal teacher responsibilities.  We know without a doubt God placed Diane in Will's life at just the right time.

Below are some pics of Will at his End of the Year Program.  He did very well with both his speaking and singing parts.  We were so proud of him.  He also had the big end of the year party at Pump It Up which he loves.  He is now looking forward to 1st grade!

Will saying his part
Will singing his part