Thursday, December 19, 2013

And So 1 Year and 10 Days Ago Today

And so, 1 year and 10 days ago today, we met our beautiful daughter in person for the first time.  It has been fun reminiscing about that day and it's been interesting how each of us has held on to different memories.  Knowing Annie like we do now, I know that she was so scared-poor thing.  We have come so far in this year-I don't remember what it was like to not have her here and part of our family.  Tonight when I laid her down, she was giggling and she said, "I love you,  Mama".  There's just something about those words that I appreciate so much more than I have over the years.  They tend to make my heart swell nowadays.  What a blessing she is.  Oh, she can be a stinker when it comes to not getting candy or anything with sugar when she wants it (I am sure all our New Day South family can attest to this), but she is a sweetie most of the time.  

Some things about Annie:

You can find her in a blue, hand-me-down, two sizes too big Cinderella dress every day, all day.  The other princess dresses are "too scratchy" she says.  I have had to set the timer recently since both girls want to wear it.  Maybe Santa will help take some pressure off…...

She loves, loves to play with Mei Mei and waits patiently until she finishes school.  They love to play baby and go on pretend trips together.  She will tell Mei Mei that she is her best friend-it's so sweet!

There is not a day that goes by that she doesn't color.

She loves to help me cook.

The girl is soooo flexible.  She loves when Daddy teaches her gymnastics!

She loves to go outside-no matter the temp!

She loves Cinderella-the movie and dancing to the music.

She loves to hold hands when we pray at dinner and is the one who initiates it.

She just memorized her prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep……" and likes to say it "By herself" now.

She likes to bless me at night while making the sign of the cross on my head.

She is a prayer warrior and remembers to pray for people when I forget.

She just learned "O Come, O come Emmanuel" this Advent and loves to belt it out sing it.

She loves to see all her family at New Day on Facebook or skyping.  She often prays for them!

She has red, shiny shoes that she loves to wear.

She loves to put on "Chopstick"-Lipstick.

She loves her "sunbrella"-umbrella.

She loves to chomp her gum!

Last year


When I think back to all the fears that we had during this adoption journey, I am so glad that we did not let them paralyze us.  What we would have missed!!!!  If you are thinking about adoption, make that first step!  Just trust God…..His plans are so much more and so much better than we could ever, ever think of or plan on our own!!  Not always easy, but fuller and more joyful in so many ways!  We have been blessed!!

Press on!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

1 Year Ago

Hard to believe that 1 year ago today, we were heading to the airport on our way to China.  

Nan and Pops had arrived, 3 kids and a dog relying on them for 18 days. 

 Schedules made out.  

Rides coordinated. 
Groceries in the house.

Meals made.  

House in order. 

Tree decorated. 

Santa visited. 

Presents all wrapped.  

Thinking about all that went in to flying half way around the world overwhelms and humbles me today.  

How did we do it all?  

Only 1 answer:  God's amazing Grace.
My procrastinating-fighting self could never accomplish it on my own- only with God's help.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that this was a modern day miracle!! 

I hate leaving my kids even for a weekend-how did we leave for almost 3 weeks?  And at Christmas time? God's Grace. 

 I can't imagine the joy in Heaven when we care for the fatherless as God asks us to in His Holy Word!  He helps us accomplish the seemingly impossible-truly a miracle!!!

 Leaving for the airport 1 year ago, so hard to say goodbye...…

 Probably about the time we realized Ethan forgot his coat.  Ummmm, it's winter in Beijing, Ethan!!!

 Do we look scared to death? We were!  
What if she doesn't want to be with us?  She didn't.  At first.  
What if our whole life changes?  It did.  For the better.  
What if we aren't equipped?  We weren't.  But God helps us.  
So blessed to journey through life with my amazing husband!!

 Saw this in the airport…..Frances Joy-Yin ("Annie" since no one liked Frannie in our family) we were on our way!!

Our great travel partners-they both said this morning that they wish they were on their way to China again!!  I agree.  

I'd do it all again 100 times to have this girl home with us!!!!

Press On!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Summer Catch Up

Yes, I am awful at blogging.  I really want this journal for our family to chronicle these years but I just don't always have the energy.  I'm going to try my best to get caught up, though!!

We soaked in summer as much as we could.  The weather was nice and hot which made for endless hours for the little girls to be in the pool!  Annie was a fish by the end of summer with head under and all!  Mei was her biggest cheerleader.  Mei Mei was so happy to have someone closer to her age to play with this summer.  They were worn out by the end of the day which left all of the rest of us with late nights of cards and dominoes.  It was a great summer.

I guess if I had to summarize summer, I would say that I did my best to hang on to every moment  and cherish the little things.  With Cole leaving in August for college, I knew it would never be the same again.  We were able to spend so much time together because he had several morning bagpiping jobs which left him free for the rest of the day.  I am grateful for that.  There was so much that we felt like we wanted to impart before he left (like we hadn't been doing that for 18 years already) and so many conversations that Jeff and I wanted to have with him.  

Cole and I even got to go to college orientation together while Jeff and Ethan took care of the little girls (the big girls were gone to camp).  In the middle of one of the parent talks, I got a text from Jeff.  He said that he only left them alone for a minute and he sent me a picture of Annie's painted toenails.     Cole had his final outings with siblings and we made list after list until we knew there wasn't a thing left to do except to go.  Nan and Pops came to stay with everyone so Jeff and I could make this journey together......our first of its kind.  I prefer bringing them home from the hospital (or from China)over this one, I must was tough to say goodbye and to feel the miles increase between us.  But, so proud of him and happy for him to have this opportunity and I really wouldn't want it any other way!!  We all miss him like crazy but are so thankful for technology!!

Mary Claire and Ethan had a relaxing summer with little on their schedule outside of a camp for each.  It has been so fun watching the 2 of them grow up and mature but still have fun!  You could usually find E building something or taking something apart and MC with our neighbor friends.

We celebrated Mei's 6th birthday at the cabin.  She has grown up so much!  We had a very tough summer together.  Mei Mei began having seizures about a year after we brought her home.  Thank goodness they are only fade out ones and aren't as scary as many other kinds.  But, she had a medication increase at the beginning of summer and it really affected her.  Her judgement and behavior was hugely impacted but we couldn't figure out if it was the medication or just behavioral issues arising with everyone home and my attention split in so many ways.  Finally, we called the neurologist and she suggested starting her on vitamin B6.  One week later, we had our girl back-it was miraculous!  I am so thankful that she is doing really well.

And sweet Annie…..she is just doing great!  Hard to believe that in one week she will be home for a year now!  I am just so thankful that we stepped out in faith and that we cast all those doubts and fears aside!!  So glad that God allowed us to be her family!  She had a great summer and loved to swim and catch frogs every day she could!  She loves being outside!  And even though she's a southern girl like her Mama, she even braves the cold!  

Blessed Advent to all of you!!
Press On!