Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mount Kearsage

It was a beautiful day.....


What was more beautiful is that we had nothing on our calendar...the first day in weeks.


Quite unexpectedly, we all decided to jump into the van and go climb a mountain....seriously.


We met Michaela and drove to the base of the mountain...it was early afternoon when we arrived.


We set out with 12 Lowman's and 2 dogs...the black flies were intense....really intense.  We started the climb and realized that Jacob was going to need assistance just about step of the way.

  

Ben stepped up to assist me in getting him up...it was physically challenging for all 3 of us.  We were also carrying packs.  We soon handed off Jacob's to one of the girls who don't have survival packs yet.  He balance was much better without it.


It took us two hours to get to the top...2,900 feet up.  This kiddo didn't give up.


We had a few mishaps here and there with some of the other kids but it all worked out.


We were exhausted by the time we reached the top but the views were....

 spectacular....


you could see far...


really far.  


Lakes, mountains, roads, farms....such a beautiful site from the iconic New Hampshire views.


This boy as well as the rest of us we're excited to be up here.  


We had some snacks, took pictures, and before starting the decent down.  We were tired...really tired and we had to get back down on the steep trail.  


Ben was tired but he stuck close by....Kiara and Sara stepped into help Jacob.  Despite a few slides, we made it down.  It took us another 2 hours....it was good.  


Team work is what made us successful....it was a beautiful thing to see our kids stepping into this role willingly.  It was so cool to hear them cheering him on.


The benefits....It gave Jacob so much confidence.  The next day he learned to ride his bike...something that he had been working on and had the scrapes to prove it.  I believe he found the confidence somewhere on that hike.


I am sure it won't be the last hike but grateful we have a few days to rest up!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Unexpected Barn Time

They call this love....


We had a wonderful day at home today....we raked the flower beds out, pulled all the bikes out of storage...the usual kind of spring things.


We worked hard....really hard.  We hoped to have a camp fire tonight but our horse Liberty had other plans for us...


I snuck out to have some horse time this afternoon.  I was out in the pasture to find the top part of Liberty's eye lid hanging...it's kind of gross.....the vet is on the way.  I was told to not let her rub her eye on anything as it can do more damage.  


Got it.


Now we wait...enjoying the quiet munching of hay and the occasional nicker to the kids playing.


I am sitting in her stall with hot tea and my iPad while my kiddos run around playing outside because...that's what love is.

The vet came.  She is all sewn up now....a good thing!

Spring

This spring is just rushing by....our son Ben keeps saying..."Mom, I can't believe it is May already.  How come it is going so fast?"

We have been extra busy this spring.  Lots of appointments getting Sara and Jacob settled.  Exciting things are happening on this front and we are grateful for that!

Jacob recently was evaluated for his special need that required AFOs....he had braces on each leg to help support him as he walked.  The doctor took them away...he said he just needs to get strong.  The smile on our boys face was huge.  It was the very thing that made him different before....not able to attend school before coming home.  

He has not looked back.  He is running in the woods, going on hikes, playing with his sword...and watch out..he shows no mercy in his sword fighting!  He has gotten so much stronger since he came home and is up for about any adventure we offer him...usually with a huge grin and a lot of excitement!

Sara has blossomed too.  She has settled in and we have discovered so many things this girl can do.  One of the most amazing is her English.  She is reading and speaking amazingly.  We just had to encourage her.  

She is also really good at Shuttlecock....a Chinese game we ordered off of Amazon.  She loves beating us at Chinese checkers and learns strategy quickly if it is a new game.

These two kiddos have been a wonderful addition to our family and we are so grateful for them.  It truly is a beautiful thing.  They have bonded with the other children too...like I said...it is beautiful!

So many people have said they are afraid of older kid adoption but I will just say out loud...it has been an amazing journey for our family that we would not hesitate to do again.



Some other updates....

Jason is still at the International Alert Academy.  He just finished an Endurance Hike of enormous proportions.  It is not for the faint of heart.  The one week he was most concerned about...Survival week became his favorite of the whole adventure so far.  We are very excited for what the Lord is doing in his life.  This mama can't wait to give him a big ole hug!

The older boys have also helped do yard work for some folks in our church.  Those boys worked hard and have been asked by someone else to help them out....I keep telling them it builds good character and is good for Alert Cadet volunteer hours....both good things.


The rest of us at home have been doing the usual spring activities...yard work, getting the horses moving, finishing up school and doing projects here and there.  We've also had some fun days in there too.  Our days are busy, we fall into bed each night but it has been a sweet time in our life....settling in.

Life is good....thanking the Lord for what he has done and what he is doing in our lives.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easter Celebration

What a wonderful Easter we had here....


Three of our kiddos headed to the sunrise service at the beach.  We then met for breakfast at our church.  


We were then all able to attend the early service together.  


After a yummy lunch, we headed home for our traditional egg hunt.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Bright Lights

Oh, what a wonderful night it was....Kiara's Bright Light group had an evening out to paint ceramics.

It was Sara's first time.  Rebecca joined us.  All three girls were excited to get together with the other girls.

Each girl chose a piece to paint.  We spent the evening chatting, getting to know one another and creating.  It was such a nice evening.

The girls in the group did something special for Sara.  Each one wrote a note of welcome to her.  I think I saw a tear in her eye.  It was a special time.

Miss Dawn and her girls made a treat to share too.  We shared them on the steps of the ceramic shop before heading out for the night.



We can't wait for the next meeting to see the girls again and pick up our treasures from our evening out.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Glimpses

A few glimpses of Jason at the International Alert Academy.....


These are from R-night...when Rules and Regulations are given.






Friday, March 24, 2017

Home....and a New Challenge

Yes,  after a day that starts at 4 am in China and included 16 hours on a plane, a lay over and lots of long lines we arrived home about 4:30 in the USA to our excited family!  We then ventured to dinner on the way home before we all moved onto the next adventure but...

We are HOME!

What a sweet word!

With just a few hours under our belt...we woke again at 3:30 to get this guy on his way.  He flew out this morning to arrive in Texas.  He is headed for an adventure of his own...

He is spending the next 9 weeks at the International Alert Academy.  He will be challenged on many levels.  He is excited and we all believe he is ready.

But....boy, oh, boy...we sure will miss him!

Prayers for our boy...taking on a new challenge!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Turning Our Hearts Towards Home

Yesterday....we slept in way further than I dreamed possible.  We woke up to the maid banging on our door and ringing the doorbell at 9:30.  She left, we showered and didn't get moving out the door until 10:45.  We skipped the breakfast thing and went for lunch.

We met with our group at 2 for a day of sight seeing.

We went to the 6 Banyon tree Temple.  It was at a Buddhist temple that was 1400 years.  The history part was pretty amazing.  This temple now leans so much no one is allowed to climb it.  We learned about how the people are always looking for a new Buddha.  They make statues of the men they think are the newest Buddha and worship that person.  

We saw pictures of deceased relatives which each family member pays about 8000 yen a year for them to be prayed for through the year.  The walls were lined with photos.  

One family saw someone rolling rocks looking for answers to their life problems.

This religion encompasses about 80% of the Chinese population.

We then traveled to a museum for those with the last name of Chang.  After asking many questions and hearing the guide, we understand that anyone with that last name comes here every so many years to participate in worshiping their ancestors.  This is another common practice here.

But inside the building were amazing displays of the craftsmanship of people on China...we saw ivory carving, porcelain, and wood carving.  

We also saw furniture that was about 100 years old that was set up in rooms as it would appear in a house at that time.  It actually looked very similar to the room we saw in Beijing when we met the Cricket Man.

We met a young woman whose family have been artists for generations.  They paint the inside of beads, glass jars, and any novelty along those lines.  She spoke very good English and shared her family history.  I loved learning about her family!

We then headed to a local park. It was on a lake.  There were lots of people playing games, socializing and there were three bands playing music.  It was quite festive.  

We enjoyed listening to the music and watching several groups of people playing this game.  They had a weighted flat piece with a feather on it.  They kicked it off their shoes, bounced it off their heads and enjoyed every minute of it.  The only rule we saw was...no hands.  It was amazing to watch them play.


Today is our last full day here.  We pick up our Visas around 11:45 today.  We will get things packed up.  We have to be checked out and ready to fly by 5:30 am tomorrow morning.

In the last few days...everyone has been turning their hearts towards home.  Sara and Jacob have been asking to go home for awhile.  Jacob has been asking since we got him.  They are so ready for family.

Our prayers have been for God to knit our hearts together.  We have seen that happening in small steps...these two newest Lowman's are pretty amazing.  We can't wait for all of us to be together again!

Praising the Lord for what He has done!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Weekend

Catching up from the weekend ...

On Friday morning we had medical appointments.  The kids saw doctors, received a few shots and were given a clean bill of health to enter the US.


We had some down time over the weekend...it was much needed.

We also had a lot of rain over the weekend...after all it is spring.  I have loved seeing all the flowers in bloom, the new growth on the plants in the parks and some species I have no clue as to what they are....it has made for some challenging situations.

On Saturday morning, we tried the pool out during a short break of no rain.  The water was 68 and the air was around 70.  It sounds warm but it wasn't.  We went in but didn't last long.  Sara has 'southern blood' and froze the whole time.  Jacob had a blast and was way more confident in the water than I expected.

We went on a river cruise on Saturday evening.  Despite the rain, the lights along the river were still spectacular.  The employees handed out rain ponchos that lasted for most of the trip.  It let us go on the 3rd floor to take beautiful pictures in the rain.  



When we returned to our room...we used the hair dryer to dry our shoes out, hung up our sopping wet jackets and headed to bed.

Sunday was a shopping day.  We were taken to the island.  About 200 years ago, Europeans settled the island and it looks a bit like Savannah to me.  Beautiful buildings, shops and rod iron.  What makes it uniquely beautiful and lots of fun are statues of people and children randomly all over the area.  


We left the island for a bit to visit a market.  Our guide took us because he said you will only find things like this in China.  Most things were dried for sale...flowers for tea, giant mushrooms, sea horses, fish stomach or gills or whatever part you wanted in tall bags for sale in bulk.  Some were a bit on the crazy side.  The locals make teas or soups out of these because they believe they are healing.


Some things like these scorpions were still very much alive!
Yesterday, we were up early and headed to the US Consulate for our paperwork review, interviews for us and our children... all in order to obtain our visa.  It was a lot of waiting around but we passed this part and are now waiting on our visas.  This is the last big hurdle in this long process.  They should arrive on Wednesday.  We leave bright and early Thursday morning for the long flights home.

In the afternoon, we headed to the Safari Park.  It is the largest in all of China.  We saw pandas, huge snakes, koalas, bears, diving tigers and were able to feed the giraffes.  I saw animals I had never seen close up before.  

My personal favorite were the pandas.  China has the only triplets born in captivity and proudly shows them in the Safari.  We were able to watch them for a bit and take photos.


I also loved watching the kids feed the giraffes.  It was something you don't get to do everyday!



We had a long day.  The kids even fells asleep on the bus...a first!  We all stumbled into the hotel and ventured out after a bit to find some dinner.  We ended up at a Burger King I just found around the corner.  We all agreed we were too tired to sit through a longer meal.  We all are heading to bed soon after this day.