Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Friday, April 29, 2016

Five Years Home

Five Years Home..just typing that almost takes my breath away.  When I boarded that plane more than five years ago, I had no way of knowing where this journey would lead me.  This road has been bumpy, treacherous, and unpredictable to say the least, but the scenery that God has allowed us to take in along the way is so very beautiful.  This girl of mine is such a tremendous blessing, and, though this journey is nothing like the one I imagined when I began, I wouldn't trade this last five years for anything this world has to offer.  I can hardly talk about this girl without being reduced to a weepy mess because she does something to me.  God has used her in mighty, gigantic ways in my life.  She has changed my heart, turned my world upside down for the better, and I love her to the moon and back.
I know the images mostly look the same, but I waited so long to see this smile, that is now present most of the time, and I couldn't resist posting them all.

 Here she is eating her second brownie all mashed up with chocolate syrup on her fifth gotcha day, and bringing this momma such tremendous joy!
Her baby sister was using a straw to blow bubbles next to her in her drink.  Jilly signed for a cup and straw then put that straw in her mouth and blew!  Miracles never cease around here!  I would have never dreamed she would come so far five years ago, but here she is taking on the world.

Five years down and a lifetime to go!  We are so very blessed to be your forever family Jilly!  We love you with all our hearts sweet, sweet one!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Slimed On Her Gotcha Day

On her gotcha day, this little lady requested a sand table full of rainbow slime.
So, I bought a gallon of glue, got out the borax, glitter, and food coloring, 
and made a huge batch of different colored slime.
She didn't keep it all to herself,
but was happiest when she was submerged.
Blessed by these very simple, yet JOYFUL moments when love and laughter reign in our home.
This place would be so dull without our littles to keep things slimy.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Three Years Home

Last week, we celebrated three years with this incredible, spunky girl.
She is a strong leader, and has a larger than life personality.
She loves her family, and she loves being in charge which can be troublesome at times.
She requested a tie dye cake which I was happy to provide for her.  We watched video, looked at photographs, talked about the day that she was born into our family, and celebrated her.  She loves a day that she is the center of attention so it didn't surprise me when she asked if adults still get to have "gotcha days".  How I have grown to absolutely adore this daughter of mine.  She is smart, strong, and determined.  She has deep theological musings one minute, and the next is saying something completely silly like radical marshmallows.  Five is a divine age, and God continues to amaze me with this child.  She is truly something special.  I am beyond grateful that my arms are the ones tucking her in each night and that I get the privilege of being her forever momma.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Her First Hunt

 Shriner's had a free Easter party for the hospital patients.  Attending these events is always fun for the girls as they have lots of kid activities, but it is also a chance to meet families in our area who have children with special needs.  One thing that continually burdens my heart is that many families walk this special needs road without a great deal of support.  I am so blessed that God has equipped me so well for this parenting journey as teaching special education for 13 years before being given our Jilly has helped me navigate the special needs world so much.  Therapies, hospitals, treatments, and the financial burden can be so overwhelming.  I love just getting a chance to connect with other families, and I have been praying so much about how God might use all my experiences to help others outside our family so we always go to fellowship when we get the chance.  Just spending a few hours a few times a month with these children, who are patients, and their families has been such a blessing.
 Molly was a rock star as always.  She loves everything.  Literally, she is the most secure, happiest little thing that ever walked the halls here at our house.  She is a huge blessing!
 This sweet miss is starting to thank her little sisters for their unique needs as we often get to enjoy things because of their groups.  She is along for the ride, and learning about the uniqueness of others along the way.  Many days I wish I could see into her future because I can't wait to see what God does with this passionate one of mine.
 Jilly was incredible.  It was another day that I sobbed the entire way home with the girls in the backseat because I never, never dreamed in that first year home that she would be able to sit in a strange room full of noise, activity, and chaos while coloring calmly.  She really enjoyed the party.
 They have lots of clowns who always make balloon creations at each event.  The girls enjoy that so much.
 By far, the candy was this little one's favorite.  Daddy was trying to limit their intake, but I just let them eat. :)  She enjoyed filling her basket with eggs.  She got right in there grabbing them from the left and right.  She had a good haul.
 Anna Mei loves stuff so she was good at grabbing too.
Though this girl still can't chew, she still grabbed up some eggs and put them in the basket.  This is the first year that she was actually excited to participate in the egg hunt.  I even sent some eggs to school for them to use because grabbing those eggs was so motivating.  It was a wonderful family day.  Spending time in our community with lots of different people is something that I think is so important.  It opens the door to talk to the girls about so many things that the world values, bring it back to God's word, and love on others who we would not normally meet.  I am so thankful for the resources available to us here, and give thanks for the many that we are able to meet because we have these special little ladies in our lives.  God is good!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sensory Play..Egg Dye

So, it's no secret I am a huge fan of messy sensory play.  I think that it does wonders for stimulating all those places in the brain that sat so idle for my babes from hard places while they were institutionalized.  I love, love watching them exploring and seeing the light bulbs in their eyes shine bright.  I waited so long to see these little eyes come alive as I waited to bring them home that I often let go of all the reasons we shouldn't be making a big sensory mess and just try to capture their joy.  The weather has been so beautiful and dying eggs was so much fun.  It was the kind of fun that makes you wish these moments of being little could just last forever...

 Anna Mei is like a little professor when I set out the messy play table.  She has method to her messy madness and always comes away with profound observations.

 Molly never lacks enthusiasm.  Her spirit is just darling.  She is always, always happy.

Jillian is always thrilled to see messy sensory play when liquid is involved.  She loves, loves water play.  Adding the dye, adds to her joy!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How Do I Even Begin to Explain?

 The other night I got a delicious looking brownie recipe on an email feed.  I was anxious to try it. So like I have done a million times, I collected the ingredients, utensils, and the girls to get started.  This batch would be extra special because my miraculous seven year old treasure joined in.
 How do I even begin to explain how special these moments are for us?  How could I ever convey what it is like watching her participating in something so seemingly simply that, for her, is so extraordinary?  She stirred.  She mixed.
She even put her finger in the batter, and then licked it to taste it.  I wish I could come up with something to say that would help you feel what it was like to be gathered around the island in our small kitchen with the rest of us watching her.  I wish you could feel what her Daddy and I do as we see her licking her finger.  Licking a finger is such a simple, childhood act, but one that is so amazing when done by this special, special girl.  As I watched her participating with the support of her loving Daddy, I teared up, because having such a special treasure was never a part of my plan.  Yet, having the small part that I do in watching her take on the world is one of the greatest blessings of my life.

When she got out of the bath after they had baked and said she wanted to eat one, I was over the moon.  At seven years old, she ate her first brownie.  These moments are the ones that are etched on my heart.  These are the things I want to remember and treasure as I go about my life.  How I absolutely love and adore this very special little girl just eating her brownie while her mother sobs over her accomplishment.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Her Art Show...

 This week we attended another miraculous milestone in the life of this amazing little girl that we are so very blessed to call our daughter.  Our entire family packed into our van and headed to her elementary school where we were able to attend her first art show.  This is amazing and miraculous on so many levels.  When she first came to me, she wouldn't even hold a crayon or make a mark with it for well over a year.  The sensory of art was just way, way too much for her.  She hated it!  Even last year at school, she didn't attend art because getting her to participate was so challenging.  Now look at her holding her treasures and smiling.  
She gets lots of support from her one on one during her art time, and she is participating this year.  Many, many times, we even get notes that she enjoyed it.  Watching this babe take on life is one of the most rewarding things God has ever allowed me to experience.  We are so very proud of this girl of ours!