Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Little Miss Gabriella Mei has been a part of our family for about 7 weeks now, 5 of those weeks here at home. While we couldn't have asked for a smoother, better transition, I wanted to share some of the highlights of this time and let you all know how our Gabbey-girl is doing so far.

Eating: Gabbey was not feeding herself or holding her own bottle at all when we received her. This is not uncommon for a child from an orphanage (picture the mess of 30 highchairs and 30 babies self-feeding three times a day!). For the first couple of weeks, she would just pick up food, look at it, then drop it. She also didn't let us know when she was hungry. If I was feeding her and turned to take care of Ethan, she never fussed to let me know she wanted more. She did seem to "eye" the food and lean towards it a bit (if you were watching closely, you would pick up on this body language), but she definitely didn't communicate her need for food well at all. After a couple of weeks, I did begin to notice that Gabbey will get VERY wiggly in my arms when she's hungry. It's as if she can't sit still at those times.

Anyway, she has come a long way in just a few short weeks! She is feeding herself crackers and little finger-foods----and LOVING it! (Don't try to take her food :)) We haven't tried to teach her to hold her own bottle yet, simply because it promotes bonding for Daddy or Momma to hold the bottle right now. But she will fuss a little when she wants another bite of food---or even get up on her knees in her highchair and reach for another bite herself! It's such a blessing watching these little changes and knowing she's learning and growing into our family.

Motor Skills: Gabbey is now clapping, waving bye-bye, giving kisses, hiding behind her hands (for peek-a-boo), grabbing our noses (for "beep-beep"), and saying Momma, Dada, and Baba (for bottle). She is discovering toys, pulling up more, and crawling EVERYWHERE. She can clean out a cabinet in a second, but can also be found playing with one particular toy for 20 minutes. Her attention span is great, but she's also extremely wiggly and active!

Bonding: This is probably the most important category for our sweet Gabbey, one she's doing pretty well in, I think. I'm sure I'll look back on this time in 6 months and realize how much more room there was for improvement, but for now, we're pleased with how things are going. We are holding her as much as possible every day, and she loves to be held. A few weeks ago, we realized she really resisted snuggling. She would drink a bottle and snuggle to sleep that way, but really resisted laying her head down on us. Both little arms would go stiff and she would push away from us if we attempted to snuggle with her. Brent and I have both worked alot with her on this the past few weeks. We would pick her up, say "lay your head down", then gently push her head onto our chest/shoulder. At first, she REALLY resisted, and even fussed quite a bit, but now she is willingly putting her head down on us, and she will fall asleep on us that way as well.

She wakes up sometimes in the middle of the night, or in the middle of a nap, and I will lay down on my bed with her on my chest and she LOVES this! She would sleep ALL the time like this, I know, but it's not always feasible for this busy Momma. But I do try to let her sleep on me some each day. Weird as it may sound (especially to those who have only had biological children), I can literally FEEL the bonding/closeness when she's laying on me, falling asleep and snuggling. It's a beautiful thing, really. I try to have her head against some exposed skin and she will "lick" me to fall asleep! I don't know how this self-soothing behaviour started, or why, but it is so sweet to have her lick me neck and fall asleep. Like I said, this may sound weird to some, but it's actually a healthy sign and we're so thankful for the baby steps we're seeing. (And when I say "lick", what I mean is that she lays her head down and her little tongue comes out and gently touches my skin. She's not using me for an ice-cream-cone! :))

She definitely has a preference for Momma, but loves her Daddy ALOT, too. He can't get enough of her, and I adore watching them love on each other. Eliana loves to take care of her, and it's actually surprised me how much Nathaniel wants to be involved (he's only 6). Just this morning, he changed her diaper by himself for the first time! Such a sweet helper. Noah and Ethan love on her as well. We're still working on Ethan not SITTING on her, but he'll learn eventually! :)

I pulled out of most of the music ministry at church (at which I'm usually quite busily involved in) in order to have time with Gabbey. Obviously it wouldn't be good for her to be left in the nursery right now. We make it through some of the services quietly, and other times I end up sitting in the nursery with her for the end of the service. It's probably a good thing, since it lets her get used to the room without being away from me. I am still doing Children's Choir on Sunday mornings----I just buckle on the Ergo and Gabbey comes with Momma! I love music and teaching little ones to sing about our Lord.

Brent and I went on a double date last week with some friends, and Gabbey came along as our "chaperone". She did great :) and we were happy to have her along!

All in all, things are going wonderfully. There are days that I feel like I'm not "getting it all done", and I'm probably not, but I'm trying to prioritize the things that MUST be done, and then the things that NEED to be done, and lastly the things I WANT to get done each day. So far, so good. Praise the Lord! I'm so thankful He burdened our hearts towards adoption and gave us our beautiful little girl. She is more than we ever hoped for and I just KNOW God has a special plan for her life!

I will close with some of the beautiful faces of our precious girl:


One of my favorite pictures of her!

So serious, and SO cute! :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I've been thinking and praying about starting a series highlighting some of the things I've learned/am learning about this season of my life:



----LOVING IT----

 I will be honest and say that I'm incredibly nervous to begin, simply because I KNOW I'm no expert, and I certainly don't want it to seem like I think I "know it all" with regards to parenting. I don't. But I do know that I adore my children, that I'm seeking to fully and completely embrace this beautiful, somewhat-fleeting season of my life that the Lord has placed me in. I don't want to forget the things I've found to be so very helpful during this time. I want to remember the details of daily life at this stage, so that someday, when a younger mother says "What did you do for such-and-such?" I'll actually REMEMBER what we did and be able to share and encourage her.

So, after much thought.....I've decided to stop laying awake at night, writing posts in my head, and just jump head-first into the water :)


is actually pretty simple (remember, I'm nervous to get too deep just yet! LOL), but oh-so-useful:

When you know you're going to be busy with something, occupy your children FIRST so as to not be frustrated at their childishness later.

Not earth-shattering, I know. But if you truly think about it, how many times have you gotten on the phone, sat down to work on paperwork, or gotten half-way through making dinner, just to find your little ones are either making huge messes in other parts of the house, or needing a constant referree due to ungodly play?

I've found that if I remember to PLAN AHEAD and get each little one involved in a task (think PROACTIVE PARENTING here!), my frustration level is sooo much lower, because I know what they're doing---and THEY know what they're supposed to be doing as well!

I thought it'd be fun to share some photos of this playing out in our home the other evening. It was the most difficult hour of many days---the hour before dinner was on the table! I let each child pick a special "activity" from our homeschool shelf, and had them STAY IN THEIR CHAIRS at the kitchen table while they "worked" and I cooked.

Happy, well-occupied children, happy Momma! (And a wonderful opportunity to work on obedience, if need be, since I did not allow them to get up and run off to something else.)

 Each child chose something to work on.....

Noah and Eliana, busy at work on puzzles....

What better to share in my first "parenting advise" post than a picture of my 21 month old POUTING. Momma told him to stop "eating the puzzle pieces" :) Then we dealt with the little attitude, lol.

Gabbey isn't old enough to "choose", so Momma put her in the play area (more on this idea in another post!) to play with her toys. I seriously can't get enough of her sweet smiles. Sigh.....

The end result of all of this? A hot dinner on the table when Daddy got home and a lovely family time!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


We are all adjusting well to life with a new "baby". Every time the Lord blesses us with another child, we share the joy of the journey with all of our children, gently guiding their hearts towards the blessings of the Lord and the preciousness of a new life. Our children were very prepared for Gabbey, and have welcomed her joyfully into our family. Ethan, however, has lost his "baby" status, and has probably had the hardest time adjusting. He LOVES his new sister, but doesn't always "get it". We expected this, and are working on it with him.

On that note, I thought I'd share this series of photos, which caught Ethan sharing his dinner with his new little sister:

"Psst: Gabbey! Come here! I've got something much better to eat than that baby food slop Momma and Daddy have been feeding you!"

"PIZZA! Try it, it's yummy!"

Momma: "Ethan, what are you doing?"  To which he responded with this cheesy smile.....what can I say? They both melt my heart....

Almond Scones

Last week I found Lemon and Rasberry Curd on clearance at Kroger.......which promptly put me in the mood to make some yummy scones! I found a basic recipe, tweaked it a bit, and the result? DELICIOUS. I've made these twice already, and my little ones love them as much as I do. They call it "having CAKE for breakfast"!


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons salted butter, COLD

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large egg

a couple of teaspoons of sugar, for sprinkling on top
Pulse together the dry ingredients in a food processor. Add cold butter (cut in pieces) and pulse until coarse and crumbly. Add wet ingredients and pulse until it starts to form a ball. 
Remove from the food processor and form into a ball on a floured surface. Gently flatten it a bit, then transfer to a lightly floured cookie sheet. Roll (using a rolling pin) into a circle about 3/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle with sugar, cut into 8 slices, then bake in a 400' oven for 15 minutes. While the scones are still warm, use a spatula to "recut" your slices.
Serve with your favorite topping--we prefer Lemon Curd and Cream, as pictured above. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


There were some great guesses for the green-gloopy-mess that burnt onto my flat-top stove recently, but no one got it right. Not surprising when you find out what it was: A DIAPER. Yes, a baby diaper. How in the world did I get a diaper burnt onto my stove, you ask?

I was cooking dinner one evening last week, and smelled a terrible, horrible familiar smell: baby poop. Hmm, I wondered which baby was the culprit. Asked one of the kiddos to sniff some little bottoms. (I was cooking, after all!) We discovered it was Ethan, so I sent Nathaniel to get a diaper out of my room. "Yes, Ma'am" and he was off running *this boy doesn't do anything slowly :)*. He ran back into the kitchen with lightening speed and promptly THREW THE DIAPER AT ME. Which of course, I didn't catch, since I had NO idea he was going to throw it at me! I had just moved our dinner off a hot burner, and the diaper landed right on the "hot spot". And immediately started TO MELT. I didn't want to get burned, so I removed the diaper and left the rest of the mess until after dinner. At which time I discovered an interesting fact: burnt-on-diaper-goop, when allowed to cool, is AS HARD AS A ROCK!

Don't believe everything you hear about those leak-proof diapers. They may be guarranteed to hold 14 gallons of pee, but they don't hold up for even a SECOND on a hot stove top.  :) Ask me how I know, lol...