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

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The awesome view from my window in my classroom!  Wednesday, I arrived to work early, found an online piano music station, and was completing paperwork and my have-to's.  A looming darkness cast a shadow over my desk, and when I looked outside...a deer was meandering two feet from my window into the woodland area.  I quickly grabbed my camera, but forgot the two locks on the swindow and missed my chance to capture a deer portrait.  But, oh Hello, Sun!
As part of a project, Austin was researching Abe Lincoln for school.  All the second graders prepared a speech, costume, and poster and we all met Tuesday evening for the Wax Museum.

The whole family attended and celebrated his moment.  He worked diligently on saying,"Emancipation Proclamation" and all the parents congratulated him on his effort.
Sarah and Addy walked along, hand in hand, and listened intently to other famous Americans.  Sarah was respectful and recognized Dr. Seus' hat.

Soon, the hour was finished and Austin was sweating, hot, and tired from standing so he took off his hat.  Sarah tried it on for good measure.

Then, backed herself up to the wall, held out her hand, and spoke when her "button" was touched.

Bike-Riding 101:  Austin has been "practicing' every night on his bike.  It's getting better, and oh how the angels were singing Thursday evening when he asked, "Can I go ride my bike?"
Look, even a smile on his face.  And Sarah is running back and forth to follow him on his journey.

Our friends came over Saturday, and the kids were waiting for their pajama party.  As soon as they pulled into the driveway, three heads were smooshed to the windows.
This week, the sun and warmer temperatures are retreating and we'll be back to fleece coats, boots, and long pants. 
 Have a wonderful week, and Keep Smiling!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Wave

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in every moment.
Henry David Thoreau

That my friends sums up a weekend of wonder.  Oh my stars...
Every year, I try to take a class or two for my teaching craft. To inspire, jump start, learn something new,  a way to keep those fires going.  The class was Friday evening and all day Saturday.  It was a Make It/Take It class.  A few hours where I could fabulatize, color, glue, and fancify stuff to use in my classroom.  While working all weekend is not ideal, the weather on Saturday was dismal, dreary, and wet.

Forty teachers gathered in a no-cell reception room, and we colored, chatted, drank coffee, and shared ideas and thoughts on how to make learning best for our treasures. I did chuckle when Andy texted this picture...
"Sarah, did you eat chocolate for breakfast?"  "No, Papa!"  However, the evidence suggested otherwise and she was on her third wardrobe change and it was only 8:30am!

The school was decorating for their high school prom with an Old Hollywood Glam theme, complete with the red carpet and marquee lights.  My new friends and I took a walk and I did my best Hollywood pose on the red carpet.

Then the gray skies parted, bursting with rays of sunshine all around.  What a day to behold, and we soaked up the sunshine.

A candy picnic outside, complete with colored hands.

Bike rides, walks in the woods.  My little girl wants to walk instead of being in the wagon. She pulled the wagon a ways, then we played Stop and Go.  She never tires until it's time for bed.
 Big Brother's goal is to ride a two-wheeler.  It's a painful process for anyone who drives by and watches.

She'd run a ways, pigtails flying in the wind as she caught up with her big sister.

Sarah's begun throwing her hands on her hips as she walks, strutting her stuff.  Preparing to give anyone who dares cross her a piece of her mind.
She's large and in charge!
As the sun began to set and our walk in the woods came to an end, I launched myself on the weekend wave and inhaled the moments.

 Happy Monday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th! (Hubby hijacks the blog... again!)

OK, I know most people don't celebrate Friday the 13th. And I usually don't celebrate it either.

But I am celebrating April 13 this year...

Today marks one year since we had our first face-to-adorable-face meeting with Sarah, and took up residence in the City by the Sea to wait out the legal process of bringing her home. Many of you followed our journey leading up to April 13, 2011and have continued to share in our adventures over the past year. We appreciate the support and encouragement we receive from each of you.

A year has flown by and it's been amazing to see the changes in Sarah and rest of the family...


What a difference a year makes! But every day is an opportunity to make a difference... even Friday the 13th!

Have a great weekend.


Monday, April 9, 2012


 I have this vivid imagination of planning picturesque moments on holidays.  Outfits are coordinated, hair is perfected with the perfect adornment, matching the outfit.  Currier and Ives is the epitome of the photo I want to enlarge and bestow upon our hallway for all who enter.  This Easter, a nautical look was the theme.  Navy blue and white, and Sarah would be wearing a dress Addy wore when she was little.

 Imagine my displeasure when this was all I could achieve before we had to leave for church.  Easter baskets had exploded in the front room.  Sarah was signing the word candy as chocolate drool spewed out of her mouth and her feet were bare.  And so my photo didn't happen and I snapped this in the car!

Before I left Sarah in the most blessed hands of our Miss Patty, I left these instructions with her. "If you paint(which Patty is always up for some artsy activity for her kids), place a garbage bag around her.  I'm getting a family photo after church or nobody eats lunch!"  And Miss Patty and all her helpers made certain not a stain or offending mark was on my Sarah when I picked her up.  My Easter was complete and I have my beautiful family pictures.

An Easter and birthday celebration was on the agenda, complete with more Easter baskets from the grandparents.

The Bunny
Sarah and I share a special time together after her bath.  We sing and play games.  She sits on a stool across from me, intently watching my mouth and motions as I sign to see how to move her mouth.  I taught her Jesus Loves Me in sign language, and she has sung it for her grandparents.  The bunny was special, and her eyes lit up as she recognized the song it played.  For the next half hour, she played that over and over, dancing, signing, and showing everyone of her new found treasure. 
The bunny, doll, and a Grandma CD:  all treasures that show she is loved lay beside her bed and the music lulls my little to sleep.  Her Grandmas have a special place in her heart.

Easter isn't complete without an Easter Egg hunt.  Aunt Stephanie and Grandma Linda stuffed eggs for the celebration.  The kids enjoyed hunting for treasure, counting the eggs and the adults watched with cameras snapping to capture the memory.

Dates are not easy for me to remember.  I think about the times, the seasons, the happenings, but not always dates.  I was caught off guard when my father-in-law said it was a year today that you left for Sarah.  I knew it was around Easter, but the dates for Easter change.

Another Grandma at the party, with her own amazing journey this year, asked if we would celebrate Gotcha Day.  At that moment, the sights, sounds, emotions all began coming back in a flood, not trickling.  Gotcha Day...

My eyes began to well up with tears, and it hit me hard.  
I don't have the memories of Gotcha Day, the once in a lifetime photos and video of walking her out of the orphanage door, the gates closing one last time.  A few days before Mother's Day, we learned that our dates were to be postponed, yet again.  Our children at home were struggling, and we made the gut-wrenching decision for me to leave after court.  Andy would finish the process and take her out of the orphanage.

That entire week, every visit with Sarah, I was an emotional wreck.  I'd begin tearing up, coloring with her.  I broke down reading Five Little Monkeys to her, and complete sobs erupted when I tried to make it through Brown Bear.  Holding her, caressing her cheek as I lay kiss after kiss on her, an emotional free fall.  Sunglasses were my favorite accessory to hide my tear-stained cheeks.  The last moments with her before I left, praying she wouldn't forget who I was and I made Andy promise he would do her hair and take all the pictures and video he could.

I had envisioned the day in my mind.  The outfit, her hair bows, shoes.  We'd walk a little, I'd carry her out, and every moment would be captured.  Our plans do not always add up to reality.

Skyping with my father that week, sobbing miles away, his words will be forever etched in my mind and heart.
"Shelly, perhaps this isn't to be your moment.  God wants this to be Andy's moment to have and you are not to be part of that plan."  As difficult as it is to understand why, I will never understand, nor is it my place to question a master plan.   Even now as I type, the tears are streaming because I will never have her Gotcha Day.  I do have a wonderful video Andy made and posted the day I returned to bring her home...The Sound of the Gate.

When I was sharing this story with the women around the table at Easter, and their eyes were filling, I said, "We will celebrate her coming home.  Memorial Day weekend is the day our family was united, together.  We will celebrate her homecoming then.  That will be our Gotcha Day, her moment.  I have had many beautiful, heart-warming celebrations with her and will continue to have every minute."

Embracing our journey, daily.