Sunday, September 23, 2012

Willy Goat is under construction

Willy Goat is our play set...well, the kids play set. That's the name of the place that makes it, but now it's sort of stuck with us. So, the kids will say "Daddy, is Willy Goat ready yet?"

Willy Goat came in five gigantic boxes. My husband was not the least bit thrilled to say the least so every day after work and the weekends are spent working on Willy Goat.

Now the kids have decided that they are going to help out so they can speed up the process and as you can imagine it has SLOWED down the process tremendously. We've had many near in Mei Mei carrying wood and nearly missing my head. We've had Josiah with "not so much of" a near miss when he cracked Bobby in the head with the hammer. And Bella has helped a bunch by "tightening" the bolts with the ratchet...turns out she was in fact loosening them. poor husband. I keep reminding him of the wonderful family time we are having and more importantly they will quit driving him crazy once it's finished and they can go outside and play on it : )

I so wish we could have moved the old one, but then I wouldn't have all these sweet, crazy memories of putting this one together.

Chalk peeps

It doesn't look broken...

You know it takes time, but you’d assume after four months home you’d have an idea of the “issues” ….not really. Often things are broken that don’t really seem broken at all.
In the beginning I just thought “this is one tough dude”. I was shocked at how hard he would fall and get right back up.  I just figured this was his nature. Bobby’s like that. The hardest head in the world. Josiah hit him on accident working on the play set with a hammer last week…I mean really cracked him in the head and nothing no blood nothing… Hard headed man : ) Just figured he was going to be like his Daddy. Bobby is tough as nails….Josiah is just like that. Oh so I thought.

If you’ve spent any time around Josiah you would if you were being kind you’d say “wow, he’s very busy isn’t he?”  That’s code for “good grief he’s into everything”.  If it can be climbed…he will. If he can run why bother walking. If you can jump off it why step down. He takes corners on his trike on two wheels only because three wheels well that would be too easy. You cannot take your eye off of him for a minute and when you do…watch out because chances are he’s into something significant. So, needless to say he gets hurt a lot. He falls…. a lot. He runs into things… a lot.  Constantly with a scraped knee or a knot on his head. Many bloody noses and lips later I’ve learned that this will be my kid with a cast of some kind…promise that. He’s the one.
Many times a day he’s hurt and for awhile he’d just go about his business. Get back on the trike. Get back on the swing. Sometimes I’d laugh because he’d kick the cabinet that he ran into as if it were the cabinets fault. Lately though the tears are starting to come. Not for every little bump or bruise, but for the real hurts. The ones that I hold my breath before I pick him up because I know there’s going to be blood and those happen quite a bit. These days he cries when he’s really hurt. But with the cries comes this anger when I try to come comfort him. He starts waving his hands at me in resistance. Saying “no, no, no” He’s clearly hurt, but doesn’t want my comfort. However, the look in his eyes is very much “hold me Mommy…make it better”. Gosh it breaks my heart. If I go hold him anyway it’s very upsetting to him and he’s get mad at me. We’ve tried modeling for him with the girls. Showing him how they come to me when they’re hurt and I love on them. Kiss their boo boos and make it better. For right now though he’s not going for it. I know intelligently that three years of no one responding to your hurts leaves a child not bothering to even cry for someone.  That‘s why the silence of an orphanage breaks my heart. There’s no point in crying because no one’s coming to make it better.  My heart says though that he knows I’m Mommy so why won’t he let me love on him when he’s hurt. He’s very affectionate otherwise and always climbing in my lap or hugging on me so why doesn’t he understand that I can make it better. It’s just one of those things that will take time I suppose. At least now the tears are coming. I know that’s progress. I guess we are all like this in some way. We don’t look broken, but we are. It doesn’t always show up till we get knocked down enough that we have to throw our hands up and say “God help me”.  And doesn’t He just pick us up and kiss our boo boos and tell us He loves us….and doesn’t that feel so much better than pretending it doesn’t hurt. If only I could explain that to Josiah right now.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"This is my favorite celebration of all"

That is what Mei Mei said at dinner Friday night. We went to eat at Dragon Palace in Daniel Island. It's our new favorite Chinese Restaurant. Everything is new to us around here, but we've all decided that this is "our" place. The place where we will go to celebrate anything and everything : )  That place for us has always been Chinese food and has always been South Seas in Slidell, LA. We first went there before Izzy came home and actually brought her picture in a frame and set it on the table. I know....weird, right? We were celebrating her 2nd birthday while she was still in China. So that became our place. For birthdays, Gotcha Day anniversaries, Christmas name it, we celebrated there. So we had to find a new place and some friends sent us to Dragon Palace and we LOVED it.
We were delayed in celebrating our Marianna being home two years because of the hurricane and the move to SC. She didn't mind though. She had a wonderful time at dinner with her family. She smiled the entire time. Marianna can get easily lost in the shadow of her bigger than life sister and her newly home baby brother. I work hard to make sure she knows her place in our family and how special she is to us. I don't ever want to have that middle child therapy session. So being the center of the celebration was really sweet for her. I know she truly felt as special as she is. I spent a lot time this last week thinking about when we met her and the journey we've been on together. It's not always been easy, but it's always been blessed. Our journey to her from day one was nothing short of miraculous. Every single step was divinely planned. Now, I believe that our journey to all of our kiddos was divinely planned, but Mari's journey in particular was so obvious in this way. God showed up over and over and blew us away by His orchestration of events. He moved mountain after mountain for her to be united with her family.  Her journey became such a witness to the greatness of our God. It grew our faith exponentially. Reflecting on all of that over the past few days God reminded me gently that I haven't seen but a glimpse of what He will do with her life. I'm amazed daily by this child and yet God has such awesome plans for her. Plans I cannot imagine. Her life itself is a witness to the greatness of our God. The benediction that Seacoast uses at ever service comes to mind:

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I can't imagine what He will do with her life because what He has done already amazes me. A child abandoned on the very day she was born now such a loved daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece.
Oh my are so loved. Here's to the two amazing years with you and the years to come.

This is the moment I met her....with a yogurt drink and a sucker in her mouth at the same time. To think that I was shocked that she could hold her drink without spilling it. God was probably thinking " ain't seen nothing yet" Last Friday night while celebrating her two years home she ate the entire meal with chopsticks. I can't use chopsticks, but this little one with one half of one hand ate the whole meal with chopsticks. "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" !!!

This is one year this point I have just a clue that I've got my hands full. This little thing is a force to be reckoned with... To God be the glory !

Just a glimpse at who she might be one day. A beautiful, strong, child of God !

Ocean Baptism

Rob took Izzy with him this Sunday to Seacoast's Ocean Baptism. She was blown away by the whole experience. It seems a little surprising to her to see adults that are just coming to know Jesus. She had assumed that all children are taught about the Lord from a young age just like she has been taught. She asked Rob and I at dinner "so, did you guys know about Jesus when you were my age ? ".  Well, the answer to that was "No, not really" and we had a long talk with her about why we didn't know at that age and when we came to know the Lord. She listened intently and said at the end of the conversation "Well, I'm really happy that you guys know now and I'm really really really happy that you told me about Jesus"..... makes my heart smile : )

That boy loves his Xiong Mao....

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shell Collection

When I selfishly asked the Lord five years ago to please, please, please let Izzy love the beach I had no idea that she'd actually love the beach more than I do, but she does!! That girl could be there 24/7. God answered that selfish little prayer of mine in a big way. All my "little" kiddos love the beach...the big ones not so much.  Izzy especially seems to be at home there and never wants to leave. She and I started a shell collection when she was two. We've dragged shells home every single time we've ever been to the beach together...and that's a lot. We had so many shells that they filled up the bottom of her clubhouse in her play set. Well, when we made the trek from LA to SC we couldn't fit lots of stuff and we really couldn't fit a load of shells. She was a big girl about it and said "that's ok we can leave them for the next person that lives in our house", but since we've been here she's regretted that decision.  She was so bummed about it the first time we went to the beach she didn't even want to collect any more shells. What? Change is hard for her and it really made me sad. Little things like shells are so important to her. So, imagine how delighted I was when on Labor Day she picked up her pail and said "Come on Momma....let's start a new collection at our new home" : )  Thank You Lord for walking with my babes through this big change in their life.  Sometimes I forget that You love them even more than I do....

And thank you for your beautiful creation that we get to be a part of....

We made it : )

Well, we made it to Charleston....barely, but we made it. Hurricane Isaac changed all of our plans and we left early.  I was not ready to leave on Monday. I was ready to leave on Thursday. So, we left in a bit of a hurry...forgot a bunch of things. The truck didn't fit everything so Rob has to go back this week for the rest of our things. The storm had me completely rattled. I hated leaving my family behind in the midst of all of that. It's been a really difficult time for many of them, please keep them in your prayers. The journey here was the longest road trip of my life with three kiddos and three cats in a minivan. Rob was driving the truck which would only go 35 mph up hill and there are many hilly roads between LA and SC. So the 12 hour trek took more like 17 hours : ( 

We had many crazy mishaps....poor navigation (GPS on crack), Josiah had an abnormal amount of mega poopie blow out diapers one of which caused me to give him a bath in a Racetrack bathroom (not pretty at all - included a booty hand dryer situation) God help me..., Mari got carsick. I had one cat poop in their kennel, one cat peed in their kennel and the other cat threw up in their kennel. I know...TMI, right? It was a good thing I had a baseball cap on because I'm quite sure my hair would have been in a thousand different directions.  By the time we got to Charleston my van looked like we had lived in it for a month and it smelled even worse.

But since then it's all been A LOT better. Kids are settling in...we've even enjoyed the beach a couple of times already. The house is great. The neighborhood is wonderful. I LOVE it here. It would be absolutely perfect if it had our family...that's all that I'm missing.  We had some Facetime with them yesterday and it was good for my kiddos. Change is not easy for them...not one bit. So I worked really hard to get the girls room done first. They love it and are feeling more at home here. We hope to get back to home school this week. They do much better when life is consistent so the sooner we get back to normal the better.  Josiah is still recovering from his "procedure". Good grief this is a long process. He is doing really well though. I'm truly impressed at how he's handled all of this. He's not sleeping too good so that's been hard. It's a lot of change in such a short time. He's only been home 4 months and he's had surgery and moved already.That's a lot of change in a little guys life..poor thing. So, I'm scooping him up every night around midnight when he wakes screaming and putting him in our bed. He's cries for at least an hour then settles back done and goes to sleep. His sleep is fitful though. He could use a good nights sleep. I could use a good nights sleep!

Thanks so much for all of your prayers....keep praying for our transition. We've been embraced by so many wonderful people from Seacoast. So many families that have a heart for the orphan. It makes me want to burst I'm so excited. God is doing some wonderful things here. There's a big adoption community (lots of kiddos from China...Yay!) here.  Such a great thing for our family. God is so good. 

Much love to you guys....from South Carolina : )

"Daddy drive Big truck" ...that's what Josiah said every time Rob passed us....

they were such troopers...this was no easy trip and they handled it in stride..even carsick : (

what a welcomed sight...the last box : )

Josiah...exhausted from all the unloading he did...right!

Our first breakfast in our new home...yep...we ate on the floor because our table was still in the truck.
This little beauty greeted us at the front door that next morning...."Welcome"