School is out for spring break, and so we have enjoyed every single day of freedom.
Recently, we checked on the new donut shop in town and it was so much fun!
You can customize your donut to your liking, and watch them make it before your eyes.
It was also really affordable at just over $7.00 for a half dozen. Since Ellie is not eating donuts and we had Em with us, a half dozen suited us perfectly, and we thought they were delicious. My girls love donut dates!
This morning I cried tears over my daughters tiny form as four wonderful nurses inserted an NG tube into her sweet little nose. Initially I cried because of her discomfort.. because when she hurts-I hurt. Then I cried for all the times she did this in China without a momma to sing to her. I cried for the millions who lack access to care because they are without a family to provide for them. And I wondered how I could have lived so much of my life turning a blind eye to these least who I now cherish. What an incredible privilege to stand next to her hospital bed, to rock, sing to, and comfort this precious girl who I have the pleasure of calling my daughter in this life. What a beautiful, joyful little soul my sweet Ellie Grace carries throughout her days. I am forever grateful for that file I found sitting in my inbox because I can't imagine life without her.
This last weekend our Daddy headed to Dallas for a baseball chaplain conference. He was away for a couple of days, and it was hard, but the most precious, amazing thing happened when he returned to us. Our girls erupted with choruses of DADDY'S HOME, and JOY was so apparent on their faces. They wrestled, hugged, and jumped on their Daddy with great relief because they missed him so much. And it made me cry. I cried because, while my girls know the love of a Godly man, millions in foster care and orphanages all over the world don't know what is to have a Daddy coming home to them. And I prayed. I prayed that men in the church would rise up. I prayed that they would take the amazing gifts that God has given them to lead and love their families, and willingly open their hearts and homes to those who would not otherwise know what it is to have a Daddy. Why are we so selfish with what God has given us that we are so unwillingly to share it with those who don't have it? I don't have the answer to that question as I spent years with a blind eye turned to these children, and, oh, how I missed out on so many blessings by keeping our family so closed. Today, I pray that God doesn't allow my heart to grow cold to the needs of these children, and that I will continue to pray and seek ways to serve them. My heart is forever changed because of my daughters from China, and, while I am forever grateful to God for the gift of them, living with the knowledge that so many millions more wait is heartbreaking. May we always be open to what God leads as His heart's desire is to see every child in a family. Isn't there room for just one more around your table?
There is nothing this side of heaven that is more satisfying than holding a sleeping baby.
Since my baby girl has been sick, I have gotten to hold her so much. She slept six hours in my arms on her sickest day, and it certainly gave me plenty of time to ponder the privilege it is that I get to be her momma. Oh that she would stay this size forever! Such a precious, precious gift that God would allow me to have this girl to raise up for Him.
Today is the first day in almost two weeks that I feel like I have a bit of my energy back. The household health is on the rise, and I even managed to get everyone out for a haircut this morning. Believe me this is no small feat considering I could hardly sit upright for most of the last two weeks. Thank goodness this nasty bug seems to be beaten. So because there was a free day at the CR Art Museum, and my seven year old artist was desperate for a little focused time, Anna Mei and I headed for an hour of one on one time.
There was a scavenger hunt through the galleries today. It made looking at the paintings and sculptures extra fun.
She thought this ear of corn with a slab of butter painting was hilarious.
There were several stations throughout the museum where you could work on various projects. We used water color pencils to create paintings in the classroom.
We also made a barn picture by rolling dice, and drawing the corresponding part. The shadow puppet station was super fun too, and after a little over an hour my girl's love tank was FULL. What an incredible blessing that Daddy was able to watch the other littles while we got a way a bit. I enjoy our dates just as much as Anna Mei does. I was thinking about how hard we have fought for this mother daughter bond, and how very much I adore her now. There were so many times that I would pray God would make this happen, and He has answered my prayers abundantly..so very thankful as the battle for her heart has been so very worth it!
As a momma to many, it can be challenging to meet everyone's needs on a day to day basis even when four of our seven family members aren't sick. This sweet girl of mine hasn't ever gotten the bug and I am so grateful for that, but it has been challenging to watch everyone get so much attention while she has had to do a lot more for herself. This girl of mine thrives on one on one time, and undivided attention. It fills her love tank like nothing else. So before our Daddy headed out early Saturday morning, she and I headed out for a 6:00 AM donut and hot chocolate date.
Since this girl is up at the crack of dawn everyday, it works out for her to get a little one on one time before the sunrises. As much as I would have loved to stay in bed after being up all night caring for the sick baby, this time with my bigger girl meant the world to her. It may our day so much better, and she was such a big help caring for everyone all day while her Daddy was visiting Emily. I am so very thankful for this big girl as she is a HUGE blessing to me!
We are heading into day 14 of a nasty respiratory virus at our house. Jillian picked it up first and was down nearly seven days with it. A few days after her, I got it. Momma being sick is never easy as the house just doesn't run the same without a functioning momma. Then, last Thursday it struck Molly...Saturday Ellie Grace. High fever, coughing, and exhaustion are the main, and worst, aspects of this yuck. Molly seemed to be getting better as she was on day five of her fight. Her fever seemed to break Saturday evening, and while the baby took over hard and fast with ferocious symptoms on Saturday, I was hoping Molly was home free. Then yesterday evening out of nowhere, she suddenly had a 106 fever. Insert..hysterical momma. Daddy was at work, and with only thirty minutes until urgent care closed, I had no choice, but load everybody up and go. Daddy arrived from work pretty quickly and took the other little girls home while I waited with Molly to see the doc at Urgent Care for the fifth time in two weeks...SIGH! They took her fever 106.2, and sent us to the ER. I know 106.2 is dangerously high..seizures, unconsciousness..so much could happen. They got us in to the ER right away as the urgent care called us in and they were waiting for us to arrive. Another sign to this momma about how very serious this could have turned out to be. They drew blood, ordered a chest x-ray, tested her urine, and pumped those fever reducing meds into her. Luckily, after about three hours there her fever was retreating, and she was feeling much better. We still aren't sure what would cause her fever to be so high as this respiratory virus isn't usually the culprit of such a symptom, but it is all we can find. I opted to take her home continuing the every three hour fever meds through the night as being here is much better than being in the hospital if you can avoid it. I am praising God this morning for His mercies, and the time that I had to just be with my sick girl. As I hold my babies in a hospital bed, I am always reminded things could be so much different for them. An orphan with a 106 fever laying in an orphanage doesn't have a momma to rush her to the ER. An orphan with a 106 fever most likely dies in an institution, and then the tears come. Tears of thanksgiving that my girls are no longer orphans. Tears of praise for the many, many people who provided funds so that my girls could be my daughter. Without so many people giving on her behalf, she simply wouldn't be here with us. Tears of great sorrow that, while my girls rest in the arms of their momma, millions lay in beds wasting away without a family. At nearly midnight, we lay in the darkness of the hospital room, curled up in that bed together, signing praise and worship music that I played on my phone, and reciting Psalm 28:7 over and over. It was such a sweet time, and one that I wish each and every waiting child could experience with a momma.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for JOY, and with my song I praise Him. Psalm 28:7
I can't watch my man with our girls, and not be overcome with gratefulness to God for this man who is the father of our precious girls.
After a long day at work, he never comes home to sit down.
He loves, and loves, and loves.
And our girls eat it up as they adore their Daddy.
I joke him all the time that this is all his fault, because if he wasn't such an amazing father I wouldn't feel the need to share this amazing gift with more babes who don't have a father.
Thanks Daddy for the way you love our house.
For the way you have taken care of us all while we have been sick the last twelve days.
For the way you can sit and just be, without words, with our children.
For driving eight hours yesterday to spend three with our big girl when she needed you.
For loving the Lord more than you love us because He is your source to serve us.
You are amazing and we are blessed to call you ours.
We have had such fun experimenting with this chain reaction set we got for Christmas.
It definitely requires patience, as you have to get it just right, but I love the experimenting with friction, motion, and speed that goes along with multiple trials. We use our kitchen table, and just used a pool noodle cut to fit the sides as a "bumper" to keep the balls from rolling off. It worked great! Good thing I always have pool noodles on hand as you never know when you will need five to make a table bumper.
However it happened, an odd squad party was in order as per the birthday girl's request. So I dressed all my little agents in their uniforms, and proceeded to celebrate with many magical math wonders odd squad style.
Her eyes always disappear. Bless her. Seven looks good on her.
She asked Daddy to dress as Tommy Twosie..a villain on the show. He was happy to dress ridiculously to please his girl.
We had a math room, laser hall, centigurp escape area, double duck pond, and I believe the birthday girl was very happy with her day.
Our littlest agent enjoyed all the attention too.
We celebrated with a few friends, and it was perfect for our girl who is still not comfortable with crowds.
Precious. Precious girl.
She had a bit trouble blowing out all those candles.
When she finally got them, she beamed.
Another birthday in the books.
Even my girl said these years seem to go by so fast. Oh dear sweet child if only you knew that you would be grown in the blink of an eye. Seven. Oh to just be able to park here a few hundred years to enjoy each moment.
I guided my, just turned seven year old, daughter as she sewed her first ever pillow. She was beaming with pride...full of JOY..and let out "THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER".
I drove my cooing baby girl to the University to see another doctor. I listened to her giggling as I drove because she loves moving her face in the sun as it streams in the Toyota's window.
I held my tiny four year old girl close as her hip was x-rayed because she injured it somehow, and I cuddled her little frame while she was examined and calling "Momma" with complete confidence that I would never leave her.
I answered the phone to hear the dear nurse at my eight year old daughter's school calling to tell me my sweet girl had a fever and was requesting her momma.
And it struck me. It struck me that had I made one turn to the left..just one step away from this path I am on..that I could have missed this JOY completely. If I hadn't been in the word regularly..if I hadn't been listening for God to speak..if I hadn't trusted him..if I had let fear get the best of me nearly seven years ago when all of this started, my life would be so different.
Far less JOYFUL. Far less miraculous. Far less full.
Which led to think....
I may not have missed this path, but what else have I let fear rob me of? There are things that God calls us to do that scare us to death...aren't there? New Jobs, new relationships, risks for His sake, adoption, foster care.. I was scared to death to enter this world of special needs parenting. I never thought of adopting, and I certainly never dreamed of parenting five children. The thought makes me laugh out loud. There were days on this path that I was trembling in my boots. Moments like the ones that I first saw my children, that I doubted whether I could do this, and the truth is..I can't, but had I let fear keep me from saying yes to this life..Oh what I would have missed out on. If you have something that God has put on your heart, take the risk..follow..obey. Don't let fear rob you of the great blessings that comes by living in God's will even if seems like a hard path to follow.
I pray that I don't let fear control me..that I keep my eye's on the one who is writing my story, and obediently follow Him to all the places that He calls because I never want to miss the JOY that is always waiting there!
Tomorrow my dear girl turns seven, and without fail I am up when everyone else is asleep mourning for the mother she will never know. My girl's birthdays always bring with them thoughts of their belly mommas. Was she laboring this night seven years ago? Did she first look into the eyes of my baby girl at this very hour or was it much later? When was it that she knew in her heart that she would have to say goodbye? Does she think about her everyday, but especially does her heart break on this day for the girl she will likely never know? This girl who is the one of the most special gifts given to me by a God who ordained this story for her. On this night, I wrestle through so much..so many questions unanswered that I will likely never get to ask. Pieces of my dear daughter's story that will always be missing, and it grieves me. I cry at the brokenness of it all, and cling to the promise that God uses all things for the good of those who love him. My baby girl loves Him so, and for that I am grateful because I know that He will use her story..and those many parts of it that will never be revealed to us on this Earth..for His good somehow. Grateful for the moments that I stand beside her treasuring each and every one in my heart, and so thankful for the woman who held her before I did. The dear momma whose face likely matches that of my treasured daughter. I pray that somehow she has God's peace on this night, and that, by some miracle, we will meet one day so that I can thank her for sharing her girl with me.
We have loved having snow on the ground. My Anna Mei loves to be out in the snow, and she was dying to build a real snowman so she was super happy when the weather turned warm enough to enjoy this white stuff.
While we waited to play in it, we read lots of snowman books! Snowmen at Night is one of our favorites, and we did this little art project inspired by the book. We talked about perspective as we created them as this is an aerial view of a snowman.
We used pastel crayons, and the girls absolutely loved using them.
They did not hold back when adding color to these unique guys, but I always encourage them to create anything they want so I resisted telling them what to use.
This girl's fine motor skills are truly amazing. She cut out all her pieces by herself with regular scissors!
This one is my artist. Her brain is definitely not black and white. She sees the world with an artist perspective for sure, and I enjoy her so very much!
The girls and I enjoyed The Lion King Jr on stage as part of the Playtime Poppy series before Christmas. Molly loved the flying bird kites, the costumes, and the music. Jillian always loves the dancing, and choreographed movement of the groups, and Anna Mei loved the story line. I am so thankful for this series as it is top notched theater for my girls, but costs only a few dollars to attend.
Molly even went up on stage as she is my most outgoing...
I am a Christ follower, wife of 20 years to my best friend, and a stay at home momma to five amazing daughters. I am currently waiting for one precious special needs treasure to come home from China. I am passionate about the orphan and special needs adoption. I love to teach God's word, am involved in youth ministry alongside my dh, and love,love, love cooking. Above all, I desire to serve God and surrender my life to His call.