Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Moments Worth Remembering...

A couple of nights ago as I was laying beside E.,  who was trying to fall asleep, she reached over and put her hand on my face and said, "Mommy, I just love you so much..." Long pause and then, still with her hand on my face and tears in my eyes she said, "You make me soooo happy" I feel so lucky to be her mommy - this sweet little girl has willingly opened her heart to me....I feel so grateful. I was reminded of my first trip to Vladimir, my referral trip. At the end of our third visit together she touched my face in the same way. She had no English words at the time, but her eyes said it all. Here is where I posted about it.

Yesterday morning, on the way to Emily's house, E. asked me where she could see Jesus? Ummmm that's a pretty tough question to answer to a four year old - I would have no problem responding to an adult who asked that question, but how do I give an answer a four year could understand? So I said a quick prayer and then stammered and stuttered my way through an answer.
Me: "well, He is everywhere, but you can't really see Him with your eyes, you can feel Him in your heart"
E: "But I want to see Him, where is He?"
Me: "Well you can feel Him in your heart. Jesus can live in your heart and then you can feel Him. Do you want to ask Him to live in your heart?"
E: "Later, when I get bigger"
Me: "Well, did you know you don't have to wait until you get bigger. You can ask Him right now. Do you want to ask Jesus to live in your heart?"
E: "Yes"
Me: (in tears now) "You can just say Jesus, will you live in my heart"
E: "Jesus, will You live in my heart?"
Me: "Amen. Now He will always live in your heart and you will feel Him"
Now, I know this wasn't the most detailed theological discussion, but I truly believe something happened in my car that morning - life changing, powerful, the beginning of a lifelong relationship. I was humbled beyond belief, overwhelmed by His goodness and thrilled to have been there when it all started for E. I'm praying that the Lord would make Him self real to her all the days of her life. That she would know Jesus in a deeper way each day.
Today was also my dad's 72nd birthday. We had him over for taco dinner tonight - one of his favorites. It is such a delight to watch E. giggle and hug and snuggle with him. I feel so grateful that she gets to see him often.

Monday, November 5, 2012

More Fun...

Notice the matching converse :) Syd picked them out for both of them.

Ready to head out for some candy!

My little flower
 Halloween was a fun day.....Syd was on Fall break last week so she came over and spent the day with E. and I. It is so fun to watch those two play. Syd likes to dress E. up like her personal dolly. E. tolerates this....sometimes :) The weather was amazing. Often the weather is snowy on Halloween, but not this year it was close to balmy....over 50 degrees even after sunset. It was a busy trick or treat night....we had loads of fun gathering candy from the neighbors.

This past weekend E. and I were out on the deck and I happened to look up to see this beautiful creature in our Aspen tree.....it was amazing. I don't think I had ever seen an  owl this close up - outside of the zoo.


He was sitting there so peacefully.



I snapped pictures and he just sat there blinking and winking at us. E. was just as captivated as I was.

We have been going through lots of changes lately at our house. Changes that leave me stressed and sweet E. is feeling the effects of it. She is so clearly impacted by changes no matter how small. Even something as small as the end of daylight savings - driving home from Emiliy's tonight in the dark at 5pm was hard for her. She is - easily stressed - easily overwhelmed. Her little brain doesn't have ability to regulate quickly...it will come with time and more healing, but right now she is just a pile of tears often. It's exhausting, but I know she has been through far too much for a 4 1/2 year old and it will just take more and more love and prayers to overcome it. But overcome we will! With the Lord's help and healing.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Boo at the Zoo

What a lovely weekend. Yesterday we had an E. and mommy day - just hanging out at home...we tickled, played, we planned a grocery store trip and survived without any extra purchases...I always consider it a victory when I exit the store with nothing more than what I planned to buy :)
It was a very nice day. Last night I was thinking about what a great balance there was between interacting and playing and then doing our own thing....I got chores done she played happily by herself. I feel like that is something really new - it has taken a long time to develop. I feel so grateful...
E. is such an extrovert and days with just she and I are sometimes hard for her - she loves the interaction with people and of course with her friends. But I also see how too much stimulation sends her easily over the edge and she becomes a puddle of tears....enter Boo at the Zoo....too much fun....too much candy.....way too many people....too loud....all leads to a very long ride home with one whiny, tearful girl.
Glad we went also glad to leave :)
I only got a few pix, but they are cute - we went with our dear friends and E's BFF Jaedyn.


E. and J. talking with the UNC Mascot - she chatted with them and they loved it :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spontaneous...

Tonight, as we were getting ready for bed, E. told me "Mommy, I'm so happy this is my home."

Sweet....me too E. I'm so happy this is your home!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Fun

It is so much fun to be celebrating a 2nd year of traditions...like pumpkin carving. This year we added our friends Kenzie and Maddie to the party. The girls had so much fun. Playing in the goo...marking out their pumpkin faces....it was such a glorious afternoon...gorgeous weather.
Pumpkin guts....ooey gooey fun!




I really don't even know what to say about the band-aids.... goofy!
Tons of fun was had by all :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The View...


from my front door late this afternoon really took my breath away. 




The light through the tree...the blaze of Fall color. The sweetness of a little girl looking out...I feel so grateful. There is so much beauty to take in....when I slow to look for it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

18 Months

Family
E. and I have been together as a family for 18 months today. 18 months ago, we left the Vladimir Baby House together. I remember the day as if it were yesterday...we were both so scared, terrified really. She was leaving the only home, family, language, sounds, food, smells, sights she had ever known with a woman she barely knew. I was lunging head first into the world of motherhood....I had no idea if I could handle it.
Fast forward 18 months, and we are mommy and daughter...neither of us could imagine life without the other.
 Life is sweet...and I'm so grateful.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Death of .....a nap :(

Ever since E. first came home -  almost 18 months ago - I can't believe it - she has napped, daily! This summer saw the death....of a daily nap. I've heard other moms talk about grieving this, now I'm living through it. It's a tough one - she plays so hard...she really still needs it, but she refuses. And how do you make someone sleep...especially a four year old someone? You don't. It's been and some days still is, a tough transition...especially on grouchy days, where a nap would be so sweet. But she's a big kid, she'll tell you and naps are for babies...sniff...sniff...insert stuck out lower lip here...from mom :)
She's growing up...too fast. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Long Weekend

Bittersweet....the end of summer...the end of swimming outside. E. and I were at the outdoor pool every day this weekend. We made the most of it, especially since we got the green light from Dr. Sarah to swim again. E's collar bone is healing.Thank You, Lord.

This is E. and her BFF Jaedyn posing at the pool


E. wearing Jaedyn's goggles and lifevest. 
E. is an amazing swimmer - she doesn't wear a life vest in the pool at all - she is a little fish.
We had a lovely, relaxing weekend..

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Weekend Getaway

Our friends, Becky and Kelly, celebrated 35 years of marriage this past week. Woo Hoo! Amazing!
E. and I got to join their family in Colorado Springs for a few days.
We had such a fun time. The highlight was definitely feeding the giraffes at the zoo - but we had a blast the whole time.
 At the Olympic Training Center
 Enjoying Happy Anniversary cake - decorated by Miss E.
 The carousel at the zoo - this thing moved FAST - I could barely keep my balance.
 Watching the monkeys groom each other.
Aforementioned monkeys - I didn't zoom for this picture - we were right up next to them - so cool!

 Riding a mountain goat....
 Awwwww....who loves their mommy?
Poser!
 Toasting her first marshmallow for her first S'more - yummy! E. calls them "smellos"
So, did I mention E. broke her collar bone? Thus, the sling. So sad - I'm just grateful it happened almost at the end of the summer and not right at the beginning. She is such a trooper - the hardest part for her has been the limited activity...she is dying to get back on her trampoline!
Good friends...family really. We love you guys!
The view behind them is the view from almost everywhere at the zoo - it's built into the mountain side. It's just gorgeous.
This is the view from the monkey exhibit.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

video

We visited this amazing zoo this weekend. Despite the name of the zoo, it's actually in Colorado Springs...more update and pictures later, but wanted to share this video of E. feeding the giraffes - so much fun!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where did May and June Go?

It's July 11th....how did that happen?

Life has been pretty hectic....sadly. It's funny how during those first few months home time just seemed to crawl and I found myself wishing for the days when we would be able to schedule and do more....now I wish for the days without much on the calendar...isn't that just how it goes?

We have been doing lots of swimming this summer....E is a fish! Our friend Seana has been teaching her lots of new skills - she loves it and will try anything. E. is such a visual learner - she watches the other kids at the pool and pretty soon you will see her trying out what they are doing.

In May, I had the opportunity, through a generous grant from Focus on the Family, to attend a week long training in Dallas. It was a training through the TCU Institute for Child Development. Karyn Purvis, who is absolutely wonderful, was one of the main speakers. She writes and speaks on parenting children at risk - children who have experienced trauma in their early life. If you aren't familiar with her, you must read The Connected Child and check out the fabulous resources available here.

My friend Jana lives in the Dallas area and she and her son Javin came to visit with E.  and I one night - E. absolutely loved her first ride in a convertible!



She also thought Javin was a pretty cool big kid!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl

I cannot believe my sweetie is 4 years old. Her birthday finds me thinking of her first mom, in Russia, Vera. Wondering what she might be thinking...in my mind, it must be so tough. And so I want to say to Vera, we think of you, we pray for you, we talk about you and wonder about your life. I let E. know regularly that someday I hope we can find you. I hope that E. will have the chance to see you again, the chance to ask you so many questions that I am sure she might have....like, why? Did you love me? Do you miss me? why didn't you take care of me? I pray she will have the opportunity...I pray that it will lead to reconciliation and restoration...that she will one day have the opportunity to have two moms who love her in her life. E. is such a beautiful girl - inside and out. We had such a fun day. And to top it off Becky and Kelly came over for dinner and some birthday cupcakes. What a difference a year makes....here is my sweetie just a couple of weeks after arriving home on her thrid birthday...
And here she is this year...
What a day! Presents, cupcakes and a spa pedicure courtesy of Aunt Becky...what more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

We had a lovely Easter weekend. It was busy, but really fun. The highlight, of course, being Resurrection Sunday service - celebrating our risen Lord. I feel so grateful that this year I took the time to observe lent and all that it means to deny oneself in preparation for Easter. To identify with Christ's suffering during lent makes celebrating His Resurrection all the more sweet! I hope that as E. gets older and begins to understand this season at a deeper level we will be able to observe together.

On Saturday E. and I spent the day at home in our jammies until much past noon - I love that! We dyed some Easter eggs - oh boy, did she love that!
On Easter, our church had a Sunday service - unusual for us since we worship together on Tuesday nights. It was a beautiful service. Focused on the account of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene at the tomb. She didn't even realize it was Him - until He said her name....Mary....and in that moment she instantly knew who it was. We talked about what it means to be known by Jesus....He knows our names. Of course, E. had on her Easter finest and looked beautiful...here are some pix.
E. is determined to be a drummer...I'm still holding out for something a bit....different :)
Precious!