Sunday, January 31, 2010

For Today

Can't believe I haven't blogged in a week. Goodness.

Outside my window: It's cold and dark, snow in the 'Ville this weekend. Of course Ryan doesn't think it's nearly as fun to have a snow day on a weekend!

I Am Thinking: About how quickly the weeks seem to be going by, I think mainly because of my new job ... which is keeping me mucho-busy-o.

I Am Thankful For: For my sweet and thoughtful family.

From The Kitchen: Not much time to cook this week although on Friday I bought a new food processor (my first!) and made salsa for Brian! I used a recipe from the Pioneer Woman's site, I've yet to make anything she has written about that hasn't been yummy. I think I've shared my salsa woes here before but just haven't been able to find a store bought salsa in these neck of the woods that we like.

One night this week Ryan is going to try his hand at making chili. He's found a recipe, Brian went shopping for him - the plan is to make it Tuesday night. It tickles me that he's following in his papa's footsteps on the ol' chili front. Brian makes some AWESOME chili!

I Am Wearing: black sweats, pink t-shirt ... this area is gonna' have to go since it doesn't change much from week to week.

On the 'Go Organize' Front: Haven't had much time to organize this week either. My intention was to save the basement for last. The author's strategy is that as you clean out a room you have certain boxes for things such as donating and for things that do not belong in that room. I'll digress on that one in just minute ... but since I seem to be finding a lot of things that fit that category they end up in the basement. Anyway, I started out just trying to clean a little down there and was going to just make a quick pass through this weekend but ended up getting quite a bit accomplished. I love it when my hubby is in one of his cleaning moods - he's the champ when it comes to cleaning and purging. He's not nearly as sentimental as I am!

We had moved all the toys out of the kid's rooms a while back and had tried making the basement their toy room but it just hasn't worked as I would have liked. I'm sure it doesn't help that there is just way too much down there. But we made a dent, and that's a good thing! Even little Rebecca walked down there and told me "thank you for cleaning up this mess"!

Back to organizing/digressing. The author just had to be writing about me when she notes that when you are working on a room to set the timer and stay in that room. She writes about the various boxes to have with you and then points out the purpose of the B.E. box (belongs elswehere). She says absolutely not to leave the room until your time is up and then goes into the reason why - which is SO me that it was scary. What happens is you pick up something and you head off to put it where it belongs, (I'm paraphrasing here - but this is ME), you walk through the kitchen and you notice there are dishes to be done so you stop and do them. Then you remember you need to start some laundry so you head off to do that only to see some books and you think how nice it would be to sit down and read to the girls. So you put the laundry on, sit down to read ... on and on. So your project has been abandoned and now the "thing" you took from the room in the first place has found a new home on the kitchen counter.

I Am Going: To bed soon ... been a little under the weather with some weird stomach thing and then it hit little Emma today. Hope it doesn't go through the rest of the house.

I Am Reading: Almost finished with "The Namesake". A little more on the melancholy side than I had anticipated but I have enjoyed it. Haven't decided on what to start next but I think there are 5 or 6 to choose from on my nightstand. We all enjoy our books around here.

I Am Hoping: It warms up soon so we can get Ryan's trim finished! The three of them are still sharing a room and I think he's ready to get his life/room back!

I Am Praying For: My young friend who lost her dad to cancer a few weeks back. Also for little Emma, you know something is wrong in the world when she's not eating, dancing around or messing with someone. She's been quiet as a church mouse this afternoon. Hopefully she'll make it through the night w/out getting sick again.

I Am Hearing: The dishwasher running, the shower running - even Ryan seems to be turning in early tonight. Hopefully he's not getting sick too.

Around The House: Laundry finished, bills made out, one corner of my messy dining room table cleared off (now that one is progress!)and back packs ready to go for tomorrow morning.

One Of My Favorite Things: Even though it makes me sad when Emma is sick, I do enjoy just holding her. She & I stayed home from church tonight and I just held her and she snuggled up and was so still. She has the softest little head in the world and while I hold her, I can't help but kiss her on her punkin' little head.

A Few Plans For The Rest of The Week: My birthday is tomorrow and my sweet family is taking me to dinner. That is if everyone is well, if not we'll just have to reschedule for another night. Some kind of a church meeting on Tuesday for Brian and then choir on Wednesday. From what he says, the music for Easter is going to be awesome. Academic team practice for Ryan on Wednesday and then a playoff basketball game on Thursday. Hard to believe baseball signups are just a week or so away. Gymnastics for the girls on Thursday. Brian has offered to take the girls again this week so I can catch another basketball game. Not sure what I ever did to deserve such a sweet and thoughtful husband. Then on Saturday we're heading to Lexington with some friends to attend a Chinese New Year celebration for the Year of the Tiger. We're also going to be able to meet up with a few families from our first travel group as well. I just love it when we're all able to get together! One family is having a little get-together for the girls in her hotel room on Saturday afternoon. Can't wait!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

For Today

Outside my window: It's cold and dark, snowy here today although I do not think much stuck.

I Am Thinking: About how much I have enjoyed this past week, celebrating Ryan's 12th birthday. Which of course brought out some albums and many discussions on some of his funny ways when he was a baby. Brian used to mess with his feet while he was nursing and it would sound like he was growling. We would just laugh and laugh! Of course he's going to be aggravated if/when he reads this on the blog! Poor kid.

I Am Thankful For: For my new job, still. I've been there a month now and have yet to leave there with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and wishing I didn't have to go back!

From The Kitchen: Tonight I made some Taco Soup for work tomorrow and also a pot of white chili for tomorrow night. I've been craving white chili and have not been able to find my recipe. Thankfully a friend of mine shared hers with me. Can't wait to partake tomorrow night!

I Am Wearing: black sweats, gray t-shirt ... my post work wardrobe is just way too exciting.

On the 'Go Organize' Front: Haven't had much time to organize this week although I did spend some time working on my mess in the dining room. Somewhat in a holding pattern until we get Ryan's room painted which has been on hold until we can open the house up to work on the trim in his room. Sigh. All three kids are still sharing Ryan's old room. I've just got to take a picture one night, precious - just precious. Of course Ryan wouldn't want me sharing that either. Which begs the question, why are 12 year olds so particular?

I Am Going: To bed soon ... not sure why I'm so sleepy at 8:45 in the evening!

I Am Reading: Started a new book by an Indian (as in India - Indian) author. I'm so intrigued with their culture and so far really enjoying hte book. I would love to visit India some day and even more so would love to adopt from there. But I think we're too old :-( Well, I don't think we're too old but from what I've read when I've tried checking on it, their government must think we're too old. But, I know all too well that if it is God's will then it will happen.

I Am Hoping: It warms up soon so we can get Ryan's trim finished!

I Am Praying For: Oh my, not even sure where to start. The people in Haiti and also for the families who are in the process of adopting from there. My young friend who I mentioned a few weeks ago, her father passed away from cancer. I cry everytime I send her a note. My heart goes out to their family, so sweet and so happy when we met them. Now here's a young lady without a father. I know all too well the pain and loss that comes with losing a father to cancer. Also praying for a family from church, the mother has cancer and hospice is being called. Cancer, I'll never understand it and will have to admit that it's one thing in life that scares the daylights out of me. I can almost freeze up at times just thinking of how something such as just one wayward cell can take over your body and choke the life out of you.

I Am Hearing: Sounds from the tv, Brian and Ryan watch the oddest things sometimes. Pawn Stars or something like that. A friend of mine was laughing the other day at how funny it is how much I dislike tv but yet I'm working in that industry now. Yep, that is pretty funny.

Around The House: One more load of laundry to finish and put away. Tax things to gather up. Chili and Taco Soup to get in the fridge.

One Of My Favorite Things: Being home with just the girls. Not that I do not like having Brian and Ryan home too, I don't mean that. Brian took Ryan to basketball practice tonight and the girls and I stayed home. I enjoyed listening to them play while I was cooking. They were playing so well together and then we read for almost 45 minutes. Not sure why, but it just seems like the chemistry changes when the boys are home. The girls get more wound up or something, of course they are having fun and Brian is enjoying them too - but it's just different when it's us girls!

A Few Plans For The Rest of The Week: Choir for Brian on Wednesday and a youth bowling outing for Ryan. Basketball game on Thursday for Ryan and gymnastics for the girlfriends. The girls are attending a birthday party on Saturday. Busy little family we are it seems!

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Celebrating Ryan's Birthday

Since Ryan had a ballgame on Thursday night our celebration had to be something fast. Brian, knowing Ryan and I rarely have any time alone, took the girls to gymnastics for me while I had fun attending Ryan's game with him. He was so happy I was there, and well - I was just as happy to be there! This year his games are on Thursday nights which is the same night of their gymnastics so it just hasn't worked out for me to make it to more than one game. The highlight of the night was when he swooshed the net and then turned around and smiled a big ol' smile to me in the stands.

After the game was finished we met Brian & the girls for a quick dinner and then came home to ice cream and PIE . Seriously, the child asked for birthday pie. That so reminds me of my ol' boss who I enjoyed so much - he much preferred pie himself.

Then on Saturday night we finally had the chance to really go out and celebrate. Ryan's little girlfriend even went with us! What a treat!!! She's so sweet and so smart and was as sweet and kind to Emma and Ryan as could be. What a role model for them. After dinner we stopped by Barnes and Noble and the kiddos stocked up on new books courtesy of Christmas gift cards from my sister. How sweet, my babies love their books!

The only thing that was difficult this year is that in prior years I've always had MLK day off and have always spent that day with Ryan just doing whatever it was he wanted to do, but this year I couldn't do that since I recently started a new job. Hopefully I can make it up to him later in the year though.

Sportin' his new UK shirt. Is it me, or is he looking terribly grown up all of a sudden?

Speaking of which, I compared his weight and height from his recent checkup to his appointment last year ... he's grown 3 1/2 inches in one year and gained 18 pounds. I'm thinkin' we need to put a rock on his head!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy 12th Birthday Ryan!

Today we celebrate Ryan's 12th birthday. Wow, where has the time gone?! I spent a little time last night going through some old pictures and scanning them in and of course taking the time to stare at each one and remember how it was when he was little, what it was like to hold him and him not be crushing my legs. What he smelled like, that sweet baby smell. But most of all, how he would just mold himself to me. His favorite place to be was right beside me or right on top of me. He was a snuggle bunny to the max. He LOVED his little snuggli thing to and would sleep so soundly while I was carrying him around in it - even if it was while I was cleaning house. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

Bless his little heart though, I had read a bazillion child rearing books but had been around very few children so basically we just had to learn together. It's really a good thing he survived me! I'm sure I made plenty of mistakes but one thing I know for sure, I loved him with all my heart and hopefully that made up for my cluelessness.

I can remember when it came time for me to go back to work after my maternity leave and a few days before hand I started trying to get into a work schedule so that he would be used to it. I'd go to take a shower in the mornings and he would cry and cry and then I would join in. I couldn't stand for him to cry! It seemed like it was forever before I could finally get the timing down for me to be able to take a shower without all the trauma.

Now here he is 12 years later. He had a regular checkup the other day and we found out that he's now 5' 3 1/2", just a few more inches and he'll be my height. Weight wise he finally broke the 100 mark. My baby is growing up. Aside from the physical changes though, he's still the sweet little thoughtful guy that he's been since he was little. He still loves time with his mama and still loves to talk. I swear that child came out of the womb talking & hasn't slowed down yet!

Last year we celebrated his birthday in China, it was the night before we left to come home. Even that year has flown by!

Happy Birthday Ryan, I sure love ya'!

I didn't know anything about bathing babies! And bathing a real one was so much different that the dolls we practiced on in class!
He was about 6 weeks old in this one, I was getting ready for church and looked over and he was sound asleep.
Three months old - my handsome little honey bunny.
Six months old - that's when his little personality really started coming out!
I think he was 2 in this one. It's weird, I didn't think I needed to mark pictures because I would always KNOW when they were taken. Now here it is 12 years later and I think I know, but not sure I know.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


On this day 12 years ago, sitting in the lunch room eating my lunch in Ft Worth, TX and visiting with a coworker about labor and listening to her tell of her water breaking in the middle of the night and guess what happened. Yep. I'd read way too many books and relied on way too many statistics and for some reason had in my head that I would have to have my water broken. Nope. Ever try to discreetly leave a building when everyone is making a fuss? It doesn't work well. I was going to drive myself to the doctor's office becaue I had an appointment anyway but someone had called Brian and he had given strict orders for me not to drive anywhere! He had the audacity to want to take me straight to the hospital but the problem was that first of all, I had an appointment anyway. Second of all, I needed to change clothes and for some reason nothing matched and I wasn't going to the hospital with an outfit that didn't match. Thirdly, I hadn't packed a bag. Statistically speaking I still had plent of time anyway.

I did make it to the appointment, the same coworker mentioned above drove me and Brian met us there. He was in such a hurry to get to the hospital and I, well - I was not. Somehow he won that battle and after finally packing a bag we headed out the door.

Little Ryan was born shortly after midnight. Like I said, I had plent of time!

This picture was taken sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas of '97. My grandfather had passed away and my siblings and my cousins were together that evening.

Left to right: My cousin Kelly, the skinny chic with her hand on my belly is my sister. She was making fun of my huge belly, but the joke was on her - she was pregnant too but didn't know it! The tall guy behind and to my right is my brother. The last two on the right are my cousins Donna and Tim.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Heart of Rebecca

Celebrating our one year anniversary with Rebecca has given me reason to go back and look through pictures from our time in China. And like I mentioned in another post, I've also gone back and re-read some of the things I wrote while we were there. It's so hard describing that time for me because for us it was an answer to prayer and our daughter was finally with us, her family. But for her, well - it wasn't quite so easy but all in all I would say the transition went very well.

So many of the volunteers we talked to mentioned what a little stinker she could be and we were told many times that she was a hand full. In some ways that is the case, she is a lot of fun and has the cutest little sense of humor but if I had to name one prevalent trait in her, I would readily mention that she has the absolute sweetest little heart. Here's a few pictures taken the day we had gone back to the Starfish Home to visit before we departed Xian. It was a very stressful time for Rebecca and it was also a very heart wrenching and stressful day for me. She was torn between her two worlds and the changes she knew were there but didn't quite understand. As a mother, I wanted her to not have to suffer that pain. But in the midst of all of that, as her nanny was telling her goodbye and her eyes brimmed with tears - look at the love and compassion coming from her little soul.

Many times over this past year I have witnessed this kindness and sweetness from her. Many times it was completely undeserved but each time I see it, I know that it's to the core of just how she is. Yes, she can be ornery. Yes, she can be a stinker. But if someone needs some loving, she's the go to girl. She shows this love to me all the time as well as to her siblings. Just yesterday Emma was in trouble with her papa, nothing bad but Brian had made her get down out of his lap because she wasn't minding so off she went in a huff. Rebecca went and sat down beside her, put her arm around her and told her that she loved her and that Emma was her "best friend". Then later in the evening Ryan, who is almost 12 and has been a little of a hand full himself, was in trouble with me. As I was giving him an ear full Rebecca came up and wrapped her little arms around his leg as if to say "I'm right here with you Ryan and it's going to be okay".

There are many, many more stories like this that I could share about her and every time I witness it I can't help but think of some of the verses out of Matthew 5.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

For Today

Somehow in the busy-ness of last week I missed doing this.

Outside my window: It's cold and rainy, perfect day for a nap but yet I know if I nap then sleep will not come easily at night. With age comes wisdom. Well, sometimes anyway!

I Am Thinking: About how much I have enjoyed this past week, celebrating our one year with Rebecca and talking with her about her adoption story. I've also spent some time going back through pictures of our time there and thinking about the sites and the smells. As I went back through the pictures of our visit to the Starfish Home I caught myself wiping away the tears. The memories of the nanny crying and sweet little Rebecca rubbing her face. I knew then that she was a tender hearted baby girl and I'll have to say that just hasn't changed over this past year.

I Am Thankful For: For my new job, it's such a good fit for me and my new co-workers are easy going, easy to get along with. The drive is much easier and it puts me home a little earlier than I was getting home which makes it nice for the evenings with the kiddos and Brian. Just very thankful!

From The Kitchen: Nothing worth talking about this week. We did however do a good job of cleaning out some things from the pantry during our 'financial fast' week. That's been needing to be done for a while now!

I Am Wearing: Gray sweats, pink t-shirt ... comfy post church clothes.

I Am Creating: We're still going great guns on the organizing front. It's amazing what can accumulate in (almost) nine years. The past few weeks I've been focusing on Ryan's room, the little guy - he's such a pack rat. I remember us doing a deep clean on his room before we went to China in 2005 and I know Brian and I both have worked on it several times since then but it was still full. Under the bed, the closet, every nook and cranny. I even shared on FB one night how a while back I found a box of rocks in his room. Yes, a box of ROCKS. Needless to say, we took everything out of his room and I made him go through it with me, piece by piece, asking him if it was something he was keeping, donating or throwing out. For some reason it seemed much easier to make that decision when he knew if he was keeping it that he was going to have to take it back to his room! Not sure how many bags we hauled off to Goodwill but there were several. And bags of trash, I think there were just as many!


We started the process of switching bedrooms around for the kids. Ryan's room is just a little bit bigger and will better accommodate two twin beds. So, Ryan and I completely emptied the girls room the other night and they are all bunking in his room for now while we get his 'new' room ready. New bedding was ordered and has arrived. New paint bought. New ceiling fan. The previous owners of our humble abode did some pretty goofy things here, like splattering paint all over beautiful stained trim - so I spent some quality time the other night removing that. Now passing the ball to Brian to put a coat of finish on the trim and then paint. I wish I could take a picture of all 3 of them in Ryan's room. His bed is still on the frame, but I just moved Emma's mattresses for ease in transition and so while a twin bed, it looks smaller since it's on the floor and then there is Rebecca in her toddler size bed. Makes me think of the "3 Bears" when I look in there! Ryan made me promise not to take a picture though :-( But the girls, they are LOVING sharing a room with Ryan for now!

I Am Going: Well, was going to start on the dining room next but still not sure how to creat a home office area for me. We used to have a desk in the basement but I really need something that is in my "path". Plus, the basement was converted to a playroom anyway. Any ideas out there on creating a home office area when you do not want to devote a whole room to an office?

I Am Reading: Finished up "Go Organize" but have some others on my night stand to start. Just need to make a decision as to which one. Choices, choices.

I Am Hoping: That I do not grow weary in this organizing/purging process. Now that's funny. That's exactly what I said two weeks ago!

I Am Praying For: The people in Haiti and also for the families who are in the process of adopting from there.

I Am Hearing: Sounds of the Cowboys/Viking game as well as sounds of the girls playing with mixing bowls and dry beans in the kitchen. All those nice new toys from Christmas and they're playing with beans. Doesn't make a whole lotta' sense! I hear Rebecca calling Emma "honey" so they must be playing house too. What a blessing those little dumplings are.

Around The House: Laundry to finish and put away. The weekly task of going through the mail and paying bills. Back packs already packed for tomorrow morning.

One Of My Favorite Things: Watching the girls play so well together. There is the normal sibling friction from time to time but there are way more moments like what I'm watching now than there are of them fussing. Sisters from the get-go, what a blessing.

A Few Plans For The Rest of The Week: Ryan has an academic team scrimmage tomorrow and then basketball practice in the evening. Choir for Brian on Wednesday. Game for Ryan on Thursday, gymnastics for the girls. Ryan's birthday is on Thursday, he's turning 12!!! Saturday will be jam packed with it being a church work day, academic team meet for Ryan and a birthday party for the girls. Not sure when we're going to get some time in to celebrate Ryan's birthday!

I wrote about trying a "financial fast" a couple of weeks ago so I probably should mention that. Goodness, that was way harder than I expected it to be! But so glad we did it and it was fun to watch the kids get involved. One evening when I picked up the girls Rebecca asked if we could go out and eat and before I could answer, Emma reminded her we weren't spending money that week. It tickled the daylights out of me. Then when we did have to go to the store it was very difficult trying to stay within the $50 budget we had set. But we did it! Pretty close anyway, we went over by something like 23 cents so I'm still counting it a success! The good things that came out of it were breaking me of the habit of getting something from the vending machine at work, not eating out and we also cleaned quite a few things out of the pantry in the process. We may just make this a once a month thing!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Adoption News

Oh wow, I'm a little behind on checking out blogs, particularly the ones I've been remiss in adding to my blog roll. Another one of those pesky little things on my todo list. But that aside, I have some great adoption news!!!

1. The lady who named Rebecca is on her way to China to adopt another child. Praise the Lord in the highest!!!! Finding out a child is about to join their forever family absolutely always makes me sing praises to our heavenly Father! Elaine volunteered at the Starfish Home the year Rebecca came to live there, but she never did actually get to meet Rebecca. Apparently there was a delay with Rebecca coming and Elaine was already scheduled to return home. However she was still able to name her and desired for her to have a good biblical name. I hope to meet this precious family one of these days! Click here to hop on over and wish them well on their trip!

2. I've recently been in contact with a family who is traveling to China to adopt a Starfish Baby!!!! Of course that really makes my day, another Starfish child will be united with their forever family. They will be leaving on the 20th and you can follow their story here.

I just know that the Father of the Fatherless is listening to the angels in heaven are rejoicing. The miracle of adoption, there's really just not adequate words to describe it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Celebrating Rebecca's Adoption Day

We celebrated Rebecca's adoption day in style the other night - just now getting a chance to write about it though. It always seems difficult to do things on school nights, which is weird in itself since we're gone just about every night anyway it seems but we made it out to dinner. We went to a really nice Chinese restaurant that we used to go to when we first moved here but haven't been to since Emma was little. It was odd when we walked in though because here we have two daughters from China who are basically the same size but the hostess zero'd in on Rebecca and had the oddest look on her face. Long story short, she is from Xian which is the same city Rebecca had lived in while at the Starfish Home. You would think I would be used to it by now, but Chinese nationals almost always make a comment about Rebecca being from the northern part and Emma being from the southern. Just not really anything I can compare to as far as living here. I mean, you meet someone and based on their looks you really have no idea if they are from Chicago or Texas? California or New York. Now, after they speak you might have a better idea! But really, it's just odd to me.

Anyway, we had a wonderful dinner and sweet little Rebecca was grinning from ear to ear and we enjoyed celebrating her Forever Family day!

And me, well - I've been going back through the pictures from last year and re-reading the posts I wrote while we were there. It's hard to believe a year has already passed us by. Is that just part of getting older? And I can't help but think of Amanda, the lady who started and runs the Starfish Home. She so obviously loved little Rebecca as she does all of her babies, but it seemed like there was just something special between the two of them. She told me the other day that she had stayed at the hospital with Rebecca when she had surgery and that was when Rebecca had finally opened up to her. I try to send Amanda little Bex stories ever so often and I know she appreciates it, but I just wish there was some way that we could keep the relationship between Amanda and Rebecca alive. Amanda will always be a part of Rebecca's sweet little heart but it would be even better if they could see each other from time to time.

Before I go, it was this time last year that we were touring the Terra Cotta Warriors! It was a wonderful, fun filled day!

Didn't we make just a lovely Warrior family!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Black and White Wednesday

Lisa over at The Long Road To China is doing a fun little thing with posting a black and white photo each week.

I really haven't had time to devote to photography lately, but this picture of Emma just cracked me up. It's so Emma, from the soft/fun little purple hat (not that you can tell it's purple in a b&w photo, but oh well) to the happy little smile as she was playing in the snow. For some reason I just can't look at this and not smile. The little stinker just has that effect on me!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy One Year Little Rebecca!

Sweet little Rebecca, hard to believe it’s been a year already since we finally met her face to face in a funky hotel in Xi’An, China. We had traveled from Beijing that day, arrived at our hotel and were in the process of checking in when our traveling companion's child arrived. Brian was busy finishing up checking in , I was busy taking pictures of their moment and in walked Amanda with our precious little Rebecca. She was so scared but you could tell was trying to be oh so brave. What a joyous moment even though she did not want a thing to do with me! I suppose it goes without saying that it is quite different adopting a 3 year old who doesn’t understand what is going on but is very aware of the fact that everything she knew was about to be gone, than it is to adopt a baby.

Fast forward a year and you still have that sweet little girl who relishes the love of her family. Amanda told me many times during the wait that Rebecca loves fiercely and how very well I know that now. Thankfully she had room in her heart to love us so fiercely.

I wish I could easily spell out the transition that has taken place before my very eyes over the past year but there are too many thoughts and emotions for that. The transition though that I think tickled me the most was the evolution of early morning snuggle time. It really is a reflection of her bonding to us. Ryan and Emma both have always made their way to our bed the first thing in the morning when time allows such as on weekends and when we are on vacation. The first few weeks she was with us we couldn’t even get Rebecca close to our bed in the mornings. After we had been home a while she would wake Emma up in the morning and then would at least follow her in and would merely stand by our bed. No amount of coaxing was going to get her to join us. Slowly but surely she began to climb right on in with Emma. At some point though she quit waking Emma up for this little morning ritual and would come in and enjoy that time all by herself! It was then that I knew that she was finally warming up! So it has been with her, yes – she does love fiercely but you have to earn that love – it’s not freely given by any means.

Then there is the love she has for Emma, I’d have to say that was pretty much instantaneous. Looking back through the pictures of the first few weeks with us she smiled the most when she was with Emma. I’m still amazed at how quickly they just fell in with one another. To this day Rebecca will fuss at her dad or brother either one if she thinks they are picking on Emma. What a blessing and what an answered prayer. I’ve shared before that financially it was past a stretch to take Ryan and Emma with us on this trip but for the life of me I couldn’t imagine being away from them so long. While I thought that uneasiness in my spirit was due to the fact that I didn’t want that separation, I clearly see now the urging of the Holy Spirit who knew all too well that Rebecca needed them there.

Happy one year Rebecca! Your forever family loves you!!!

Here's a couple of the first few pictures I saw of Rebecca and I printed them out and hung them behind and to the left of my computer monitor so that I could easily see them but yet anyone else would really have to be looking to notice them. And I began to pray, and pray, and pray. Every one cautioned me to not get my hopes up but in my heart I just knew that she was our daughter. She had heart surgery at 18 months old, right at the same time I started praying for her.

Almost 20 months later she finally made it into the arms of her forever family.

Now here it is 12 months after that, our sweet, kind and fiercely loving Rebecca!

(photo by Melissa at Over The Moon Photography)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Time

We've had a little snow in the 'ville over the weekend and the kiddos have really enjoyed getting out in it to play. Even better, Ryan has been the sweetest big brother to take them out and let me stay in where it's warm! I just love watching them play from the window and they are not aware that I am.

Ryan and Emma spent most of their time in the sleds while Rebecca spent her time just playing with the snow. Ryan and Emma are all about action packed adventure while Rebecca is just happy to be doing her little thing!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Not Your Typical Yard Decor

This is what we found out by our driveway this morning when we got up. Not your typical yard decor! Poor kid, a wrecker came later this a.m. and pulled it out. Thankfully no one was hurt and his pickup was at least driveable once it had been extracted. He's coming back tomorrow to cut down the tree but Brian had to cut a few limbs off so we could get out of the driveway.
The odd thing is, we've lived here for almost 9 years now and this is the second car this week that has ended up in that same spot. And this little winter storm was nothing compared to some others we have endured here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Visions of Fancy Cakes

Little Miss Emma, she's so my child. I love to cook and specifically would love to be able to make fancy cakes, cookies, cupcakes aka something along the lines of Bakerella but the emphasis is on the desire. Unfortunately the actual product never quite works out like the pictures. I know my limits and just know the cute little snowmen cake pops on her site would NEVER turn out that cute in my kitchen. But I digress. Emma has those same exact desires I do and it tickled the absolute daylights out of me when she asked for a 'Girl Gourmet Bakery' for Christmas. Even better, Santa was kind enough to oblige.

We finally got around to trying it out the other day and it took us what seemed like an hour to make one little bitty cake that was eaten in about 2.3 seconds. But the main thing, we had a blast working on it together! Can't wait to try it again!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Memories, Oh Sweet Memories

Have I ever mentioned how much I love surprises? And friendships? And sweet memories? All three of those came together yesterday in an email that popped up in my inbox. A very sweet friend who I met online, yes I know - it seems I meet a lot of friends online - through the adoption process of waiting for Rebecca sent me this sweet picture.

It absolutely made my day and sent my mind flying back a year ago to our trip to China. Brian and I climbed quite a bit of the area of the Great Wall we visited on our first trip to China but on the second trip it was so cold and poor little Emma, her little short legs just didn't work well on those steps because they are so uneven so we stayed pretty close to where we were all to meet back up. Ryan was 7 on our first trip and he did climb higher than us but he went higher with another couple that was in our group. This time though, he was just about to turn 11 and well, an 11 year old just doesn't think he needs to be with his parents as much as a 7 year old does. He took off with some of the other kids from our group. It seemed like they were gone absolutely forever but I'm sure that's because I just wasn't sure about him being so far away from us - especially since we were so far from home! But he was in good hands, Kathie's son (the one on the left) was with them. The other young man in the picture (in the middle) lives very close to us, probably less than 10 miles yet we met in Beijing, China.

Thank you Kathie for pictures you sent me - they made my day! All of the pictures I have of them climbing are taken from far away!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning was absolutely delightful, the kiddos were so sweet. Sweet to us, sweet to one another. Just couldn't have asked for them to act any better. Rebecca woke up first but didn't realize there were all kinds of goodies for her but boy did her eyes light up when she discovered them. Santa brings 3 gifts each in our home and then of course we add some things to that too. Last year he bought some really cool "sacks" on clearance from Lands End and even had them personalized. Santa rocks! :-) He even knew to get one for Rebecca, now isn't that just something! Wonderful, wonderful Christmas. It was such a treat to be able to share in that with little Bex this year. She was certainly on our mind and in our hearts this time last year. We were so disappointed that we weren't able to travel to get her before Christmas, or even right after but it just didn't work out as we wanted. What a blessing though to have her home for this Christmas!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

For Today

Doing this little exercise a day early this week as tomorrow is packed, plus - it's really quiet around here right now :-)

Outside my window: It's COLD and the sky is a beautiful bright blue. I read in the paper earlier that it's not supposed to get above freezing this week. BRRRR.

I Am Thinking: About how much I enjoy the Christmas season, the reason for the season, all the decorations, the fun in buying presents for Brian and the kiddos and the overall just happy time of the year. It's probably rather of odd of me to then add that after it's all over though, I'm ready to get everything down and put away. Which is what we did over the long weekend. While I was at it, I went ahead and went through the Christmas storage boxes and threw away broken/chipped ornaments that weren't of any sentimental value and then also cleaned out a lot of other little things I've picked up over the years but never really used. That's been needing to be done for quite a while!

I Am Thankful For: A sweet hubby who was with me every step of the way of putting up and organizing the decorations and then cleaning up the rooms. What a blessing to have a hubby who is more than happy to help me with these kinds of things.

From The Kitchen: Chicken and Dumplings tonight ... simple food always tastes so good after the holidays.

I Am Wearing: Gray pajama pants ... I changed into comfy right after church because I am NOT planning on getting back out tonight.

I Am Creating: Not really creating this week, but I am organizing. I've never really been one for New Year's resolutions but I've just had it with our house. I think I've mentioned before that we really didn't start out on an organized foot here, things just pretty much stayed wherever the movers put them when we moved here. Then add 2 more children, 2 deaths in the family and 8 1/2 years of accumulating new things and well, our house just seems to be busting at the seams. A booked called "Go Organize" caught my eye at Lowe's a few weeks ago and I picked it up. Instead of just finding ways to organize your things, it really talks about purging and not living with the guilt of feeling like you have to keep things. Brian laughed when he saw me reading it but I tell you, we used the approach from the book on just our hall closet and I'm a believer. I've drank the kool-aid. Just from one regular size coat closet we were able to take two big black trash bags of coats, good coats at that as well as some matching hat/glove sets and various other things that I've held on to for years. It wasn't easy parting with a a nice 35mm camera that Brian bought me after we were first married but it hasn't been used since we went to China in 2005. We can now see the floor of the closet, we can easily hang up our coats and the gloves and hats are in labled bins on the top shelf. Not bad for a few hours of work. But it does make me wonder ... if I can haul off two big bags from ONE closet, oh dear - how much am I going to get rid of from the rest of the house?! GO - ORGANIZE!

I Am Going: To start working on the dining room next. It has somehow turned in my "office" for lack of a better word with stacks of things to do, paperwork to go through, bills to pay, pictures to frame, coupons to cut ... the list goes on and on.

I Am Reading: Finished the tear jerker that Santa brought me, "Where the River Ends". If anyone would like to read it, I'd happily mail it to you. Now catching up on some magazines that have come in over the last couple of weeks: Bon Appetite & my favorite Southern Living. Finishing up "Go Organize" too.

I Am Hoping: That I do not grow weary in this organizing/purging process.

I Am Praying For: The same young lady and her family that I mentioned last week as well as a friend of ours who is dealing with some health issues while her husband is serving our country overseas.

I Am Hearing: Silence for now, Ryan is at a friends, the girls are asleep and thankfully the TV is off. Oh, and the dryer just buzzed so I probably should start wrapping this up.

Around The House: Enjoying the downstairs being cleaned after getting the trees and decorations put away. Bills to pay. Laundry to finish since I didn't get it done last week. Back packs and sleep bags to pack for daycare and school starting back up tomorrow.

One Of My Favorite Things: An hour of silence. Any less than that really doesn't make a difference and more than that, well - that's just too much silence.

A Few Plans For The Rest of The Week: Ryan has basketball practice on Monday night and I guess I'm on duty since Brian has a deacon meeting. Gymnastics on Thursday night. Looks like a pretty easy week so far, goodness - at this point I think even next weekend is open. That doesn't happen often with us!

We're also trying something new this week, a financial fast. It starts tomorrow and runs through next Monday. The idea comes from another blogger buddy of mine, who also happens to be one of the volunteers who worked in the Starfish Home and is the one who named Rebecca. Basically, we're going to set aside a certain amount of money - this time we're trying $50, and this money has to last us all week for both groceries and eating out. The latter of which is by far where we spend way more money that we should. With that said, the freezer is full so we're probably allocating too much money this time around but this is just a trial run. We'll see how it goes but this will mean that there will not be any trips to Target or Wal-Mart just to get out and about which also always means buying things we really do not need. No lunches out with girlfriends this week. No running to the mall at noon and picking up just a shirt or pair of jeans for the girls, none of that! Hopefully I'll have good things to share about this test next week! The idea I'm copying from is modified drastically, their family went on a 30 Day Financial Fast. But I think we'll be doing good to make it a week. After going back and re-reading her post about it I'm feeling somewhat of a slacker in the fast department, but - we're still going to do this and have already talked to the kiddos about it too.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Princess Stories - What Was I Thinking?

Okay, true confession time. I've never been a princess type of girl and subsequently not a princess type of mama. We have a few princess types of things such as some games and few other things but that's about it. We purchased the Mulan DVD several years ago but it scared the bejabbers out of Emma and I don't think she's ever watched it since. Not sure why but animated movies in general seem to scare her, which is odd since she's not really the type to get scared of anything but nevertheless, animated movies are pretty much out for us.

While out Christmas shopping I bought the girls a Snow White CD, not quite sure what I was thinking! We watched it last night and Emma pretty much clung to Brian the entire movie but we did make it through without her crying. What I wasn't prepared for was the onslaught of questions that came afterwards nor the fact that Rebecca then didn't want to go upstairs by herself to change clothes to get ready for bed. The questions started the minute the movie was over and lasted all through their bath time and getting ready for bed. It would be impossible to recall all of of them but most of the questions revolved around the Queen/Witch, how did she change, what is a spell, why did she change, why did she not like Snow White, did Snow White die or was she just asleep. Peppered with questions I was. But the single question that tickled me the absolute most came from Rebecca, who as I've mentioned before has been pretending she is Mary and she carries baby Jesus around. She asked me about the end of the story and "why she is riding a horse and not a donkey?". You just gotta love that question!