Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Presents

Such a fun, wonderful Christmas!  It was such a joy to be together as a family, complete.  Last year we were anticipating a match with our Sweet Pea in a few months, but we'd been waiting for that moment for 6 years.  Now she is home.  It is impossible to describe the sense of rightness that brings.

Plus I've finally gotten a handle on my external flash and am actually happy with many of my photos this year.  So many great at least to me photos of my beautiful children make me gives me an excuse to use my Christmas present; an upgrade to Lightroom 4.

But here are my 4 littles with their favorite presents:

 Relays for his robot stuff.

A DS game Kirby Attack.  He knew it was a DS game all week under the tree, but couldn't figure out which one was left to want.  He was very excited to find out it was a Kirby game.

It was a bike.  This is as far as she got opening it.  As soon as she saw it was a bike she stopped unwrapping.  Afterall it wasn't put together yet.  Weather wise it will probably be a few months before it gets much use, but she was very glad to get it.

Sweet Pea:
She seemed very excited to realize that the baby she had spent the whole time riding around with and talking to in Costco was now here and planning to stay. 

A very good Christmas indeed.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fun-ish in the Snow

Yesterday we had our first snowfall of the year, just enough to make SnapDragon's school late and cancel MOPS.  Since it was Sweet Pea's first snowfall with us, it seemed a requirement that I take pictures.  Except snow is cold and wet and not much fun to be in if you ask me...and Sweet Pea.

But you can get a ton of pictures in just 20 minutes outside, so here goes.
Oh, what is this stuff?  Is it food?!

 My feet appear to be trapped!

 I'll just explore where I'm at.
 In fact, I'll just sit down to explore.
Hey!  No one said this was wet and cold!
Well, I know how to make the best of it.

 Sunflower: "Kick, kick, kick...snow at Daddy."  Me: "Hey, stop!"
I think this time I'll just look at it.
 Okay, Daddy.  Is it time to go back inside?
A few more minutes.
Okay, fine.
It's fun!  I promise!

 You just need to use your...
 ...and Hands.

 Okay, one more try.

 Where exactly does this come from, anyway?

 Now, lets go inside!
 Aw, much better.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

15 Years

15 years ago Oak and I stood at the altar of the church I grew up in and exchanged traditional marriage vows.  4 kids, several losses, and a few jobs later, I would do it again.  I am immeasurably blessed in my partner in life. 

We would probably use the same song in our ceremony as before also though there have been many songs released since then and this song was obscure even then...but the words are what completes our promises to each other...

I Could Never Promise You
I could never promise you on just my strength alone
That all my life I'd care for you, and love you as my own
I've never known the future, I only see today
Words that last a lifetime would be more than I could say

But the love inside my heart today is more than mine alone
It never changes, it never fails, never seeks it's own
And by the God who gives it, and who lives in me and you
I know the words I speak today are words I'm going to do

And so I stand before you now for all to hear and see
I promise you in Jesus' name the love He's given me
And through the years on earth and as eternity goes by
The life and love He's given us are never going to die…

And so I stand before you now for all to hear and see
I promise you in Jesus' name the love He's given me
And through the years on earth and as eternity goes by
The life and love He's given us are never going to die
The life and love He's given us are never going to die

Words and Music by Don Francisco, 1977

We also danced our first dance to this song.  As I tell my friends, my favorite song is the song I know.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Turn that Frown Upside Down

Somedays it feels like everything is annoying.  I could spiritualize it a little more and say "so much is weighing heavy on my heart."  But reality is I'm just really annoyed.

Some things are actually big issues like my dad's open heart surgery (from which he is recovering very nicely), a sweet lady dying of cancer, and a friend's baby born early, but a lot of little things annoy me, too.  Like babies coloring on walls...again*...,children screeching and crying,  rain, overcast, dark skies, delayed signatures, laundry, laundry, and more laundry, yada, yada, yada.

And while dwelling doesn't help matters no one will let me crawl into the bed and pull the covers over my head.  So lets...

Accentuate the Positive...

Sweet Pea says "thank you" anytime you hand her things...though when my dad gave her a cookie she wouldn't say it until she had tasted the cookie.  Oh, it's I say "thank you."

Sunflower has a very cute fake cough in the hope she'll weasel a cough drop from one of her parents.  She also informed us (after we said something about Huckleberry and chili) that "Huckleberry can't have children yet!  You have to be like 10 or 11 for children."

SnapDragon is looking forward to starting piano lessons after the new year.  And even though sometimes it is hard for him to use self-control when asked to do chores, today after seeing Sweet Pea's drawing on the door he got out the magic eraser and cleaned the door.  He also cleaned the downstairs bathroom tonight.

Huckleberry made dinner and did a ton of chores with me this evening, so now I'll go to bed with an almost clean house.

I did get to my Bible reading plan today after a week of missing it.  

Oak took the girls to Costco this evening so the rest of us could work in peace, but now they are back and Sweet Pea is blowing bubbles in her milk with a straw (which I'm sorry to say makes us all laugh because she finds it just oh so much fun!).  

I am absolutely positive that I have the best family.

How can you look at their sweet, laughing faces and not find a reason to smile?

 * The size of the drawing was quite impressive as earlier she had been brushing the walls with a hairbrush and I confess I did not quickly notice when she switched to using a pencil.Photobucket

Friday, November 30, 2012

16 Months Old -- Sweet Pea Update

Sweet Pea is 16 months old today...or yesterday if we take into the account the time zone difference...or tomorrow since this is only a 30 day month.  Anyway, she is approximately 16 months and has been home 6 and 1/2 months.  Seems like it might be time for a little update.

She is amazing and that is all that needs to be said.

Oh, okay.  After about a month of waiting 5 minutes before going into her room while she was crying, she started sleeping much, much better.  (Thanks for the encouragement.  It means a lot.)  Partly we weren't going in quite so quickly and so if she could find her pacifier herself she would just go back to sleep.  Who knew.   Partly at about 5 months home she just reached a whole new level of comfort at being here.

In mid-September we went to a large birthday party, possibly more than 20 families so like 80 people...maybe a few less, but it was large.  And she wandered.  None of us spent our time right next to each other, so she would travel from one of us to another, give us a hug and move on to the next family member.  To get to her brothers she often had to push pass 3 or 4 other little 8 year old boys.  They would feed her some of their snack and she would push past all those other kids again to run to me with a giggle and a hug.  It was delightful and Oak and I kept remarking on how comfortable she seemed.  She isn't really clingy, but she does usually stay close.  That night she started sleeping through the night.  Yeah!  Sunflower went back into their room shortly after that.  Some nights we still have to go in a time or two, and this week has been a cold and teething so a bit more than occasionally, but we do have a little more sleep reserves and life is good.

Aside from sleep everything else about adding her to our family is just about perfect.  Not what I was expecting when reading all those books on International adoption at all.  I intended to be as real and honest on our blog about our family adjustment so people could see the real picture, but there just isn't anything to be honest about.

Except I honestly knew I would love our daughter but it might take a little time for bonding.  I never knew I would love her instantly and fully without even knowing her and that at times I would wonder if maybe I love her a little more than the other children.  (Oak says it is just I have a soft-spot for my toddlers that don't talk back, so we'll judge it again when she is four.  I love all of my children a ton, really, I do.)

But she is just so delightful!

Sweet Pea shows her happiness quite often by clapping.  She also claps if I say "good girl."  So the whole family spends a lot of time clapping because it is just so fun for us to be part of her delight. Those first few months home she would clap and give a wiggle of delight every time we returned to the house.  Now she is blase about it which I believe shows her comfort level and security is growing.  But she finds lots of other things worth clapping over so there is still lots of rejoicing here.

She loves to dance.  Anytime there is music playing she is dancing even if it is only for a few seconds as a commercial comes on.  She does stop for her food.  Tonight we ate out and she wiggled and shook in her high chair most of the time, but every time Oak would feed her a bite she would be instantly still.  

Recently she has started offering hugs and kisses to us all.  Sunflower was the last to receive one, but now Sweet Pea will even give Sunflower a drive-by kissing as she moves from one toy to the next.  Her first kiss was bestowed on my friend's dog at the end of September.  I received one later that same day so let's count that one instead.  

She is very adept at coloring and I have the masterpieces on some of my walls to prove it.  With 3 older siblings keeping writing utensils out of her hands proved impossible, so now we just make sure there is also lots and lots of paper around.  Someday we'll paint, but we aren't THAT caught up on sleep and energy.

I could go on, but I know some of you are skipping the words anyway, and really do you want to know that she is so cute when...she eats...


...tickles us, runs, pushes her brother's over and roars in laughter (this really is fun to watch and the boys find it hilarious) etc, etc.  Because well, she is just adorable and I think that is obvious to all.

I should probably mention she has two molars coming in and 7 teeth in the front, weighed 27 pounds a few weeks ago, can walk quite confidently, and has a few words...mostly "more."  A few of her words are still only in sign like please (which is not an optimal sign to have your child do when her hands are covered with food and she wants more...just so you know) but more she can say quite clearly in sign and voice...especially if there is a cookie on the line. Tickle, Mama, Dada, a jumble of sounds that is Huckleberry's name, go, and ball are some of her other words.  She understands most everything we say and if you say any context...she starts handing everyone's shoes to them and getting her own shoes, too.  Unfortunate when the sentence was "it is time to go to bed."
This is her "la, la, la, la, la, la, giggle" face.  Love it and her, our amazing Sweet Pea!