Buckets of anything in reach are not safe from dumping when this girl is around.
She was so thrilled to discover the foam bin of letters left out that her sister was working with. Anna Mei set in on her seat which is well accessible when she pulls up to it...
N never tasted so good.
She looks pretty proud of her accomplishment. Wouldn't you say?
Isn't she just adorable? Jillian looks so grown up in her glasses and is doing great with them. I am so thankful for our great doctors at the U who worked so hard to get an accurate testing method for our special treasure.
As a former track coach and runner, I am pleased to announce
that my Molly ran five (YES THAT IS FIVE) laps at the red black track attack at her school last week. It was ninety degrees and she looked like a hot mess when she came home, but she was so very proud of herself.
I was told she was a machine. I honestly just said to Sean that she would be my runner. Her legs are pure muscle, and she is our best natural athlete. Watch out track world..there is new girl in town.
Last week, this girl spent 90 minutes in an audiology appointment at the U. In fact, she is spending 90 minutes every other week. We had to wait about twenty minutes without her aids as they were checked and tuned up. She kept pointing to her ears and asking "my ears". When her aids were reprogrammed and given back to her, I popped them in while we were in the lobby and she declared..I HEAR! There wasn't a dry eye in the house. This sweet, tiny, little peanut has a way of capturing the hearts of all those around her. We are spending so much time in the audiology booth because it seems that our Molly is loosing ground as far as her hearing goes. If the audiograms from the summer are correct, her hearing is going pretty fast. I have to admit...I am crushed that she might loose the little hearing she has, and I am perplexed by the test results because it seems that she is actually hearing more environmental sounds lately than before. This girl is complicated that is for sure, and we just aren't sure what is going on. Her ABR results when her loss was diagnosed was all over the place and quite unusual. We don't exactly know what is causing her loss, and she seems to have both sensory neural and conductive components. We haven't yet found a genetic component, and no one has ordered a CT scan to check for missing bones. Missing bones is a good guess since our dear girl is missing bones in her arm, but it is just a guess. So we are throwing out new diagnosis, doing lots more testing, and scratching our heads. Might she loose all her hearing..I hope not. Might she benefit from an implant..maybe. Might she have auditory neuropathy..maybe. There are so many unknowns right now, and so this momma prays. I might worry a teensy bit too, but mostly I am doing my best to leave this at the foot of the cross as I know that God has been mighty in my little peanut's life so far so I trust Him with her. I want her to keep her hearing with aids, develop intelligible language, and live a life that shines brightly for our beloved Savior so that is what I am praying for her. We would certainly appreciate your prayers as we explore this over the next few months. We have a couple of doctor's appointments and I am hoping someone will be willing to dig deeper biologically to see if we can find anything.
Jillian has turned into quite the diva this school year requesting that her nails be painted everyday. Who would have ever dreamed? Of course, she is also always, always in the mud so having painted nails over the mud that is permanently there is such a funny contradiction, but I love that she is getting such a personality! I went by the bathroom the other night, and saw her Daddy lovingly removing her polish.
This daddy, that we are so lucky to have, is such a servant. A daddy crouching down to lovingly removal "old polish" (as Jillian signs it) so that he could paint her new on is something that I wish every little girl could experience.
Watching our daughter, once orphaned, now lovingly cared for by a Godly man who claims her as his own makes my heart overflow. I often tear up as I watch my man so wholeheartedly loving our babies. When I speak, women often ask me how I get my husband to agree to all of us. Truly, he is one special man.
I understand how blessed we are to be loved on this earth by a man who prays for us, serves us, and loves us like Christ loved the church, and I pray as they grow old my babies will understand too. For now, this smile says it all. This beautiful smile from our beautiful daughter who is secure, and loved beyond measure by a earthly daddy, and a heavenly father, more than she will ever grasp. Grateful this morning for the blessing this man is at the head of our family.
I love to cook. Making a meal for my family to share is one of the highlights of my day. I love it even more when I have a little help from my favorite little girls.
It thrills me when this girl helps, and lately she doesn't leave the kitchen as all she wants to do is help me make everything. How I dreamed she would get to this place all those hard, hard months when she was so locked in her own world. This summer was the first without summer school, and we just saw her blossom here at home because we had so much time with her. She even got very good at the unloading the dishwasher...
In fact, she loves unloading the dishwasher, and won't let anyone else help. I love watching her as she knows where all the dishes go. She is a smart, smart little peanut and being her momma is such a JOY!
When Daddy found this experiment to illustrate Colossians 2 to use at Youth Group last week, he wanted to try it out with the little girls first.
They were thrilled to help Daddy of course.
Just look at my Jilly! She is so engaged, so connected, and smiling at the camera. In the beginning there were many dark days that I never could have dreamed this was possible. All the more reason to praise God!
My Anna Mei is obsessed with Jesus right now. It is a beautiful thing, and I pray she keeps Him at the head of her life all her days. She loves having "preaching meetings" where she shares the gospel with her sisters. Last week, she drew pictures of Jesus and wrote sentences about his dying on the cross to save the lost. She took the pictures to the beach and hung them up in the restroom for all to see. She loves Him with her whole heart so she was anxious to explain the illustration to us....
My days are so busy, but I love this life! It is full of so much that makes each moment so much richer and more abundant than I could have ever imagined! I am just so very thankful!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.