Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fun March 16th!

Hard to believe it's already March!! Last year at this time I was in the final stages of paperwork prep for my trip to China! As we approach the one year anniversary of being united with Elise, it's amazing to think about how far we've come! Not only with Elise, but everything that happened to our family as a whole. I'm happy to report things have calmed down quit a bit! 

A recap: In March of 2011 our house sold (which we had been trying to sell for a year!) We moved into a rental house in April. Tom accepted a new job in May. I went to
China in May. We bought a new house in June. We moved AGAIN in July!! All of that while adjusting to a 4th child, and helping her adjust to life with a family.... life was a little CRAZY!!

Things are much calmer, except for the 2 yr old and 3 yr old running wild around the house, making messes with whatever they can get their hands on!! 

Here's a few pics to show you how the girls and I spend our days while Tom's at work and the boys are at school!

The girls LOVE to make me laugh!!

We pretend to be camping.... only indoors, because that's more fun!

 I work as a personal Trainer, the girls like to help train people too! They are great weights to make training harder!

The girls go to school one day a week! They LOVE CMO.... and so does mommy!! The girls are ready to go with their lunch boxes!

We spend a lot of time in the car! So, this is how we roll....... headphones on (watching Mickey Mouse) sippy cup, snack & blankie!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Fun!!!

Today we spent the morning at Chuckee Cheese to help my niece, Lindsey, celebrate her 4th birthday! It was fun to celebrate with her! She's a little miracle baby, who's not so little any more! Born 8 weeks early and weighing in under 5 lbs.... you'd never know it now!! Thanks Lindsey for asking us to come help you celebrate! The girls are so blessed to have a cousin their age!! We thank God for your miracle arrival and how you've grown and blossomed in the last 4 years!!  Now, watch out world, these three girls will keep all of us hopping as they grow up together!!! Ages 4, 3, and 2!! Little stair steps! With a whole lot of energy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wordless FRIDAY! February 17th 2012

 Play date at the Commons indoor Playground

So, the following pic deserves some explanation. Emmie has been waking up in the middle of the night and NOT wanting to go back to sleep. I told her she had to stay in bed, look at books and she was NOT allowed to come wake me up!...... Well, she did not wake me up, but she did NOT stay in bed either! She found sharpies, a black one and a red one, she let the dogs out of their kennels, she colored on herself (after stripping down to her birthday suit), she colored on the dogs and she colored on a chair. This is what I found when I went to wake her up the following morning .........

A pleasantly warm winter day!! Which hardly ever happens around here!!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Birthday letter to a Birth Mother I'll Never Meet.....

OK, so I've missed Wordless Wednesday the last 2 weeks :-)  I'll be more proactive this week!!

(typed all of this on Elise's birthday, Saturday February 4th)
So today Elise turns 2!!!!! I can't believe it! We waited for her for so long. At times the wait was painful, frustrating and seemed never ending. And now she's here! She's been here for over 7 months. It seems like yesterday I was opening up the email to see her face for the first time, then hoping on a plane 8 months later to go get her, then holding her for the first time, and bringing her home to her forever family and placing her in the arms of her daddy! Feeling so blessed by this amazing journey, amazing daughter, and an amazing God who orchestrated the whole thing!

There is also a mother out there somewhere who is remembering this day a little different than me. She remembers laboring and delivering a beautiful baby girl that she could not keep. She remembers holding her crying newborn baby and soothing her. She remembers staring at every inch of this baby girl and trying to memorize it. She needed to burn the image of her baby in her mind, because tomorrow she would not see this baby anymore. Maybe she begged her husband to let her keep the baby, maybe she named this tiny little girl she held so close, maybe she sang the baby to sleep......

My mind can go on and on imagining the joy she felt holding her baby and the pain she felt knowing what laid ahead. Sometime in the night of February 4th, she wrapped her baby in a blanket, she said goodbye to her precious baby and she, or someone she knew placed the baby at the gates of the Poyang SWI.

I wish I could tell her all about the baby girl she gave up. If I could, this is what I'd say......

Dear Birth Mother,

I wish I could tell you that she is doing great. That she is in the US, in a small town in the state of Indiana. She has a family with 2 brothers and 1 sister. She has a mom and a dad, and a huge extended family, and all of them love her very much!

I would tell you that Elise is happy, playful and full of energy! She smiles all the time! She smiles so big her eyes disappear! Her laugh is contagious. She walks, runs, and even skips! She talks nonstop :-) She LOVES food! She loves to play with her brothers and sister. She loves playing with sidewalk chalk, her power wheels jeep and baby dolls. She is very attached to her bear blankey. She is terrified of animals. She weighs 28 lbs now! She is growing like a weed! She has a great life full of everything she needs, and most of what she wants.

She was the missing piece to our family. We love her so much and can't imagine our lives without her! We are forever grateful for your sacrifice. You gave up something so dear and precious to you, in hopes that she would have a better life. Because of your sacrifice, we have been forever blessed with a daughter!

Thank you,
Tracy/adoptive mother

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday..... January 18, 2012

Pics from our fun Birthday Lunch/Play Date with Cinnamon, Jacob & Claire!! Thanks guys for helping to make my birthday special!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Birthday Traditions!!..... Daddy's and their Daughters

So, lots of birthdays going on around here! January 12th is my grandmother's birthday. We celebrated her 87th birthday! January 15th is Emmie's birthday, she was 3. January 16th is my Bday, we won't mention my age! And January 17 is my mother's birthday. Then we do it all over again in February starting on the 4th with Elise's 2nd birthday. February 20th is my sister, and February 23rd is my niece Lindsey who will be 4. WOW!! That's a a lot of birthdays in only 5 weeks!

Birthday traditions that started when I was a kid and I'm continuing with my own children have been fun. One is your birthday dinner! You get to pick what we eat on your birthday, sometimes its the restaurant of your choice, sometimes it's Mom's cooking of your choice, but either way, if its your birthday, then you get to pick it!!

There's one birthday tradition that my dad started many years ago with his daughters. He ALWAYS brought us flowers on our birthday. I can't remember a time when he didn't. Some of my youngest memories are of my birthday, and I always remember getting flowers! My dad usually had to work on my birthday, unless it fell on a weekend, so I mostly remember him coming home from work with flowers for me. Nothing makes you feel special like flowers on your birthday! Especially when you are a kid! It made a lasting impression on me. I'm not sure why, but it was important enough that I've asked my husband to carry on the tradition with our daughters!

So, Saturday night Tom surprised Emmie with flowers. It was the sweetest thing! She was so excited! She told me all evening as she watched me make her birthday cake, "These are Emmie's flowers Mommy!" Makes me happy to see her so happy.

I think I just really want Tom to hold the bar high for our girls. I want them to expect to be treated like a queen when they go out on a date, because their Daddy treats them like a queen. I want them to never settle for someone who doesn't treat them the way a lady should be treated, and I know we, especially Tom, has to start laying that foundation now! The relationship they have with their dad will establish a guide for them as they maneuver though other relationships with boys.

 My B-Day flowers from my Dad
 Emmie's cake & Flowers
 Emmie with her horse cake (which she requested) & below are her roses from her Daddy!
I'm very thankful for my relationship with my dad, and I'm very thankful for an awesome husband who is a hands-on dad! He's a great father, and very affectionate with his kids. I'm blessed to have him as the father of my kids!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday.... 1 day late!!

This was a look back at a few pics from October, November & December... next week, New Pics!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

..... 5 days late

So, in my New Years blog post, I said I was going to blog more, and one of the ways I was going to do that was with Wordless Wednesday!! Ha Ha Ha!! I'm 5 days late with that post, and now it's not wordless anymore either!  The following pics are some of my favorites from our trip to Alabama last fall. Emmie LOVED playing in the leaves!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day......Reflections from 2011

2011 was a big year for our family! A recap of our VERY eventful year.......

January 2011: Emmie had her 2nd birthday, and I had my ** birthday! (not 40 yet, but getting ever so close to it!!) Tom got to move back home from Orlando!! Woohoo!! We also accepted an offer on our house, which we had been trying to sell for a year! We wanted to sell, so that the whole family could move to Orlando. I think God was telling us something by letting our house sell at the exact time Tom moved back to IN.

February 2011: Emmie celebrated 1 year post surgery! Also on that same day Elise was in China celebrating her 1st birthday! Emmie was still struggling with medication dosages, high blood pressure and kidneys disease. We were also in the process of trying to find a rental home big enough for a family of 5... soon to be 6!!

March 2011: We finally closed on the house!! Still looking for a rental. Tom continued to work from home for the Orlando company. We were also anxiously waiting on USCIS paperwork to go through so we could travel to China.

April 2011: Travel Approval came from China!! We also moved into a rental house, finally! Emmie also finally started having good blood pressure readings for the first time EVER!

May 2011: My brother and I headed to China!!! On May 23rd, Elise was finally in her mother's arms! We also found out the rental house we were in was being sold and we had to move out by the end of June! uggg!!! So, the week before I headed to China, Tom & I had to make some major decisions. Are we staying in IN or moving somewhere else. Tom accepted a job in Indianapolis, we did a marathon house hunt the weekend before I left for China, and while I was in China Tom made an offer on a house & the offer was accepted.

June 2011: I brought Elise home from China to meet the rest of her family on June 2nd. We tried to adjust to 4 kids and help Elise adjust to life with our family, while at the same time packing up and preparing for another move! On June 30th, we closed on our new home, and moved in the same day!

July 2011:July was all about getting settled! We unpacked, enjoyed our new pool and our new daughter!! Elise was blending in well with our family. We had a visit from Aunt Jenny, Solomon  Nana! We also celebrated Elise's 1st birthday (5 months late)!

August 2011: Brandon started 8th grade and Blake started 6th grade. The boys are growing waaay too fast! Emmie & Elise started going to CMO 1 day a week. (Children's Morning Out... which translates to, Mommy's 1 free morning a week to get groceries alone!)

September 2011: Elise had laser eye surgery. She did great! Brandon is now in full swing of the football season!! (his passion in life). Brandon also turned 14 this month. Wow how time flies!

October 2011: Pretty uneventful for us! That rarely happens!! Emmie & Elise dressed up as princesses for Halloween. Blake decided he didn't want to trick or treat for the 1st time ever.

November 2011: We celebrated the fact that Elise has now been with us for 6 months!! We completed our 6 month post-placement paperwork! We took a quick trip to Alabama to visit Papaw Brooks, Kelly and see Grandma Mary. We also hosted our first extended family holiday in our new house. Thanksgiving was at our house this year and it was great!! Emmie had another heart surgery this month. It went well. She had her stent adjusted and even got to come home the same day!!


December 2011: Took a quick trip to Gatlinburg TN to have Christmas with Nana, Popa, Uncle Pete, Aunt Jenny, Solomon & Uncle Stephen. It was awesome!! We celebrated our first Christmas in the new house with our newest addition, Elise! It was a great Christmas! Emmie & Elise were so much fun to watch! The boys got dirt bikes & were so excited!! They said it was the best Christmas ever!! We rang in the new year with a few friends in our house! Everyone stayed up, including Elise, who for the first time rang in the new year as a US citizen!!

Time flies when you're having fun so I guess we must be having fun!! I've learned lots of life lessons in the past few years and I'm sure God is still working on some more! I have made a few "New Years Resolutions" with myself......
1. Blog more!!! I'm taking a tip from a friend's blog and going to try to post "Wordless Wednesday" which will be all pics!
2. Drink more water! and no more diet coke!! I know, call me crazy but I think it's for the best!
3. Get more sleep!! (Don't know how well this one will work out!!)
4. Be more organized!

Keep looking for more posts in 2012!!! Happy New Year!!!!!