Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sisters

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.




Cutting

Molly's teacher caught her on video today cutting.  She has been working so, so hard all summer cutting.  Anna Mei loves to art, cut, and create so as she sat at the table so did my Molly...cutting.  Molly was born without functioning thumbs.  Her fingers, and wrists are not formed typically either, but this girl is determined..and AMAZING!  She is using regular preschool scissors with her fingers to open and close them while cutting a perfect triangle with standard sized lines to cut on.  This girl is absolutely incredible and we are beyond blessed to call her our daughter.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Attachment Progress

Earning the place of momma in the heart of my babies is a long, hard fought process.  I know this in my head.  That is why we encourage attachment at all costs.  Even after four months home, no one else (except Daddy or her sisters) holds Ellie, feeds her, or cares for her.  
I don't leave her in the church nursery, don't go out to dinner, and keep her sleeping next to me until I feel like attachment beginnings are solid.  I say beginnings because attachment work never ends with our girls from hard places, but it doesn't have to be so exclusive when they begin to give me the place of momma in their heart.  Some of my girls have taken years to be ready to move out of the exclusively momma phase, and others only months, but it is a phase that is so necessary for healthy family relationships so I do it as long as I feel like my little one needs.  It can be daunting, and it can a road full of steps forward and steps back, but when the steps begin to be mostly forward oh my heart soars!
Yesterday, I went in to get my Ellie Grace.  For so many months, she would push away from my embrace, but yesterday she returned it.  She wrapped her little arm around mine and pressed her chubby cheeks into my arm with the biggest smile.  Oh my momma heart was full!  Each new day, each new shared experience is a step in the right direction.  It is a privilege to fight for the heart of my babies, and being their momma is a precious gift that is born out of so much loss and hurt.  Rejoicing today that my sweet girl is beginning to be able to return this momma's love, and eating up every single hug and smile she throws my way..today and for a lifetime.

Monday, August 28, 2017

First Days of School

As of today, all of my babies are back in school!  We are all trying our best to adjust to our new schedule, but with different starting times, buildings, and therapies all over town, it can be tricky.
Jillian is in third grade and started last Wednesday.  She has her Miss Debbie back this year, and we are so grateful for the support she gives our special girl.
It is freshman year again for our dear Emily.  This time she is far from home on her first grown up adventure.
Four year old preschool  was the destination today for our tiny, but mighty Molly.  She has the same teacher this year too which always makes the transition so much easier on all of us.
First grade started today for my Anna Mei who is in her second year of home school.  I love having her with me, and she still needs to be close so it works out for both of us.  I can't wait to see where this year takes us, and all that we learn.  Eighteen, eight, six, four, and two will never happen again around here so I am determined to savor it!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Today

The car is packed...overflowing really, and today is the day that I begin the journey to take my first baby to college.  I don't know how we got here, and I honestly don't know how we will survive.   I am an emotional momma by nature as I feel deeply about everything that matters most to me.  I can cry buckets over Gotcha Day videos even if I have no earthly connection to the parents welcoming their new babe.  I can rarely get through a worship set on Sunday morning without spilling a few tears, and often I choke back many daily as my sweet girls ask about their China mommas.  Anyway, the next three days as I move this dear girl of mine out of my house will not be pretty for this momma. No mascara will be worn.  Don't get me wrong, I want this.  This is what we parents plan our whole lives for..we love and train so that they can leave the nest and be successful.  I know that in my head without a doubt, but getting my heart to agree is another matter entirely.  I know many mommas say that the time goes by so quickly, and I would definitely agree.  I have done my best to prepare for this, and here we are just like that.  Today the journey begins.  Tomorrow, we will arrive at  her new home, unpack the cute, aqua decoupage crafts, hang the paintings, make her new bed, and close the door on her childhood.  YIKES!  My dear girl is ready, and I am so glad because this sobbing momma couldn't take it if my girl was a crying mess beside me.   If you think to pray for strength, this momma would be forever indebted to you as I know that I can do all things through Christ even if it means leaving my heart in the world without me beside her.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Mashed Bananas

After a pretty frustrating pause in her eating, this girl is making some good, slow progress again!
She is exploring food, and even putting some in her mouth.  This momma is cautiously thrilled.
Now if I could just get her digestive system regulated as this poor baby has had so much trouble.
Of course, her favorite part of self feeding is by far the bath that is always needed after "eating" mashed banana.
This girl loves the water!
And we love her smiles when she is playing in it.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Infectious Joy

Boy, I am going to miss this dear girl when she heads back to school.  Her joy is infectious and we have enjoyed having her with us every minute this summer.  I can't believe that she is in third grade this year.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Early Morning Spa















Anna Mei was up and at going at 5:50 AM this morning as usual.  I love that my girl is an early riser.  Not only is she an early riser, but as soon as she wakes the girl is ready to go.  She had this spa up and going a bit after 6:00 AM this morning, and boy was it fun!
Molly got in on the action, and did a lovely job making herself even prettier than she already is.


















Even Jillian wanted to play with us which always makes this momma so very happy.
















Her nails were quite a sight with the red polish accenting the mug and dirt that is ever present on my mud loving girl's hands.















Anna Mei was my make up artist too.


















If you ever feel like a 5:00 AM manicure, our kitchen table is the place to be.
















Another beautiful morning to be beyond grateful for the fun these little girls bring me.  Beyond blessed to be their momma!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Precious Baby

I rock this baby to sleep, and hold her during her naps as much as I can.  As I snuggle this little babe against my chest, it is impossible to not be overcome with just how miraculous all of this truly is.  We have five amazing daughters that God has allowed us to raise for Him in this season.  Four beautiful babes from across the ocean. Once orphaned, these sweet, precious girls are now cherished daughters who, though they have no biological connection to us, are grafted into our hearts.  We call them ours.  Daddy takes them for bike rides.  They run into his arms when he comes home from work.  They sing VBS worship songs at the top of their lungs while they dance around our living room at night.  Though life with four littles who have varying degrees of special needs, and one big girl who is about to go off to college is so extremely chaotic, this life is so much more abundantly blessed by their presence than I could have ever imagined when I set out dreaming about what my life might look like when I started all of this.  I didn't even know to dream this big for my time here on Earth.  My dear man's favorite idea, that we first heard at a teen conference, is that God's plans are so much bigger than your imagination.  That is so true in our lives.  As I hold this dear one in my arms, I have so much reason to give thanks to God for planning this incredible life for me.  I continue to feel so unworthy of parenting these babes as I make many mistakes throughout the day, but God continues to show me about His mercy and grace in my life.   This huge story for us just started with one yes.  My has God taken our very shaky yes when we signed on, and turned it into a big, giant faith shaping journey.  Friends, knowing God and serving Him is the thrill of my life.  It is all that matters.  The only hope that never fades throughout our crazy, chaotic days.  I am so very grateful to know Him today, and all the days of my life, because, while so much about life isn't easy, I always have hope in Him.  



Friday, August 11, 2017

Devonian Fossil Gorge

After an appointment at the U the other day, we headed with a picnic lunch to the fossil gorge.  It is on the way home from the city so it was a perfect detour to turn our appointment into an outing.  
It wasn't a large area to hike which was perfect for our little girls' short legs.
The temperature was beautiful,
and our sweet girls loved, loved exploring.
It was a day that I stepped back out of for a minute, and gave great thanks that these enthusiastic little ones are mine.  How life would be so dull without them.
There were wonders everywhere, and our girls took full advantage with wonder.
I am not sure we had the actual patience to find a real fossil, but we sure thought we saw many.
We also did plenty of hamming it up while we explored.
Grateful...Blessed....
A little sad too that summer has to end.

Monday, August 7, 2017

City Park Fun


After donuts, we headed to a city park.  The park has some vintage carnival rides which, for less than 75 cents a ride, where the greatest thing ever for our little girls!


They loved them!

You would think we were on the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world.
It was pure, simple fun!


Ellie Grace enjoyed strolling in the stroller with Daddy throughout the park while the girls rode, and I didn't get one picture of that sweet thing.


The end of summer is so near which always makes me sad.  Oh that summer could last forever somehow!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Because Summer is Slipping Away


We took full advantage of a trip to the University last week because summer is slipping away.


We all loaded up, and after our therapy was over, headed to the Hurt's Donut Shop.


A deliciously, fun time was had by all!


Never in my wildest dreams did I think this girl would ever enjoy eating a donut, but here she is eating a donut!


I love that this little one doesn't stay put for a picture anymore.  She is all over the place, and since she couldn't even sit up three months ago, we are thrilled!


Double thumbs up for delicious donuts.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

18


18.  How did we get here?


How can it be that we are moving this young woman out of our house in just three short weeks?


I have no answers, but the reality is our time with this girl as a child are gone..just like that.  I am grateful to God for the gift of this incredible girl who was the first to make me a momma.   I am even more grateful that God didn't follow my plan of only doing this momma thing once because having an empty nest in just three short weeks would not have been a good idea.  What was I thinking in my twenties? Grateful God gave me just a few more of these beautiful babies (two of whom will likely never leave me)  because my nest will never be empty.  Praise God for His plans!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Our Princess's First Portraits

I was able to get Ellie Grace to a local studio on Saturday, and they captured her first professional poses for us.

Her silly smiles look just like she does everyday.

We are thrilled with all the sweet angles of her face.
(These shoes and gold bracelet were my Emily's that she wore at her 12 months photos.)

There is nothing more precious to this momma than sweet images of her treasures.