Jazzie's 8th birthday is today! Happy Birthday to my amazing girl.
Growing up, my mother always decorated the house for my birthday and put streamers on my chair. It is a Dutch tradition to have a decorated birthday chair, so of course I have carried on this tradition for my girls.
Eating her birthday breakfast - a nice plate of bacon ;-)
We had the girls' birthday party on Saturday. I thought for sure that by now that girls would want their own individual party with their own friends, but they once again decided they wanted to do it together. This year, we had a skating party for 17 of the girls' friends. FUN!
My very talented friend Iris made cupcakes for the girls. Jazzie wanted daisies:
And Tahlia wanted peace signs:
Not only did the cupcakes look good, they tasted great! For those of you in the Cincinnati area looking for specialty cupcakes or cakes, I highly recommend Iris!
Guess who came to spend the night last night? None other than Jazzie's BFF, Sophie. Jazzie and Sophie went to OVV together and were paired up since they were 2 years old. Over the next four years that they spent at OVV, they became inseparable. Now that both of them have transitioned into their own school districts, they don't see each other on a daily basis anymore, but when they do get together, it is as if no time has passed. They stayed up giggling and talking until about 12:30 and they were back at it by 8 AM this morning. There is something special about these two. I love seeing them together...
They say they are going to live together when they get older. Maybe I'll start calling them Laverne and Shirley :-)
I have blogged about Kat before. Kat went to high school with Alex and since the very first time that he brought her over, the girls have LOVED her. Kat is a great role model for the girls and when she comes, she spends tons of time with them. She came over again yesterday, but this time for a sleepover. I managed to get two mattresses on the floor in Tahlia's room so that they could all sleep together. You can only imagine the excitement ;-)
Here is a sampling of all the fun that was had with Kat:
Time for a popcorn break:
Listening to music:
Kat was brave enough to let Jazzie do her make-up:
Tahlia went with the "less is more look":
While Jazzie obviously prefers the dramatic look:
Kat, we love it when you come to visit. I love how much time you spend with the girls and how you focus 100% of your attention on them. They really look up to you and I am so thankful that you try so hard to be a part of their lives.
After a pretty good day today, I put Jazzie to bed and went downstairs. After about 20 minutes, I hear her crying. When I went into her room, Jazzie was sitting in her bed with tears streaming down her face. When I asked her what was wrong she couldn't tell me. I asked her if she was mad, sad, scared, angry and every other emotion I could think of. Her answer to all of them was "no". The only thing she kept saying was "I don't know why I am crying"....
It was at this moment it hit me: this situation happens every year around her birthday. For as long as Jazzie has been with us, she has had these emotional moments around the day of her birth. It makes me wonder if Jazzie subconsciously thinks about her birth parents during this time. Does she remember that day somehow? I also wonder if she gets so emotional because somewhere in China somebody is thinking of Jazzie and she can feel that somehow? Jazzie is such a deep thinker and I think she sometimes has a hard time sorting through all of her emotions.
All I could do for my girl tonight was crawl into bed with her, hold her and tell her how much I love her. I love to see my girl happy and smiling, but tonight she wasn't :-(
This past week Jazzie spent the entire week atOhio Valley Voices for summer day camp. This was the first year that OVV offered this camp to it's graduates. Not really knowing what to expect, I signed Jazzie up, thinking that she would have fun with some of her old friends. Yesterday was the last day and I can say that last week was the most positive experience for Jazzie. There were only two other girls who were signed up, but with it being the camp's first year, it worked out perfectly. The three girls spend the week doing LOTS of fun activities, including: swimming, soccer, tennis, fishing, rollerskating, bowling, bike riding, crafts, gymnastics and cheerleading.
It was so wonderful to see Jazzie have so much fun. She was excited about going back to camp every day. I have always said that Jazzie is a different girl when she is with her old friends from OVV. She is just so happy. This week was exactly like that. She was happy because I think that whenever Jazzie is with her OVV friends, so can be herself 100%. She did not have to think about the fact that she is the "different" one in a group. Instead of being the only one with a cochlear implant, all the girls have one. Instead of feeling left out while swimming because she has to take her implant off, she is simply one of everyone in the group not able to hear. Besides her two friends who were at OVV when Jazzie was there, there was also an older girl who graduated from OVV several years before Jazzie did. She was there to help out, but to also be a mentor and role model for the other three girls. I think it is important for Jazzie to see someone who is just like here, only a few years ahead :-)
OVV has always meant a lot to me. Being back there last week and seeing what a confidence booster it was for Jazzie and how happy it made her, made me realize just how thankful I am that OVV continues to be in our life.
On the last day, right before pick-up, the girls showed us the cheer they had been working on all week:
Campers AND friends:
With the camp leader who also happens to be one of the amazing teachers at OVV:
I have been wanting to post these pictures, but just never got around to doing it. Here are a few pictures of Jazzie walking Lily and Kirk, who is still staying with us while Cera and John are getting used to parenthood :-)
We all know that Holland lost the Soccer World Cup, but we still had a great day with all our Dutch friends who came dressed for the occasion:
Before, during and after the game, we had plenty of Dutch goodies...
Wow, I cannot believe my baby is 6 years old today.
Her presents consisted of a pogo stick, a new t-shirt with peace signs on it (Tahlia's latest craze):
And a pink cd player with the Hannah Montana Soundtrack:
We will have a party for all her friends next weekend, but of course we had to have a small cake for just us today:
It has been a great day today. Jazzie has been away at camp during the day, so I got to spend this special day with just my girl. Just her and I. I have enjoyed every minute of it. We went out to lunch, and went swimming together. A few times my mind has wondered to a man a woman half way around the world in China. They must have been thinking about Tahlia today. How could they not have been?
First of all, it is SO hot here. I am not a happy camper when it is this hot. DISLIKE.
Our summer seems to be flying by. June was very busy and now that we are into July, the girls are keeping busy with gymnastics, cheerleading camp (Tahlia) and swimming. Next week, Jazzie will start camp at her old school and I am excited for her to be with some of her old girlfriends. From what I have heard, it sounds like they are going to do a lot of fun activities and I know Jazzie will have a great time. The other good thing about this is that I will have an entire week with just Tahlia. Since Jazzie will be gone all day, I plan on spending some real quality one-on-one time with Tahlia.
July 3 was Tahlia's Forever Family Day and I completely forgot. This is the first year that this has ever happened to me. I always remember both girls' Family Days and even though we do not make a huge deal about it, we usually go out to eat at a restaurant of the girls' choice and I make brownies. I stick candles in the brownies which the girls think is just for fun, but secretly I light them in honor of their birth parents. We were gone all day on July 3 and it wasn't until we got home late at night that I went to check my e-mail and realized that I had totally forgotten Tahlia's Family Day... I felt guilty for forgetting at first, but like a friend pointed out - every day is Family Day. Nonetheless, I made Tahlia her brownies the following day - much to her delight:
Did you hear that Holand is in the Soccer World Cup finals??? We will be hosting a soccer party here on Sunday and we will have a house full of crazy Dutch people here to hopefully watch Holland kick Spain's butt ;-)
With it being so hot outside, Jazzie has been playing a LOT of Monopoly. I am surprised she is not tired of that game. She plays it by herself all the time, but every now and then Daddy will join in...
Besides Monopoly, there has been a lot of dressing-up going on in this house as well:
Besides being a bit short, Jazzie still fits into her flower girl dress from Cera's wedding. Tahlia is not able to zip hers up any longer... Speaking of Cera, she is being induced on Saturday, so I will be a grandmother by the end of this weekend :-)
I will end this post with two more pictures from the 4th of July. I love that holiday. It makes me feel proud to be an American. I walked into our township's civic center yesterday and watched as an elderly man who was walking in front of me stop to salute the American flag. It made me tear up a little...
On Saturday we got together with two of the families from Jazzie's travel group. We live relatively close to eachother and we try to get together twice a year. Once at Christmas and once around 4th of July. So, yesterday we traveled deep into the boonies of Kentucky to spend a wonderful day with two of Jazzie's China sisters and their families...
Tire swing fun:
After a lunch of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, it was time to swim. Don't you just love the hillbilly dive board??
Time to go for a ride:
Enjoying some pretty scenery:
The girls went fishing for the very first time (we are city girls!)...
Jazzie's first fish:
Jazzie did not want to have anything to do with touching the fish...
...but had a lot of patience waiting for a bite.
Tahlia on the other hand had NO trouble touching the fish or digging through the container for worms ;-)
When all was said and done, these city slickers had a wonderful time in the country. We love seeing Jazzie's China sisters and their families and we can't wait to do it all over again.
Tahlia LOVES to sing. Her current favorite song is The Climb by Miley Cyrus. The other day she told me she was going to sing it in a different language, so of course I had to get the Flip out. Tahlia will tell you at the end of the video what language she was singing in ;-)
I am posting this video today in honor of all my friends North of the border. Happy Canada Day!!!