Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life? -mary oliver

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happiness's something that lives inside us, and spews out when we choose, or spontaneously, whatever your pleasure.

Andy has always said I'm excited by the little things...a new pack of Sharpie markers that are to die for, a fountain Diet Coke, or when he's scammed the perfect deal for a quick getaway.

These days, happiness is seeing my children, love and embrace one another.  Sarah was so happy when her brother and sister came home from their "weekend family vacation" with their cousins.  At our half-way meeting place, she pointed at them and smiled when they walked in the door.  And then, Addy was glued by her side, loving like only a big sister can do.

The house whispered this past weekend, and the silence was unnerving to Sarah.  She didn't know what to do with herself.  But, now they are home and she's back to her mischief and expectations of being waited on like the Queen herself.

 While I should have been cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I thought, "Dishes can wait.  These moments won't." And so I grabbed my camera, enjoyed watching Sarah run through the house, elated and throw herself in my lap for a hug and kiss.

 After a doctor's appointment, I looked in my rearview mirror, and saw this. 

She was a trooper in the office, and couldn't stay awake any longer.  But, when I pulled into the next parking lot, she woke up.
Disclaimer:  these where not taken while I was driving!

Sometimes, I wonder how I was blessed to be chosen as the mama of three wonderful, active kids.  How was I chosen to travel around the globe, bring this fairy home, and give her a family?

  I was asked today by an interpreter,"Did we choose to adopt a child with Down syndrome?"

Yes, we did and we've never looked back.  She's one of us and will forever be a part of our family.

That's what true happiness is. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stars and Snowflakes

Begin doing what you want to do now.  We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake.   Marie Ray

After the kids are in bed, I upload the pictures and relive the star moments I've captured during the day.  This time,  I've Sarah sitting in my lap, after waking from the town's fireworks. 
Addy and Austin went to my sister's for the long weekend, so my closest and dear friends came over to play with Sarah and spend time catching up on their summer adventures and plans.  Sarah didn't disappoint as she required each one to read and work the puzzle with her.
 Sarah went for her first haircut today.  While her hair is long in the back, a mullet's formed on the side and requires pony tails and bows to look presentable.  She never moved an inch in the chair.  I was so proud of her and the stylists could not believe how still she was.  Adorable!!

 She always looked ornery before.  But with her new sassy do, the orneriness factor has tripled.
Our town had its annual festival this weekend, so we walked down to see the sights.  Families on the lawn, music playing, and the fried food vendors throughout the park.

We stopped at the Animal Shelter booth so she could pet some dogs, and she loved it.   Of course, getting her back in the stroller was not pleasant.  She didn't want to say goodbye.

And then, we stopped at the playground.  She laughed, she waved, she yelled with excitement as she climbed up and slid down the slide.

Tonight at dinner, the three of us sat together and remembered that four weeks ago, she touched ground on the United States of America.  She met her grandparents at the airport, walked into her new home, and found her place.  And she's never looked back.

Whether the kids are playing, sleeping, or any activity, I capture these star and snowflake moments in my mind or with my camera, because these moments are what I want to do now. 
My snowflake that melts.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hello, Summer

Taken on my new phone:)
Hello, Summer. 
I love the summer, staying up late lost in a good book.  Not the kind that make me a better person, learn something new, or about someone's life, because I do love reading those genres.  But, a good fiction novel where I'm sucked into reading page after page until the wee hours of the morning.  I'm thankful the new little one has learned to sleep in as well.
 We celebrated the first day of summer with a pool trip in between storms, and our friends arrived to play.  The boys took off playing "Catch the Torpedo", and the girls went off into their "pretend" games that most always involve cats or dogs.

Sarah loves the water, while belly-flopping, playing in the fountains, or rolling around. 

Our family laughs daily, and seeks adventure in the least likely places.
Are we having fun yet?  We had some errands to run, but even a trip to Wal-Mart can find hidden gems, such as scented nail polish that every tween needs to have.

Austin finds his adventurous side in the Rec Room, rockin with his paper jams.

Sarah finds her adventure by taking things and finding new homes for them, or leaving them all throughout the house.  We're working on picking up her toys:(

She's one of us, and it feels like she has always been part of our family. 

Our family is that, a family.  We're learning it may take us longer to get out of the house, and we may forget an item.  But, there's always Wal-Mart or Target around the corner.   We are always on bike rides, walks, pool trips, or any other adventure we can find.  And if you stop by, and please do, you'll be stepping over mounds of shoes, and our space will be splattered with toys and books, and the library is still not fixed from the spring roof leak. 

How do you welcome summer?

Gilfriend needs to catch some ZZZZ's.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Her New Life

I am daily filled with gratitude for our family.  After seeing so many children daily longing for someone to walk through The Gate in Eastern Europe and proclaim, "I'm your mama," a deeper appreciation, gratefulness, and blessings abound when love  surrounds my own children.

 We spent Father's Day celebrating my nephew's birthday at a pool, but the weather didn't cooperate for water activities.

However, given a few noodles and lots of imagination and the party was a spontaneous horse event.

And my little sprite included herself by copying whatever the big kids were doing.  She's one of them.  While she was abandoned for her extra chromosome, she is showing that she can find her place wherever she is allowed to shine. 

My father-in-law asked us if she was this animated in her orphanage.  While she was busy over there, her excitement, energy, and her smile are constant and contagious here for all who are blessed to come in her path.
For the first time, we gathered all FIVE grandkids for the obligatory photo.  Of course, we waited until the very end of the party:(

Great Grandparents with the kids.  Do you see how thrilled she is?  It's way past naptime.
"I'm DONE!"  She slowly kept sliding down with each camera flash.  Miss Sarah was done for the day.
She slept from 4:30pm and I had to wake her at 7:45.  Of course, she was awake until 10:30 that night.  Someone asked us how she's getting along with our different schedule from the orphanage.  I wanted to laugh, "It's summer.  What schedule:("
Early Sunday morning, Andy walked into the kitchen and saw this.
Miss Sarah hurdled over the 3 foot gate in her room, walked downstairs, opened the pantry, and grabbed the bag of goldfish.  Breakfast of Champions!!
This is how we ended a PERFECT Father's Day. 

It was a Great Day.