Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Now He Is 4!

The Little Emperor, after spending his first three birthdays in China, got to see what our American birthday's look like!  And, I think he likes!  Although, it was clear that he sort of knew what having a birthday was about. 

You see, in his little suitcase, that was packed for him by his foster parents, he came with a small photo album.  I will share some of those pictures soon.  He loves to look at them and we let him whenever he wants.  In this album is a picture of him in front of a Chinese birthday cake.  And in his journal it says that his "big brother" bought him a birthday cake.  His big brother was the biological son of his foster parents.  So, I have showed him this picture and said the word "birthday".  And he seemed very much to understand this, as evidenced by the fact that his face lit up and he would say "My birthday?" very excitedly!

He got the royal treatment!  Breakfast in bed, his first ever birthday party and a chance to see Cars 2 on the Big Screen.  His first movie at the theater!  He loved it all.  And since it all took place over the course of several days, a guy can get a little spoiled!  A weekend all about Asher......I think he could get used to that!

There were cupcakes with sprinkles!

A cake with fire!

 And some Slip-n-Slide enjoyment for all!

Yes!  Another first for Asher!

And boy did he love it!

I know it's hard to tell by these pictures so you will just have to trust me here.


He was surrounded by Godparents.


Aunts and Uncles that came all the way from out-of-town!

And cousins!  Mixed in with God-brother and God-sisters.....which are like best friends!
Or in Natalie's case, she said she is already married to Asher. 
I know it's a little 4 and almost 4, but they can handle it.


He caught on quick to how to blow out the candles.

Did I do it right??

There were presents and cards and spoiling from all directions!

And at the end of the day, we weren't sure who had been honored, Asher or Lighting McQueen!
By the looks of it, we bought out the Cars 2 department of the store.

But, we ended up with a very happy and extremely tired, contented little guy!

Happy {first with us} Birthday Asher David Jun'an Gour
You are 4!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful

~Francesca Battistelli

My niece Brianna was Baptized in the ocean off the Isle of Palms today!
I got to witness this beautiful thing.

excuse the drops of water on the lens in all these pictures. 
I had no idea until later that I'd splashed some up on the lens. 

It was very spontaneous.  Her family was visiting us for the weekend. They went to church with us and near the end, one of our pastors gave an open invitation to be baptized at the beach today.  Brianna turned to her mom and asked if she could be baptized!  Brianna is almost 18 and has known for a while that she wanted to be baptized, but has not had the opportunity.  You don't pass it up when it jumps out at you like this one did!  She loves Charleston, loves the beach and though she loves her own church, she has always felt at home at our church as well.  We made a mad dash home for the cameras and a beach towel and then raced to the Isle of Palms.  She was baptized by John, an associate pastor and our youth leader, Dave.

Afterwards, my sister pulled out her iPad {yes she did} and clicked her task manager app {mm-hmm} and checked off ~Insure Brianna gets baptized.

My sister makes me laugh!

It was a very beautiful day.  A very beautiful thing. 

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." ~Galatians 3:27

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Boy and His Cars

One Boy

Plus One Car

Equals Happiness.

1 boy + 10 cars = Bliss!

This boy had the opportunity, thanks to a ministry at our church, to spend a little moolah on anything his little self wanted.  Guess what his little self wanted.  Can you?  I'll give you two chances....

Not just one car....

Or two new cars.

We went for the whole shabang!

'Cause you just can't have enough cars, right?

Yes, I think we have a little obsession on our hands.  Our little man went through the toy department and inspected everything Cars.  He settled on this gem.  And he has not regretted it one bit.  It has been his constant companion for days!

Thankfully, he loves his sister enough to share with her!

Guess who has a birthday in just a few short days? 
He is getting very excited.  Unlike Claire, he seems to have a little understanding of what his birthday might be like.  Claire had no clue and clearly had never had her birthday celebrated before she came to us.  Asher seems to know already that it will be all about him! 

Take a wild guess what will be the first movie Asher will get to see in theaters!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Photo Upload!

So we made it home and I was finally able to upload the pictures from Isabel's very first flight! She had complete control of the camera for this trip and I did not even take my Big Camera.  Just the little point-n-shoot.  Without Further Ado.....Isabel's Photo Collage:  First Flight.

Two excited a little nervous.

Obviously, this is not our plane...
or we would have bigger problems than not being able to upload pictures.

Our plane!
Looking a little worse for wear, I must say.


Can you see the excitement?  Can you?
'Cause let me tell you, I could see/hear/feel it!

Southwest is so cheap because they let the kids volunteer to pilot the planes!


But, when Isabel asked for a a quick picture of the pilot, they invited her up!
You think she was excited before!

Future pilot?

Trying to enjoy a little in-flight entertainment.

And a little snack along the way.

This concluded our two flights on Sunday.  We flew Southwest because of the fact that the tickets were so much less expensive.  It's how I was able to afford to get Isabel a ticket.  Shriners paid for mine and Claire's.  But, I have to say, even if I had money I think I would choose Southwest.  We had a wonderful experience.  The people from the check-in staff to the plane crew and pilots were all so very nice!

I'd say that even if they had not let Isabel in the cockpit.  But, they did.

So there!

Once we landed in St. Louis, we were shuttled to our beloved Frontenac hotel.  Why do we love it so much?  I have no idea except to say that we have had so many good memories made there in the last three years.  It is where we stayed on our first trip to see Dr. Dobbs and we made a family vacation out of it.  Our first vacation as a family with 4 kids.  We stayed there numerous times that summer while Dr. Dobbs worked his magic and then next summer before going on to see our friends in Chicago.  Last summer it was the stage of our travel group reunion.  So. Much. Fun!

Monday was the doctor day and for the first time, we did not actually get to see Dr. Dobbs.  We did see Kristina (his right hand man woman) and the brace guy and another doctor.  All were in agreement.  No more night brace!  YAY Claire!  Continue with AFO's and PT.  Feet lookin' good!

As much as we love St. Louis, St. Louis without a means of just not the same.  Each day we walked up and across the street to the one shopping strip that is near enough for Miss Claire to walk to.  We visited Starbucks and Poptions.  We ate ice cream and popcorn.  We walked back.  We watched TV.


Not much else to do.
It was exciting for the girls just to eat in the hotel room.

And really, the trip was all about the flying parts for them!

Tuesday, it was back to the airport!

This travel thing is old hat for these seasoned girls now so they were much more relaxed.

Isabel rode the people mover just to ride it. 

Several times.

The whole thing wore Claire slap out and she got on the second plane, covered her head with her blanket and was asleep before we took off.  Slept until we were landing in Charleston!

Isabel decided on this last leg of the trip that she was brave enough to hang out by the window long enough to snap some pictures.  I thought these were really cool. 

She did not like the idea of being stuck by the window so she would only sit in the aisle seat.  But, she did enjoy seeing the clouds up close!

The End!