Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When It Rains..

When it rains for like forty straight days and nights..
(and you have a kid who REALLY needs to get outside)
 you just put on old clothes,
 head to the park,
 and let them play!
Mei is not a fan of the mess, but Jillian LOVES it!
Rain, Rain, Go Away PLEASE!
We really need to get outside.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dear Anna Mei

Dear Anna Mei,
It is so easy to forget, when your days look so normal, all that you have been through.  It is in the dark during the night that you remember.  You must be flooded with emotion and memories, sweet girl, as you try to rest because sleep in the last weeks is not easy for you.  Last night, you cried in your sleep for nearly an hour while momma rubbed your back and kissed those sweet chubby cheeks, but nothing consoled you.  The feelings just had to pass and after they did you entered back into a peaceful rest.  How I wish I could take this from you, but I know that God is working in your heart and will use all the circumstances of your life to make you  into the women that He desires for you to be.  Just last night, Daddy and I were marveling at all that you are.  You truly are the most outgoing treasure we have and enjoy very much engaging people everywhere we go.  At the graduation party last night, you sat at a table of strangers and charmed them from the comfort of my lap.  You have an infectious smile and a laugh that makes even the harshest heart soften.  You know what you want and expect to get it.  You grab hold of life and just desire to enjoy every bit of it.  I love your cheeks and the way your eyes disappear when you smile.  I love that you insist on wearing shoes at all times, how you love being in the kitchen with me, how you move your little wrists and flap your arms when you dance, and the way you are constantly shadowing me mimicking everything I do.  I love the way that you say UPPP.. with your arms raised hundreds of times a day because you want me to hold you.  I love the way your roll your "or" sound when you say more.  I love the way you snuggle into my chest when you first wake up and the way you mix all your food together like a chemist doing research for some important experiment each time you have a meal.  I love that I get to be your momma.  This adventure of parenting you is only just beginning and we are learning so much about each other everyday.   I know that you will continue to grow and that one day you may not even remember China except for the things that I will tell you, but for now it is real to you and you are sad.  I know sweet girl.  I know and I will comfort you, hold you, and love you through this while I pray for God's comfort and will as He works to repair your heart and make a new start for you with us.  I love you dear baby.  I am grateful to Him for making you mine.
All my love, 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Goodbye Tree

 We lost  a couple hundred year old tree from the side yard the other night.  We didn't even hear it fall as not one of us woke up, but it destroyed everything in the backyard.  The wooden swing set, little tykes slide, several sections of our vinyl fence, and rocking fish are history.  They were smashed in a thousand little pieces.  The hole the tree left when it landed is gigantic.  It was a huge old tree.  About 5:15 AM, I went out to put some mail in the mail box and was met with the site of this huge tree laying across the back of the yard.  I was quite surprised.  The girls are upset that their swing set is in lots of pieces and no longer functional and I have to admit that I am a bit bummed too at the mess as our backyard is one of our favorite hang outs, but no one was hurt and the tree clean up provided hours of fun entertainment.  It took the tree company about 15 hours to tackle this gigantic task.  That means there was a lot of looking out the window while standing on this stool for those two days.  It also means Daddy will be building another swing set.  Thanking God for his protection of our home and my big girl who sleeps at the corner of the house closest to the wall where the tree fell.  If it had fallen on the house, it would have been very likely that she would have been hurt. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I know it's been said.
Hundreds of times I have read it.
I have even said it dozens myself,
but really..
How did we get to this place?
It was Em's 8th grade graduation on Thursday.
 It truly was just yesterday that she was emptying out the tupperware in her cabinet the way Anna Mei does.
 My heart I love this girl who was the first to make me a momma.
 She is growing up way too fast.
 She is blessed to attend a great christian school and have amazing wonderful friends.  We are grateful for these spectacular young ladies and their incredible character.
 It won't be long and she will be handed her high school diploma.  In fact, the other day Daddy was sharing that the college he visited that particular day would be a great fit for our girl.  I told him to be quiet as I could not think of this baby leaving the nest.  Though I know all to well that soon she must.
 Anna Mei had to attend as it is too soon to leave her.  She was a patient girl as long as she had her goldfish crackers.  What a beautiful night to celebrate our oldest treasure.  We are proud of her and pray God continues to develop her for His purposes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Special Freckle

One of the things I love about bringing home a new child is getting to know them.
 I love beginning to understand who they are, what makes them laugh, how they like to fall asleep, and so much more.  Even after having my Jillian home two years, there are still new things I find out about her as we walk alongside each other in this life.
I feel like this is one of adoption's many gifts.  The adventure of building a relationship with a little one whom God has made your daughter though you have no fleshly connection is just beautiful.
 My babies are beginning to enjoy doing so much together.  They have even begun to bathe together each night.  It is so much fun hearing them splashing and playing in the tub together.  The other night I noticed this..
 (see that little freckle on the left side of Mei's chest)
on Anna's chest.
There are no other marks or freckles anywhere near this one.  A freckle alone is not something to make you stop and praise God,  but the fact that Jillian has the exact same freckle-in the exact same spot on the left side of her chest
that is something that makes you stop for a minute!  These two, who have no biological connection, have the same mark in exactly the same spot.
Sean said..Of Course they do.  They are sisters!
They are sisters and it is so neat that God has given them this common mark.  As they grow, it will be a reminder that God has marked each of them with this special freckle as a reminder that they are made for each other, perfectly placed by Him in our family.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Em's Baptism

Today my big girl was baptized by her Daddy.
My heart is full of JOY
sad that these moments with her as a girl are flying by so quickly.
 I know it will seem like a blink of an eye and these two will be all grown up too.
Until then, I will enjoy every minute.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mei Mei Gets Through To Jillian

 Mei Mei has inspired our Jillian to do much already.  
Jillian has never ridden in a stroller.
Strollers evoked terror in her.
(Along with shopping carts and other things she might have to ride in.)
 I'm not sure why.  I will probably never know, but since Mei Mei has been riding in this stroller in the living room being pushed by Daddy and it seemed so fun -Jillian got in!!  Not only did Jillian get in the stroller, but she also let her little sis push her... 
Daily, I marvel at all these two are for each other.
After Jillian gets out, it is her turn to push Anna Mei.
Jillian can get going pretty fast and Anna LOVES it!
Nightly, we can be found pushing this stroller around the circle that is our living room 
having the time of our lives together. It is a good kind of crazy around here.

Just yesterday, Jillian also got back on her swing too after seeing Anna on it.
Swinging is a needed activity for Jillian, but until recently she seemed afraid to do it.
We haven't been able to get her to swing in months.
She has gotten on her indoor swing several times with Anna Mei in the last few days.

And she even spent about 30 minutes letting me push her on the real swing at the park!!
She has never gotten on a big swing-only this platform type, but there she was sitting on the swing next to her sister in the baby swing beaming with JOY!  I couldn't believe it!  I have to admit I shed a tear right there in the park.  Being witness to so much and seeing God's sovereignty first hand as I witness how perfect these two are for each other is a beautiful thing.  How I love them.

On a personal note, I just keeping thinking about how hesitant I was to add another with all of Jillian's special needs.  I keep thinking about how resistant I had been to say yes again.  My our lives are richer because I trusted the Lord and added another treasure in spite of my fear.  Not only that, but Jillian is benefiting so much from having this little girl to call sister.  I really could have missed this!  I am so thankful for all that God continues to teach me about trust and obedience through both of my girls!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More About Our Newest Little Lady

She loves her some accessories.
She can be found in her closet digging through her shoes, hair bows, and hats most evenings looking for just the right ones to wear around the house with her pajamas.
She loves to be the center of the world.
She doesn't like to get too far away from Momma and still loves to be carried in the Ergo around the house.
(We were given this little ride on toy as a hand me down. It is her favorite.  She loves the phone!)
She loves to play.
She doesn't love to get too messy.
She loves to be out and watch people.
She's never met a carb she doesn't love to eat.
She is a parrot and says everything we say.
She can say momma, daddy, sissy, Jillian, Emily, water, and Amen.
She is madly jealous when momma loves her big sister too long.
She likes to sleep with a taggy blankie.
We are learning more about each other everyday and it is so much fun.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Full Lap and Even Fuller Heart

These sweet babes amaze me.  They kiss.  They play, hold hands, and hit each other.  This sisterhood is forming much quicker than I ever dreamed.  My sweet big girl, Jillian, is doing so well.  I just keep thinking of those words told to us on our adoption day by the official who said she would never learn much.  My is she our miracle.  Her sister was so tired yesterday and Jillian walked up to us rocking in this chair, patted her back tenderly, and handed me Mei Mei's bottle.  I could just bawl.  She is so bright my big girl.  She is so caring and such a beauty.  She is blossoming right before my eyes and I am grateful to God that it is my lap she is sitting on.  How I love and am amazed at all that God has done in Jillian's life.  She is one special treasure!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Mother's Day..

I walked downstairs yesterday to see my man surrounded by our babes on the couch.  I wish I had a photo of that moment, but it is one that will have to be remembered in my heart because the moment passed way too quickly to grab the camera.  He had them in his arms one on each side and I came up and wrote this..

Today my heart is full because dear friends seeing this Godly man, my love, my best friend surrounded on the couch by two Chinese babies that are ours is just more than my heart can stand!  Nearly six years ago, God planted a seed in my heart.  He gave me the dream of a Chinese daughter.  I never thought it would come true and I never truly thought that I wanted it as badly as I did.  Seeing these precious girls here and being able to call them daughter is a reminder of how faithful God is.  It is a reminder of how good and perfect His plans always are and how perfect His timing is in my life.  Six years ago my heart began to fall in love with the Chinese face and heart is full of love for these two special faces that have clearly been brought to us by God.  The goodness of it all is simply too much for me to take in most days.  How blessed, how amazing, and how loved I am by a God who created me, gave me the desire to call these Chinese babes mine, and led me to them to fulfill His promise through me to care for the orphan.  On this Mother's Day I couldn't ask for more, but because God is the God of abundant life and blessings I might just squeak out a small prayer to Him asking if He might see fit to send me to China again because how could I not want more.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

To My Jillian

Dearest Jillian,
I wish I could somehow put into words what it is like for me to watch you with your new sister.  I wish I could capture all the joy that I felt on this page when I saw you jump into the ball pit for the first time next to her and play.  We have been working to get you over your fear of the ball pit for months and now, because of Anna Mei, you are in and loving it!  I wish I could tell you adequately what it was like to see you hold Mei Mei's hand for the first time or how I felt to have the two of you on my lap reading your favorite book, but I can't because I simply don't have the words.  You are my miracle.  A survivor.  God has allowed you to experience more healing than I could have ever hoped for when I held you the first time. Watching you this past week with your new sister brings me to my knees.  His plan for you is just so good and being a part of watching it unfold..being able to call you mine is simply still beyond all that I could have ever imagined for my life.  Though you can't speak and are sometimes trapped deep inside yourself..this week I have seen moments of intense love for a little girl whom you have only known for about seven days.  I never imagined when I was first given you, and then handed this autism diagnosis, that you would feel so deeply, that you would love so intensely, and that you would shepherd me into the presence of God again and again.  I am so thankful for who you are and all that you continue to teach me.  I love you and cherish you my dear, baby girl.  Thank you for enlarging my heart so that my eyes would continue to be open to all that God has in store for our family.  Parenting you is such an adventure and I love every minute (even when you spray me with the water hose).

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Biggest Girl

This teenager of mine is growing up right before my eyes.  In four short years, I will be walking her to the door and leading her out into a life of her own.  I don't know where the time has gone or how it could be over so quickly, but I am grateful to God for the time He has given me to shepherd her heart and all that He has taught me about being a momma through parenting her.  She is a treasure.  A treasure who is quiet and reserved.  One who is not terribly emotional and enjoys memorizing, rational thinking, and staying in the black and white as far away from the gray as possible.  She was an only child for nearly 12 years.  My has her world changed in the last two years.  She has handled it with grace and God has enlarged her heart every step of the way.  I didn't want more than her as I planned out our family.  An only child was my plan all along and so this new, bigger family-that was always God's plan for us-is a wonderful and unexpected surprise for all of us.  She is a wonderful big sister and I love thinking about how God will use all the experiences that we have had with our newest treasures to shape her into the woman He desires her to be.  I can't wait to see how God will use this in her and where He will take her in the years to come.  She is one special young woman and I am grateful to God that He has allowed her to be a big sister.  Anna is already demanding Emily's attention and calling out for her sissy throughout the day.  Emily is answering her call even if it means forfeiting her breakfast.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cereal Sensory Bin

They are holding hands.
 One of Jillian's feeding goals that we constantly work on is to get her to accept crunchy textures.  At first, she wouldn't even touch crunchy foods.  She would refuse to even pick them up let alone eat them.  She wouldn't touch crackers, cereal, cookies..nothing a "typical" kid usually lives on.  So we have been "playing" with these textures in feeding therapy for a long while now.  We are working to desensitize her to touching these things in hopes that she might actually eat them some day.  Enter Mei Mei.  Anna Mei loves crunchy food. (To be exact,  she loves most all food).  She can be seen with cereal in hand playing throughout most of the day.  So it seemed natural to create a sensory bin with cheerios where the girls could scoop, eat (for Anna), and play together.  I threw the cereal out there, in living room none the less, and it was a great time for all.  Truly I would have NEVER done this in my younger days.  My expectations to keep a neat and tidy house would have trumped my spirit calling for some fun, but now a days..I am embracing the fun in life with my girls.  We made a HUGE mess, but we interacted together, touched some cereal, and made some memories.  Isn't that what life is all about after all?  Crouching down next to my children, laughing, playing, and making memories is my main objective these days.  Many days that means letting go of all that used to be important to me..deadlines, agendas, tv viewing, and the like, but these things are over rated and nothing makes me happier than picking crushed cereal out of the carpet after thirty minutes of purposeful play.  I LOVE this life.  I LOVE my girls.  I LOVE that God has given me this new perspective and this purpose.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

She's Lost Everything

Mei Mei is doing so well that it is easy to forget just how much she has lost in the last two weeks so that she might gain a family.  Adoption is born out of loss and grieving is to be expected.  My baby girl has only known living in her orphanage in China and while I know living here is best for her-and God's plan-she just knows she is missing the life she knew.  We had Chinese food for the first time this week and my word was my little girl happy to see it.  She was sitting on the counter in the kitchen next to me as I was working to serve up the lunch trays for her and Jillian.  She saw me take the containers out of the bag and open them up and her face erupted with a gigantic smile.  She ate five dumplings, the Chinese vegetables, rice, beef with mushrooms, and was a happy camper.  I have tried to serve her noodles and rice regularly, but I'm no Chinese cook.  This was the real stuff to her and it tasted like home.  It made her a very. happy. girl.  This made it apparent to me that we will be frequenting the little Chinese restaurant down the street often in the months to come because I want my girl to be happy.  I want her to know that I understand how much she misses her life and to know that I am willing to work hard so that she doesn't loose all of the things that she remembers, and loves, about her culture.

Friday, May 3, 2013

For the Love of the Swing (And Random Cuteness)

There isn't much this little lady doesn't LOVE about life.
 She is a willing participant in most all the activities we do.
She loved the swing,
 picking flowers,
 climbing and going down the slide,
doing laundry and trying on momma's socks,
and she even loved her first car ride on Wednesday.
She is pretty stinkin' easy this kid.
In fact, she is so easy that sometimes I expect too much of her.
It is easy to forget all the trauma she has been through
 in the last two years and not focus enough on taking it slow and bonding.
So, I am working to find a balance and do what is best for her.
Being her momma is just so much fun.
We are off to school for a half hour with Jillian today.
I will keep Anna Mei in the office with me while we wait for Jill to finish.
We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Becoming Sisters

For those of you who don't know our Jillian's story, she is a very special little treasure.  She was 15 pounds at 27 months when she was birthed into our arms.  She was completely lifeless, dehydrated, shut down, and empty.  She was never fed solid food and we suspect that she spent most of her days alone in a crib.  She couldn't walk, didn't respond to language, didn't interact with us, and had a cognitive score of 6 months when she was first tested.  We have had our miracle baby girl home with us for two years and the change in her has been nothing short of miraculous.  She is still nonverbal, communicating with sign language, but understands everything we say to her and loves her family!  She has an autism diagnosis and is a unique little creature created by God in His image.

Many have asked how she is doing adjusting to a new sister because they know her story.
And let me tell you, God is faithful because these two beauties are perfect for each other.
His plan has been for these two to be sisters all along and it is beautiful watching it happen.
Each one has their moments, but by and large they are doing very well together.

 This little sweetie does everything her big sister does even when she is too little to accomplish it well.
She can be quite jealous if momma is giving too much attention to Jillian.
She also always likes to have her way.
(in true 2 year old fashion)
 Jillian is already interacting with Anna too.
She enjoys watching her eat at the table when they are sitting together.
 They seem to understand that they belong together.
Anna does tend to get frustrated some times when Jillian takes so long to answer momma.
I think in the future, Mei Mei will be one who will answer for Jillian and do things for her rather than wait for her to think it out and answer.
The hardest thing about Anna Mei for Jillian is that she cries.
Crying makes Jillian very anxious and it upsets her when she hears Anna fuss.
Jillian will instantly give Anna any toy she wants even if Jill is playing with it to avoid the crying.
When Anna Mei is fussing, Jillian will come up to her and sign stop please.
 The most common interactions are ones like this.
They share toys or objects with one another very well.
They enjoy being in the bean bin together and sitting near each other parallel playing.
Jillian isn't comfortable enough to play her games with Mei yet.
I tried to get her to let Anna Mei swing her doll with her, but Jill wouldn't have it yet.
She only wanted momma to play.
 Over time, I know this relationship will be good for both of my beauties.
I am in awe of God's plan for each of them.
 I am thrilled to watch as they fall in love with each other.
And for the biggest sis..
 Em is very involved with Anna Mei already.
She is carrying her and playing with her.
This is a bit miraculous for my biggest girl as she is very reserved, but Anna doesn't let anyone in her life just sit back and ignore her so big sissy has no choice.  I am grateful God has given me such a special teenager who understands my heart for the orphan and willingly shares her momma so more can be home.  She is so helpful and God is shaping and molding her heart as we live out James 1:27.

(Now if this momma could just sleep past 4:00 in morning this life would be near perfect.  Jet lag is not my friend, but at least Anna Mei seems to be turning a corner.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Her First Swim

It was warm enough yesterday that we could get out the water table and bins.
Jillian was over the moon excited to see her dear friend the water hose.
How she LOVES water play!
We got a little alone time while Anna napped.
 Climbing and water..a perfect combination.

 And then Anna Mei came out to enjoy the fun!
 She looks adorable in this little set Miss Julie sent her.
 And this wide brim hat protected her head from the 
cups of water dumped over her by her adoring big sis.
I think many of our summer afternoons will be spent this way.
We will have our big sissy home then too.
I can't wait!
Only one more really nice, hot day so we plan on enjoying it.