Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Festival

We had fun this past week. We spent the day before halloween having a great evening at our church's fall festival. We trunk or treated, and had lots of cotton candy, snow cones, kettle corn. The kids went on hay rides. And I thought how far Calvin especially has come the past 8 months. When we first brought him home, he was terrified of even a leaf. I mean shaking, crying, if a leaf even got close to him. He couldn't let me out of his sight. And here he was happily climbing into the back of the trailer full of hay, waving at me as the drove around the field. The kids were all happy with the candy of course, but Georgia and Calvin were especially thrilled. It's so sweet to experience all these firsts with them.
Abram as Spider Monkey

John-Michael as Men in Black

Calvin as my little Minion

Vivian as the Little Mermaid

Gideon and Olivia as the Lorax, and a Trufula Tree

Hamilton as a Pirate

Georgia as Minnie Mouse

My whole crew

And speaking of firsts, it had occurred to me that this would be Georgia and Calvin's first Christmas. And that they would be older, and it would be so amazing to see it all through their eyes for the first time. BUT, the other day we went to the mall, and we don't go very often at all. And it never occured to me that there would already be Christmas decorations up. We walked into the the entrance of a store, headed to the potties, lol, and there were all these trees for sale. And sweet Georgia, bless her, was AMAZED. I managed to grab my phone out of my pocket and take this picture of her, seeing a Christmas tree for the first time. When I told her we would have one here at home, in our house, she literally gasped and put her hand over her little mouth. I thought I'd fall apart right there in the store. Oh how good God is, how blessed am I! So looking forward to the holidays.
Georgia's first glimpse of a Christmas tree.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Princess is 5!

My fashionista

With her Beads of Courage

She and I had a little date this week at Five Guys. She said we should all live here, lol.

Fun at a family party

So beautiful!

At her Grandma's birthday tea.

She has been counting it down for weeks! Five is sooo much more grown up, you know? She asked me last night if she'd still have to listen to me when she turned five? ummm yes love, for a very long time, lol. She asked if she'd have to start loading the dishwasher as a chore. Then, before I could answer her, she said "We'll have to think about that." She asked me what we bought for her present, and I asked her what she wanted for a present. She grinned and said, "how bout a phone? LOL.

Vivian is a gift pure and simple. It hasn't been easy every step, and it probably never will be, but oh she is a gift. She blesses us all and I couldn't love her more. Not possible.

We'll party it up today. Off to have a little Just Dance marathon with her now :)

And while today is full of joy, in my heart and mind, I can't help but wonder about her first family, somewhere half way around the world today. What are they doing? Are they thinking about her? Is this day heartbreaking for them? I wish I could tell them she is safe, and healthy, and so strong and beautiful. That we love her with our whole hearts.  I pray that God gives them peace, and that somehow they know.

A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me. Jody Landers

Friday, October 11, 2013

A few pictures from the past week.

The kids in their ONEless shirts. This is a great organization, who blessed us with a grant and more importantly prayed for us through the process!

At Da Kines for burritos by the beach on Gideon's birthday. Yummy!

Georgia's ready!

A little fun

I snapped this one in the Tractor Supply (we hang out in there sometimes, lol) My little boy is turning into a handsome man!

In Daddy's hat

Lorax cupcakes for Gideon to celebrate with his friends at cubbies!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Four years ago today.

Four years ago today, I was 39 weeks pregnant with our fifth child. I had been in the hospital for 6 days to monitor my pre-eclampsia. I had a burden for adoption for about 5 years. My husband had not felt the same.  When I first felt called to adopt, I was so sure, that it never even occurred to me that Michael wouldn't feel the same. I just knew this was supposed to be part of our life. And we loved children and wanted a big family. So, when he DIDN'T feel that way, I was confused, perplexed. I ordered agency packets, and watched videos, and even attended an adoption conference at our church. I pushed for a while, and argued, and then realized I wasn't handling it right. That this was huge, and we had to both be 100% in, and if we weren't then, no. But it was hard, because I had such strong feelings about adopting. So, I prayed. Over and over, asking God why did I feel this way, if it wasn't supposed to be. To change my heart or to change Michael's. And time passed. It would come up once and while, and he knew how I felt, but he still didn't feel the same. And then, when I least expected anything. I am in the hospital, missing my children at home and MORE than ready to meet our 4th son.  Michael comes up to visit me after he got off work. The last night before meeting our baby, as I was scheduled to be induced in the morning. I remember talking and being excited that it was finally going to be happening, and I'd be able to be home again. All of us together. And Michael asked me if I knew how much adoption cost? And I was a little confused, wondering why he'd even ask me that, but I said yes, and quoted a figure. And he told me, as he started to cry( And he rarely ever cries) that he knew. He knew that adoption WAS supposed to be part of our family story. That he knew there was a child out there waiting for us. And I was overwhelmed. Thrilled. Surprised. Scared. Thinking, Now? You are telling me now? I'm giving birth tomorrow, lol.

And that is what we did. Our fifth child, Gideon was born the next day, after a blessedly short labor. We fell in love all over again. And we brought him home, and started researching right away. And our sweet Vivian came home when he was just 18 months old.

It's fun to look back and see the story God weaves. Some things I don't always understand, but I know that His timing is perfect. And I'm blessed, more than I can ever say, or deserve.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's been too long, lol

 At a local festival at the park! Aren't they sweet!
 This is Georgia's first cotton candy ever! She said "Mommy, what is this? It's yummy in my tummy!"
By the way at seven months home her English is amazing! And sadly, she rarely speaks Mandarin any more. She just doesn't want too. :( She has consistently refused to speak to our Chinese friends locally, well she will talk to them in English. And she will sing songs in Mandarin, sometimes, but that is it!
 John-Michael and Abram having fun.

 My boys. I love that they love each other. Brothers. Not that they don't fight plenty ;)
 Waiting for Olivia at physical therapy. She is coming along. She had her cast off about a month ago, and then had a boot for a month, and now is down to a small brace. She just got off the crutches 2 weeks ago. She was thrilled to be done with them.
 Vivian having fun waiting for her blood to be ready.
 Did I mention my boys love each other? LOL
 Calvin's first ribs. He was a fan! He loves food.
 We started back to school the day after Labor Day. So far it is crazy steady busy but good.

 Abram turned 7! He asked for a burger themed party at the park and we obliged. We kept it simple and shared it with family and close friends and had a blast. It was blazing hot though even after 4pm.
 His burger pinata. I couldn't find one anywhere around here, so I found a cupcake one, and me and my trusty glue gun turned it into a burger.

 It kept falling off the hanging ribbon though, lol.

 Here is his cake. I had fun making it. It's been awhile since I've done any cake decorating.
 His birthday dinner.
 His actual birthday was on a Thursday, party not till Saturday, so he had a smaller chocolate cake with cherries for his "real"birthday.
 I took Vivian to Atlanta to the nearest Thalassemia center for a checkup/consultation. It was a long day, but really good. Here is Vivian's reward for being a real trooper all day. You would think she could gain some weight, right? Still not breaking 30 lbs. Tiny but mighty.
 Here she is hanging out while we wait for her appointment.

 They have good games in the waiting room, lol. Free too.
 Waiting for the train back to the airport.

 Our view headed home.
 She was an excellent traveler. She has such a good attitude.

 We have a picture of Georgia from her 3rd birthday in China, when we sent her cake and presents with her doing this pose. She remembers it, and knows that we sent that to her while she was waiting to come home. She will often do this pose for me, and say like when I was in China?

 Michael had a work event on the west coast, for a night. We had this beautiful room and had a great time.

 Here is a slightly blurry picture of my sweetheart at dinner.
 This was the view walking back to our room.
 This was the beach just outside our room!
 This is a picture of my sweetheart looking and looking for his wedding ring we lost that day in the ocean. Never found it. Still makes me sad :(
 Here we are right after we gave up trying to find the ring. Trying to make the best of it. Michael still looks ummm not happy.

 You know we love the beach and tidal pools here at home.
 This day the water was so calm and clear!

 Here is Olivia and my niece. Olivia has her brace off so she can swim, but she can't walk at this point and weight bear at all on that leg. So they are hopping along , and then this happened!

 Mmmm, boba tea.

Lunch at the beach!
 Sweet Calvin so tired fell asleep eating his bagel.

My gorgeous oldest son. I can't believe how grown up he is becoming!