Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Blog

Messing around with the layout of my blog a bit.

Trying out a new header, one that I think will work until we get a new family picture (a monumental feat these days! :))

Wondering if anyone knows how to categorize my posts and label them? I haven't got a clue how to do this.

I'd like to start a series and have several topics in mind. If you have a second (and an opinion) would you let me know which series interests you the most?

Attaching with toddler adoption/Attaching with teen adoption/Why International Adoption/How to start the process for international adoption/Disciplining Toddlers

Thanks and good-night all! :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just Some Lyssie Sweetness

Brent took me to P. F. Changs for dinner Friday night, in celebration of my birthday. We took Alyssia along and had some wonderful time with each other AND her :)

Here's a glimpse of our little dinner companion:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Birthday

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday.

 I must admit, I do love birthdays, especially my own :)

This year was extra-special, for a myriad of reasons. The biggest one? The fact that all three of our three Chinese blessings were here to share it with me.

Last year at this time, we were anxiously waiting to travel for Gabbey.

And this year, not only was Gabbey sitting next to me at my party, but two more sweet China-girls have since joined her!

My oldest two girls (Johanna, 14, and Eliana, 9) were just precious about Mommy's birthday.

First, they bought a cake mix, icing, candles, and two birthday cards while I was grocery shopping (they had permission to surprise me).

Then they made the cake, iced it, and cleaned up the mess, with only a little help from Daddy, and ZERO help from me! Eliana covered the cake with foil and I was forbidden to take even a PEEK before my birthday party. :)

Here's the proud cake-bakers:

The morning of my birthday, Johanna, Eliana, and Nathaniel told me to "sit down and read a book or the computer" because they were going to do all of "my" jobs for me since it was my birthday. The three of them whirled around like a tornado, going from room to room, vacuuming, straightening, cleaning, sweeping, mopping, etc. I kept trying to "help" and kept being told quite sternly to "SIT DOWN, MOMMY!" :)

We ate dinner as a family and then came the time for cake and gifts. Each of the older four children had purchased a gift for me-with their own money-and the look on their faces when I opened "their" gift was an adorable mixture of pride and excitement.

Eliana got me a coffee mug that says "FAMILY" on it. Johanna picked out a purple butterfly notebook with a matching pen. Nathaniel went for a little floral globe that has sparklies in it when you shake it, and Noah, sweet-four-year-old Noah......

He got me a box of candy. :) Brent told me that when Noah was picking out my candy, he wanted to know if Daddy thought Mommy would share with him?

I also received some new pj's from Brent :) He's taking me out to dinner on Friday, our first "date" (outside of our living room, lol) in several months. Of course, little Lyssie is going to chaperone us and keep us in line :)

Johanna, Eliana, and Nathaniel gave me beautiful cards. I was especially touched by the inside of Eliana's card. She wrote a list of "10 Whole Things About My Mother".....

1. sweet
2. kind
3. thankful
4. loving
5. caring
6. giving
7. sharing
8. care for us when we're sick
9. work when you're sick
10.protecting (spelled perchecking :))

Seriously. Does it get any more special than this?

I wouldn't have traded my birthday--complete with a little "box" cake and dollar store gifts for ANYTHING this year.

My children are starting to show the fruit of countless hours of repeating myself over and over teaching, training, disciplining and discipling.

And I am indeed blessed.

We put the children to bed (except for Lyssie, who we sometimes let stay up later so we can snuggle with her) and I picked her up and sat down in my rocker.

For the first time EVER, she laid her little head down on my shoulder and let me rock her to sleep.

 So, yes, I think that my 33rd birthday was my Very. Best. Birthday. Ever.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Three Peas in a Pod....

We have three 2 year olds in our home right now. I won't lie---they are work, and alot of it ;)

One 2 year old can make a mess, but you should see what THREE of them can do!

Getting them ready to go somewhere (and being on time, lol) and feeding them are two of the hardest things for me right now. They're VERY messy little eaters and it seems as if they need a bath (and the floor needs mopping!) after every meal!

BUT......they're also positively adorable. Sigh. I truly LOVE 2 year olds (and I guess that's a good thing, huh?) and I'm just lovin' having our three little "peas in a pod"....

Whether they're freshly bathed and going for a ride on Daddy's back.....

Falling off and coming up for "more!".....

Laughing hysterically at absolutely nothing......

Or just being plain cute as a button......

Yep, I love these three! Who needs TV when you have three 2 year olds to watch?! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

We're making progress!!

I think we've turned the corner, ya'll.

After lots of this:

and alot of prayer, tears, and plain hard work.......

Our sweet, beautiful girl was completely relaxed around me today! Praising the LORD with my whole heart tonight for the hope He has given me!

We had missions conference at church last week, and Brent wanted me to stay home on Thursday with Lyssie. It was our first time being alone, and I think it did wonders for starting our relationship.

I snuggled, held and played with her all evening. It was so sweet for me to have that time with just HER. I was able to put her to bed--with minimal crying---for the first time, since she usually wants only Daddy.

Friday was a pretty good day, and Saturday and Sunday were good as well......

This was taken when she was only home a few days. You can see how empty her eyes looked at first :(

BUT!!!! Today, oh-sweet-today! Alyssia didn't cry when Daddy left, she put her arms up to me to be held, she let me snuggle her sweet little body, she came to me several times to show me an "owie", she smiled AT ME, and giggled when I played "This Little Piggy", she rolled a ball back and forth with me, AND she even let me tuck her in for "night-night"!!!!

If you're a biological Mommy reading this, you might not see the big deal. Our bio kiddos learn attachment from us when they're still teeny-tiny babies. It just comes easy for them AND us.

But it's SO important to bond with and attach to our adopted children (and them to us!), and, quite honestly, it takes HARD WORK. It doesn't just "happen" because they're placed in our home. It's a result of planned, purposeful, repeated effort on our behalf.

So when I saw the first glimmer of attachment beginning with my little one today, I rejoiced. A few days ago I couldn't even touch her without her crying! She shut me out to protect her little heart, and I can only imagine how hard this all has been on her.

It's just the beginning, but I've been down this road before, and it's SO worth the journey!

There's still ALOT of work ahead of us, but we've started down the road to love, and I'm not looking back again.

Family Picture

If you're just reading this blog for the first time, or haven't been reading for long, just a little FYI:

Pay no attention to the family picture at the top of the page.

It's pathetically outdated.

It actually WAS taken this past spring, but....

we added two girls to our family since then.

And I actually DID post a new picture, after Johanna came home.

I'd link to it here if I had any clue how to do that kind of stuff....:)

But, anyway, we have yet to take a picture with our family as it looks today by "the" fence so I can post it as my blog header.

Mostly because our littlest blessing has only been home for 2 weeks, and has spent most of that time avoiding me like the plague :), so a family photo session has SO not been in our minds just yet.

So, if you're just joining us, pay no attention to the outdated picture.

One of these days I'll get around to changing it to reflect our growing family, and all seven of our childen ........:)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Two Weeks Home

Tonight marks two weeks that Alyssia Xiao Bao has been a part of our family. Overall, she's doing pretty well, considering her entire world was just turned upside-down.

The mommy/daughter bonding is going very slow. She definitely prefers Daddy to me, which is expected I guess. I'm doing everything I know to do, and praying she can learn to trust me. She is obviously holding back her emotions.....sometimes she'll start to smile at me and then realize what she's doing, and immediately go stone-faced again.

That being said, I'm having a hard time some days. Today was a little better, though. She actually smiled a couple of times at me and didn't fall apart when Brent walked in the door like she normally does. I can still feel her tense up if I try to kiss her or snuggle her, although she did lay her head down on my shoulder for a brief moment yesterday.

I was prepared for this, at least in my head, but I'm not sure you can really prepare your heart for the hurt of rejection. I do understand why she feels this way, but-oh!-how I long to kiss away the tears and help mend her broken heart.

Forgive my lack of blogging this week----every spare minute is spent taking care of Lyssie. We also started back to homeschooling on Monday, so my days are even busier.

In case I haven't mentioned it lately :), I LOVE my life! But my Mommy heart is sad right now, as we work through some deep emotional tunnels with our newest love.

Hopefully I'll be back to regular blogging soon!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Perfect Day

Today was a truly Perfect Day......our first Family Day as a family of NINE.

We spent our day at the breathtakingly beautiful Carters Mountain Apple Orchard.

Picking apples.....

Eating apples and looking absolutely adorable....

Getting a quick family picture taken by a friendly stranger.....

Sitting in the grass, enjoying the cool weather, the mountain breeze, and the joy on our children's faces as they played, explored, and ate apple after apple.....

Daddy of three 2 year olds:

Momma to four girls, one of which was clearly NOT happy to be on my lap :)

Building family bonds......

Getting all sweaty wrestling with his brothers and Daddy, which then led to him losing his first top tooth!

Experiencing "brotherly love".....

Having a giggle at Noah about to lose his pants..... :)

Taking a scenic hayride through the orchard....

Yes, it was a perfect day, in so many ways.

But the best part, by far, for me?

Getting some smiles, giggles, and snuggles for the first time from my newest (and youngest) daughter:

Little by little, moment by moment, day by day, she's letting me into her world. Today, for a while at least, she let her guard down and enjoyed some Momma lovin'.

And that made it a truly Perfect Day! :)