Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Surviving Winter

The cold weather is pretty hard on this girl of mine as she loves, loves being outside.  Out in our sensory rich backyard, she explores the pea gravel, branches, sand pit, mud, leaves, grass, and water for hours.  Some days, she can spend five hours back there easily.  It is her happy haven.  That makes winter a bit of a challenge for her.  As a result, I have become a master at whipping up all sorts of sensory dough recipes for her to fling in the kitchen.  This is one way to get her needs met even when she can't be outside, and, though it is very, very messy, my girl keeps her senses more balanced which is worth the few extra minutes of clean up.









Friday, December 2, 2016

Sleeping Baby

How I love, love watching my babies sleep.
 When I only had Jillian, I would often just sit by her bed all afternoon as she napped.
I would read my bible, and just stare at her face.
These precious baby moments are gone too fast.
Now that I have many more little ones to chase after,  I don't get to stay too long by their side as they sleep.  I did snap these pictures the other day though.  Oh this precious girl has my heart.  I love every inch of those chubby cheeks!  This babe is a priceless treasure.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Our I-797 is Here!

Our I-797  is here.  Our dossier is off to the consulate tomorrow!  We are almost Dossier to China.  WAHOOOOO!!!!!  From here, we wait for our dossier (all the paperwork) to get logged in by the China Adoption Agency (CCCWA).  Then we wait for our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC).  This letter might be to us before Chinese New Year in February and that is what this momma is hoping for with all her heart!  We are still looking at an spring or early summer travel date, but the sooner the better!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Molly

 This girl is growing up and changing every single day.  To say that I feel extremely grateful that God would allow me to be her momma is a HUGE understatement.
 She is sassy, so funny, inventive, and always B-U-S-Y.  Her favorite activities include mimicking her big sister, and teasing her Daddy.
I don't know how I lived so much of my life without her in it as she provides me so much JOY!    She has a smile that adds so much to our family.  I am so, so glad that God brought her to us.

















Bloomsbury Farm

One of our favorite fall memory making days is spending time at Bloomsbury Farm together.  It is so fun to have such a sensory rich place so close to us to bring our girls each year.  It is an added bonus that the homeschool day price was so much cheaper.  We enjoyed our day so much!
 Jumping Pillow Madness!

 Growing so tall..
 Giant Slide Mania!
Love these faces!

 Here we are minus our big girl.  Next fall, our hands will be even more full of baby goodness, and we couldn't be more thrilled at the thought of Ellie Grace here with us. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fall Farm Photos

 We enjoyed our annual trip to Radar Family Farms with Grandma in October again this year.
Three, five, and seven have been so so good this fall as these ages are so much fun.
 This girl is a farm girl at heart as few things make her happier than playing on the farm.
 These photos with pumpkins mean so much.  The first fall home, my Jilly screamed in terror at a farm like this one as these orange round objects scared her to death.
 Now look at all three of my beauties who own this pose having the time of their lives.
 When she smiles, her eyes always disappear.
LOVE that about my middle girl.
Hanging upside down is definitely how this one rolls.
I am dying to know how Ellie Grace will fit in to this mix next year.
I hope she likes this active, lively crew because we love her so much already.
We can't wait to see her sitting in the pumpkins next to us.

Our Darling Doggie


Darling Doggie Barks...



Have you ever seen anything more darling?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

She Ate Cake

There are no words to describe how blessed we feel that our Jillian attends such an incredible, amazing public elementary school.  She is valued there beyond anything that I could have ever hoped for.  Her teachers, her peers, the school nurse, the office staff, the other parents..even the lunch lady..love my girl.  It blows me away continually.

It is no surprise given the kindness that she is shown every day at school that she is included in just about everything.  She has been invited to many birthday parties, and it always makes me tear up when she brings an invitation home. As a momma of a very special child, you hope and pray that others will call her friend.  You beg with God for a small tribe to come alongside her, and get her the way you do.  Well, my prayers continue to be answered as this girl has some truly special peers.

Earlier this month, her friend Lauren turned eight and invited her to her art birthday party.  We went to the store early Sunday morning before church, and selected a gift for her friend.  My Jilly stood next to me in the arts and crafts aisle, and selected a craft kit just as any other seven year old girl might.  She signed excitedly "party"  all throughout church because she knew that we were headed there that afternoon.  When we arrived at the party, she greeted her friend, explored her house, and smiled so big.  When it was time to paint our creations on canvas, my girl grabbed the brush, and painted blue-gray wave motions signing beach while four other girls at her table cheered her on.  She tried on the props at the photo booth.  She sat at the table while they ate walking tacos.  She watched her friend open gifts, played kickball, and had a wonderful time.

Perhaps the most miraculous part of the day though was when my precious little treasure stood at a table full of sixteen girls, sang happy birthday, and ate a piece of cake.  This was the first time she had every eaten birthday cake!  Before my baby came to me, this would be a moment that I would take for granted.  It wouldn't have even been blog worthy that my seven year old daughter was smashing up and eating cake, but my Jilly has taught me so much about what a true miracle in the making these every day moments are for her.

I love the Matthew West song "Mended".
The lyrics say..

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

(AND MY FAVORITE PART)
So hold on, it's not the end
No, this is where love's work begins
I'm making all things new
And I will make a miracle of you

My baby girl is the physical representation of this song.  She is a miracle whose brokenness is being repaired daily by a God whose story for her is so much bigger than any special need label she wears or any trauma that her past has handed her.  What an incredible blessing to be on this journey beside her.  Hopefully the sobbing momma sitting next to her at the cake table won't deter her friends from inviting her to the next party.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Apple Adventures

 One of my favorite parts of home school is the flexibility it gives us to do whatever we feel like during the day.  So when a beautiful fall day in late September presented itself, we could drop everything and visit the orchard.  Molly loved picking apples this year, but was frustrated that they were so high up and hard to pull off.  She is vertically challenged and tiny for a three year old.
 She loves to do everything BY HERSELF so she was thrilled to find this one low enough to claim fairly easily.
 This sweet girl is thriving at home.  She is happier than she has been since coming home to us, and it makes this momma's heart overflow.  She loves bossing teaching her baby sister when we go on outings.
 Yum!  Nothing like a fresh picked apple.
 We ended the day with a little swinging which always brings smiles.
Happy babies on a beautiful day equals memories that I long to hold onto.  Here are to more beautiful fall days at Allen's Orchard for many years to come.

Halloween

Two little lions, a cow, and  a whole lot of candy make for a fun evening.
Oh, that three, five, and seven could last forever.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Turning Two In China

Though we weren't able to be with our Ellie Grace on her second birthday, we were able to send her a party.  We even received some pictures of the celebration from her orphanage.
My word she looks precious, and very unsure of what is happening.
She actually reminds me so much of my Jilly in these photos.
It makes my heart all the more anxious to get to her.


A cake with fruit is typical for celebrations
 She is not a fan of eating this cake.
My Jilly looked exactly the same.
With everything in me, I have been begging God to move heaven and earth so that we can get to this precious girl.  I was recently sharing with a friend that I have battled fear regarding each of my babies diagnosed special needs as I have waited to bring them home.  This time, I haven't battled any fear at all in regard to being able to care for her even though her special needs are so unknown and I can see my Jillian all over her.  Regardless of what she needs, I just want to be her momma.  I just want to kiss those cheeks, and assure her that she will never have another day alone again.  Whatever she is able to accomplish in this life, she will do it with this momma by her side.  I feel blessed that God would allow me a small part of her story, but just wish He would speed up the time that it is taking to get her home.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Order T Shirts Now..Closing Orders Soon

We need to sell about 175 more shirts to meet our goal.
Please consider ordering a shirt with your child(ren)'s name(s).  They make awesome Christmas gifts.
This logo pictured will be on the front of the shirt, but we would like to list names of your adopted kiddos on the back as a testimony to the many one mores that are thriving in a loving family.  
(It will look something like this with your children's names listed.)
We featured more than one hundred names on our last t-shirt and it was such a testimony! 

The shirts are ready to preorder in gray, red, royal, or pink right now and make great gifts for Christmas.  We will take orders below for about two more weeks.  It will take two weeks to print and ship them, and they will arrive in time to give for Christmas gifts in the beginning of December.

Order them through Paypal below.

Shirts are $20 shipped.
They are a unisex fit in a 50/50 blend of polyester and cotton.  They can be ordered in youth and adult sizes with the drop down menu.  When you push add to cart, you will be directed to paypal to pay through our account.
(You don't need a paypal account to order.) 

 

















THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!  
We closed our shirt orders.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Today Is Her Birthday

I have written this post four times.  Four times now, my children have turned two without me by their side..in 2011, 2013, 2015, and now in 2016.  While I ache deeply at missing this day with our Ellie Grace, I know that soon she will not remember what it is like to have a birthday apart from a loving momma and daddy.  I hold to that today, and every day while I wait to bring her home.  There will be more tears today than on most as I long for her here, but I trust that God's timing is perfect.  More than that, I know that God has never left my treasure, and that He loves her more than I do.

In other news, our paperwork has moved on, and so have our payments.   We are so very grateful to have had our paperwork accepted at immigration this week as it means we are one piece of paper closer to getting our dossier to China.  It also means that our bank account is at zero, and we have more bills coming due when those papers are issued to us.  I am hoping this will be about 4-6 weeks from now.  Pray that God will provide through our fundraisers or some other means that I just can't see from this perspective.  It seems each time I organize a fundraiser, I am sure God will use it.  He certainly has always provided, but generally it is not at all the way I had planned.  I love that about this adventure as relying on God is our only choice.

Writing as one who is missing my baby girl today, and longing to hold her even more than most days.  Happy 2nd birthday my treasure.   This is the last birthday you will ever have without a momma!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Calling All Adoptive Families..Add Names..Order Shirts

ADOPTIVE FAMILIES .. 
As with our past adoptions, we are in need of names of adopted children that can be listed on the back of our current fundraising shirt.  We have designed a front logo that says adopt one more loved with 1 john 4:19 referenced on the back.  
This logo pictured will be on the front of the shirt, but we would like to list names of your adopted kiddos on the back as a testimony to the many one mores that are thriving in a loving family.  
(It will look something like this with your children's names listed.)
We featured more than one hundred names on our last t-shirt and it was such a testimony!  PLEASE EMAIL ME DIRECTLY AT,slmaster16@gmail.com, WITH YOUR CHILD(REN)'S FIRST AND MIDDLE NAME so that it can be included on our t-shirt list!  

The shirts are ready to preorder in gray, red, royal, or pink right now and make great gifts for Christmas.  We will take orders below for about three weeks.  It will take two weeks to print and ship them, and they will arrive in time to give for Christmas gifts in the beginning of December.

Order them through Paypal below.

Shirts are $20 shipped.
They are a unisex fit in a 50/50 blend of polyester and cotton.  They can be ordered in youth and adult sizes with the drop down menu.  When you push add to cart, you will be directed to paypal to pay through our account.
(You don't need a paypal account to order.) 


 









 






THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!  
Orders are closed.