Thursday, January 31, 2008

Emma's Fall

As I sat here tonight realizing I have not posted anything in days, I thought it would be nice if I did. Although this vertigo is still coming and going, (hence the swirling slide show) I wanted to share about my day. After you read this you will hopefully make the connection to the two precious girls in the slide show who decided to copy me just the other day while cleaning the floor. I started a new endeavor today, organing people's houses. My first "client" allowed me to earn a nice chunk of change after organizing a very full and overflowing closet. After my 4 hours of hard earned pay, I picked Emma up from MMO. With a growling tummy and a sweetpea in tow, I stopped at a local sandwich shop to grab a bite to eat. As my precious baby girl was playing in the childsize kitchen, and smiling a big as can be, she fell forward and made a face plant right there on the concrete floor. I rushed to her only to find lots of blood coming out of her mouth. Being by myself, looking around for CAROL to no avail, I trotted(probably ran) to the bathroom to survey the damage. By that time blood was down her shirt and I was a bit afraid to take a peek. All the time thinking how grateful I am to have my friend Carol during times like these, then remembering "this one's all you Bev"! Couldn't do it! I couldn't look at her lip to see if her teeth went through. So...I asked the lady behind the counter to help. It wasn't the blood. It was my baby girl injured, bleeding, and crying that I could not handle. One minute she's all smiles, the next she's screaming. Needless to say, we did not end up in the ER-thank goodness. Emma's lip is mighty swollen, but will be alright. Moments prior to the big fall, Emma was sipping some of my sweet tea. A monkey see, monkey do occurred that made me think of the girls on their knees "cleaning" my kitchen floor. I asked for the tea before she guzzled it down and up came her pointer finger in the "wait a minute" position. I could not help but giggle a bit realizing she was doing exactly what Mommy does at times. So you can see how much of a let down the fall was when, minutes later my giggling and her smiling turned to panic and tears. I choose to focus on the sweet little girl who copies just about everything her Mommy does all the way to cleaning the kitchen floor. Falls happen, kids cry, and moms panic, but in the end the sweetness returns and the swollen lip smiles again.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Daddy's home and ready to help!

Shelby and Her Cars

Shelby's Love for Little Cars

When I was a little girl, I trailed behind my brother playing with his little cars every time he got them out. There were even times I'd sneak the cars and play all by myself. I had a favorite that he often let me have while playing together. I can still picture it but no longer remember the name. Growing up we had shag carpet. So forming roads for the cars to drive along was actually quite simple. Without any knowledge of my love for little cars, Shelby has developed her own. She fell in love with the movie "Cars" and has since had a great interest in little cars. It wasn't until this past fall that she started taking her cars and lining them up, moving them one by one down the hallway into the next room. You can imagine what it was like for me to see her performing the same exact car line up that I too did as a child. So, needless to say, I had to take out my camera and capture the moment that stands to be a mirror image of what I loved to do with my big brother. Ironically, I would line my cars up to wait in the "gas lines" to pump gas. I recall that being an issue from my childhood. Who knew so many years later gas would still be such a hot topic? It goes to show, history repeats itself!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Key to My Heart

As I sit here today, I think of the people I have met along my life's journey. I have been blessed with some great friendships and have been hurt by some others. Haven't we all? I think as we get older we realize time is precious and so are the people we choose to have in our lives. Everyone is busy with life. But, a true friendship can stand up to the hectic schedules most of us keep. So many of my established relationships are so strong that picking up the phone after days or months of not communicating may lead us right back to the last time we talked without a bump in the road. I am so thankful for those friends. I believe God has a plan we could not begin to imagine or even understand. And He places people in our lives for so many different reasons. Many of you are friends I have met through the adoption process, which is an amazing connection. Some of you I have met while in college, teaching, different neighborhoods, etc. Many of my closest friends have often heard me refer to my "best friend", Mary Kay. But some of you may not know how that friendship came to be or why it happened. Remember when I said God has a plan that we may not know about or comprehend? Well, His work in this friendship was well understood. I taught with Mary Kay in Jacksonville and got to know her as a co-worker until a very important time in her life occurred. She was going about each day in her own busy way like we all do until her emergency brake of life was pulled and everything came to a skidding hault. I felt so drawn to be by her side as she suffered through the loss of McKenzie, her 2 year old daughter. McKenzie died in a very unexpected way when the car window rolled up and choked her. (I share the details of her accident to enlighten some of you who may not even realize deaths occur each year from such an unknown "weapon".) See, God placed me in Mary Kay's life at that time to be a pillar of strength for her. I held her. I helped her hope. I shook her shoulders when she was thinking crazy thoughts. God is awesome and gave me the strength and courage to be there through her 2 years of torture. Because it took about 2 years for her to feel again. It was certainly not something many of us would raise our hands and volunteer for. Watching a mother lose a child is so intense, you cannot describe the pain that is experienced down to every breath taken. Upon my resume of funerals, I had already witnessed 3 other mothers lose their girls. My friend Stephanie died when I was 15 in a car accident. My dear friend Kendyll died in 1993 from a gunshot wound. And was friend Kristie died in 1995, a few months before I got married. As you can see, I may not have raised my hand to be Mary Kay's source of comfort and support, but God drafted me. Looking back, I remember how uncomfortable I felt walking up to the house to see if she needed anything. Then I remember having to drive to the cemetary to find her still by Kenzie's grave site. It took courage to make that move. But I knew that the feeling that led me to her was bigger than anything I may have been scared of doing. God put me in her life and she in mine for that moment. She made it through so much, which I am extremely proud of. Much of it she has no memory, but I do. Through it all, I have never tired of sharing what happened when she asks or giving her details of conversations that took place. That's what a friend does. She sees a need and fills the gap. I never had any expectations of the day when I walked up to her in the cemetary. But man am I thankful to have followed through with what God placed on my heart. God blessed me with a relationship that has endured so many of life's tests. We have made it through Shelby's birth, Brooke's birth (her little girl) and Emma's adoption, among others of life's lessons and events. She is someone I hold so dear to my heart because she allowed me to put hers back together. So now when I mention her name, you will have a face to go along with it as well as a history. You will know that some friendships are meant to last while others crumble. You will understand that God puts us where we need to be when we need to be there. Thanks to all of my friends who have filled the "gaps" for my life when I have needed them filled. Thanks to my best friend, my chosen sister, Mary Kay for allowing me to intervene that day. I love you and am so proud of you. Now go wipe those tears, your make up is running!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Visiting with Friends!

I cannot believe it has almost been two years since Emma has been home. This April 5th we will celebrate her Gotcha Day for the second year! So when our friends we met while in China called to say they would be passing Atlanta on their drive home to FL, we invited them to stop and visit. Dan and Kristen adopted Kylie, who was in Emma's orphanage. It was so special to see them again. There's an unmistakable bond you create when adopting together. We got to see Kylie placed in their arms for the first time and vice versa. When they walked in our house, it was as if we had just seen them in China. The biggest difference was, our girls were no longer 8 month old infants. Kylie and Emma played with Shelby while we got caught up on the events of the last two years with our girls. There is a photo in Emma's scrapbook of Emma propped up beside Kylie while in Lianjiang. To see the two of them now, thriving, growing, babbling (Kylie talked much more than Emma.) and playing together was wonderful. Just by chance, we also met a couple from Atlanta while in China, Lee and Tracy Cullom. So I called them to see if we could meet for dinner. It was a reunion of 3 of the 6 girls at dinner that night. Mary Claire, Kylie and Emma were together again for the first time since leaving China. I loved it. Although the visit ended the next morning over breakfast at Atlanta Bread Co, it was great to spend some time with Dan, Kristen and Kylie. Hopefully it will not take us 2 more years to see them again.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Day in November

I just wanted to share some photos I had taken in November of the girls before church one Sunday morning. You never know how pictures may turn out when trying to capture the beauty and innocence of your children. These pictures of Shelby and Emma are some of my favorites.

Shelby's 7th Birthday

It is hard to believe our baby girl is already 7 years old. Although they say time flies by, I remember so much of Shelby in slow motion. I can see her yawning her newborn yawn, picture her learning to walk, remember her bravery when walking into kindergarten for the first time, and so on. But I guess to look at her now, it does seem she is instantly 7. Her grown up teeth are coming in and her hair color is darkening. She has developed a vocabulary that amazes me and understands sarcasm and humor. Sometimes, to my detriment, she seems older than 7. Shane and I can no longer spell words to disguise what we are trying to say. We have to be careful about what we watch on TV since she wonders about so many things now. She wants to help scramble the eggs and vacuum the carpet. She has started earning an allowance for 5 jobs she must complete. (Thanks to my friend Debi, she pays us if we complete her jobs for her.) Sitting down with a lengthy book to read is one of her favorite things. Her bike riding skills and ability to play soccer prove her level of determination. My list could go on and on. I am happy to see her growing and blooming. It is wonderful to see her abilities take shape. I am so blessed to hold dear those memories as I watch her celebrate another year of life. That is the key to a content "mommy" heart.

We decided this year to have a small get together in Jacksonville for family and have a large party for her playmates in Georgia. The week before her birthday, Shane and I took her to eat her favorite, crablegs. The night of her birthday, we went to eat Italian with Laura Kate, her mom Kerry, & Anna and her mom Carol. Shelby had Spumoni ice cream, our favorite, while they sang Happy Birthday to her. For Shelby's birthday party, we to Monkey Joe's, a jumpy place. She ran around with her buds so much we lost track of her. The kids built up a good sweat for about 1 1/2 hours until it was time for cake, ice cream cake that is. Of course, if I had a jack hammer I could have cut the cake better. The kids did not care, it was still incredibly yummy! Shelby insisted on opening her gifts and enjoyed seeing the presents each child had picked out just for her birthday. Afterwards, Shelby went home with her best bud, Laura Kate, to spend the night. Her week long celebration had come to an end. But our celebration of her growth and happiness continues on day by day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snow day!

Okay, so I am not into this daily blogging thing yet. But I will get there. I am so glad to know so many of you want to see more on the blog. So I pledge to get better with daily posts. Well, I do have lots to post of past events, so there will be lots for you to see. Like this morning for example, the girls and I went outside to play in the SNOW! Yes, we have snow. And, "baby it's cold outside". Just had to throw that in there for a music moment. So, we gathered enough snow to create our own Miss Snowgirl. That was the second snow"man" I have ever made and Shelby's first. She loved it and wanted to make it bigger. But since Emma "melted" before the snow, we had to go inside. Emma's tears subsided and we all enjoyed a hot bowl of soup.

Monday, January 14, 2008

This past November, while in Jacksonville, I took the girls to the beach to take some pics for Christmas cards with my best friend friend, Mary Kay. We were out there for hours and walked away with 162 pictures. Well, the sun was shining brightly, which made my dear Shelby's eye squinch tightly. Not to mention, Emma did not want Shelby to touch her for me to get one of the girls together. So, knowing my level of determination, I dressed the girls again the next day and headed for an area park. I took Mom along this time as well as our cousin, Layla. We seemed to have better luck. The breeze was just right. The trees were absolutely gorgeous. And the background of the river proved to be a beautiful image. Sounds so perfect doesn't it? I can hear the violins. . . But the crankiness started and we packed up to go. It is funny how the end result ceratinly does not show any of the stress us moms go through when trying to get "that picture".

Our Girls!