Monday, November 30, 2009

What is a Mommy?

Today Abbey posed this question to me and it kind of caught me off guard. When she woke up from her nap, we were cuddling and she looked up at me and said, "You're my Mommy." I said that yes, I was her Mommy. Then she looked at me and asked, "What is a Mommy?" I thought for a moment. Before being blessed by adoption, I would have probably said something about giving birth etc. Obviously, this couldn't be part of the definition this time(at least not regarding me).  I thought for a moment and then said something about a mommy being someone that loves and takes care of her children. Later today I recalled this conversation. I wondered if there was something else I should have said?  I know that right now she has no concept of the difference between born and adopted. I don't think we've actually ever told her she was adopted. We've told her we went to China to get her. She told Greg this weekend that she was born in Chongqing, China, and that it was a really cool place. So, she knows that. From today's question, though, I realized that I really need to get my thoughts together so I will know what to say when the time comes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So Very Grateful!

I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people. (Psalms 35:18)

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

 As I sat in the car pulling up to my parents' house yesterday, I couldn't help but think about what the day could have been like. We very easily could be pulling up and facing a family holiday without my Dad. He could have easily died when he had the heart attack in March. God has kept him here for a reason, and I'm so grateful that He has. I'm grateful that my Mom, whose health isn't great, is still there to listen and offer me unconditional acceptance.  My heart was sad about John, Jr not being with us. We called him several times during the day, and I missed him horribly. I'm also grateful that even though we were missing one son, we had another son with us. For quite a while it seemed as if we wouldn't be getting Elijah until very close to Thanksgiving, and here he is calling me (and every other female) Mama, and giving kisses and high fives. He already is knitted firmly into our family. I'm so grateful for that. I'm thankful for a little girl that brightens our lives, with her constant witty thoughts and actions.  I'm thankful for a big girl who still shares her problems with me. I'm thankful for a big girl who, though she lives four hours away, will find a way to get home, even if it takes 6 to 7 hours to do so.  I'm thankful for a big boy who loves the Lord and wants everyone else to know Him. I'm thankful for a big boy who, even though he feels awful with an awful sickness, tries to comfort me and  tells me not to cry, he is going to be just fine and to not worry about him missing Thanksgiving dinner, because he  doesn't feel like eating anyway. I'm thankful for the man that God intended just for me to spend my life with. He is my rock, the first person I want to talk to when something great or awful happens. I'm grateful that he shares his ups and downs with me. I'd be totally lost without him.  Lastly, but certainly not leastly, I'm grateful for my God. I'm grateful that he has chosen to show me some of His power. I'm grateful that He loves me and has given me so many desires of my heart. I'm grateful that I don't have to worry, everything is filtered through His hands. I'm grateful that even though I mess up, He will never leave or forsake me. I'm one blessed lady!

Helping with clean up from one of the desserts I made the night before

 Abbey and Aunt Betty


Abbey and Nana


Beth and Abbey playing around

Elijah's first Thanksgiving

 Elijah with Beth

For Thanksgiving, we went to my parents. There was an overabundance of food and family time. After lunch, the guys went to play golf. We girls usually go to a movie, but because I didn't want to take Abbey and Elijah, they all stayed home with me. Beth's boyfriend, Greg, joined us this year. But, he left right after dinner to spend some time with his family.
Today Beth, Anna and I went to see the movie, The Blind Side. It was a wonderful movie! I thoroughly enjoyed an evening out with my girls!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My heart is heavy...

On this Thanksgiving eve, while very thankful for God's blessings, I can't help but to have a heavy heart. John Jr will not be able to join us for Thanksgiving. He called yesterday and said he had started to feel poorly on Mon. evening. By last night he had a fever, chills, cough, stomach ache and stuffy nose. Yep, you guessed it... the dreaded H1N1 flu has gotten to my oldest baby boy. He went to Student Health Services and they confirmed it. It makes me so sad. First of all, sadness for me and John. We were so looking forward to having all 6 kids under the same roof for a couple of nights. I was imagining lots of laughs and just plain ole good times. Secondly, it breaks my heart for one of my children to be so sick, and not have me there to take care of them. Not only does he not have me, he is by himself. His roommates are all leaving to go to their homes. He loves Thanksgiving and being with everyone, and especially the food! I was going to make a carrot cake just for him. But, it is not to be. I do have much to be thankful for in this situation, though. I'm thankful that he got sick before he got here. It would be catastrophic for my Dad or Mom to get this flu. Neither John, Abbey, Beth or I have been vaccinated. Elijah is 1/2 protected, and Anna and Daniel have had the shot. So, I praise God for the timing. Although, if I'd had my pick I would have wanted it to hit a few days after Thanksgiving. Again, God's timing is perfect, so I will praise Him for this.  So, tomorrow we will gather at my Mom's and give thanks. Maybe we can do a conference call to John, Jr? And he will get a whole carrot cake just for himself.
"I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High" (Psalm 7:17, NIV)

Monday, November 23, 2009

First Trip to the Dentist

Today Abbey made her first of many visits to the dentist. I hope that all of the rest go as well as this one did. She did very well. Her only problem was laying on her back for an extended time. That comes as no surprise...Abbey having trouble sitting still?? Go figure! Her teeth got a great report card. Her spacing is excellent. Maybe this D***** kid will not need braces? That would be lovely. After the doctor got through looking at her teeth, she said to him, "Now you sit here and let me look at your teeth."




Sunday, November 22, 2009

First High School Swim Meet of the Season

This past Thurs. started the high school swim season. Anna and Daniel both swim for their high school. Anna likes to swim for the exercise and social life. She did decide she would swim one event in the meet. Daniel won both of his events, 100 breast and 200 IM.  It was Elijah's first high school meet. Our high school has a lot of neighborhood kids, so we saw a lot of people who were eager to meet our new little boy.

Anna swimming freestyle

 Daniel swimming breastroke

 Winning Breastroke


Elijah's first lollipop

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grandma's gift

 Since Grandma sent Abbey some money for her birthday, John promised to take her shopping.  Last Sunday, Elijah was asleep, so I stayed home with him, while John and Abbey set out to spend her money. You would have thought she had a million dollars. She was so excited. They weren't gone that long when she came strolling in with...a snow white doll. Not surprising if you have looked at previous pictures. Most days Abbey is decked out in some kind of princess outfit.

When she called Grandma, before she had gone shopping, to thank her she said, "Thank you for buying me my money."

She has only watched Snow White once, and the wicked Queen was a bit too much and scared her. So we will hold off on that for a while. But, we do have the book and we read it a lot. But, Abbey loves to watch Cinderella. It is reserved as a special treat. The other day she started running down the stairs, waving her hand and saying, "Goodbye!" in a voice that wasn't hers. She was mimicking Cinderella, as she runs from the ball, and was doing a pretty good imitation. I joined in the fun and started running after her saying, "Wait, Cinderella, wait" She really got into it then. I think we may have an actress on our hands.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The newest Krispy Kreme convert

This past weekend John, Sr. took Anna on a Daddy-date to see the musical Rain. A tradition with our family is to stop by Krispy Kreme doughnuts to get doughnuts whenever we see shows downtown. They were kind enough to bring some doughnuts for the rest of us. Now, it is a toss up with me between a hot KK doughnut and a piece of chocolate, as to what is my favorite food. I really don't think there is anything that is quite as good as a KK doughnut, especially when it is hot. So, Saturday morning, we introduced Elijah to the wonders of a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

At first he was quite skeptical:

Then he decided to give it a try

Hmmm, what is this?

In fact I think I rather like it

I think I'll savor another bite

A convert from way back.

 In fact, she embezzled another doughnut while on John, Jr's watch. She had already had  her allotted 2 doughnuts. While I was out, she asked John for another. While eating it, she told him, "We've got to finish this before Mom gets back."

Yes, my kids do have doughnuts for breakfast!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

John, Jr visits

This past weekend we had a treat-John, Jr came home. He came to go to the Carolina game with John, Sr. Abbey was so glad to see her biggest brother.

 We had a great visit, although it always goes by too fast. Sunday morning I told Abbey that John had to go home today. She said, "No he doesn't, he's my brother!" On the way to church she wanted him to sit beside her in the car. This maneuver required John sitting between two carseats. He had to wedge himself and place his arms around the carseats, but he gladly did so to please Miss Abbey.

Getting ready to go to the ballgame. (Someone else wanted to go, princess dress and all)

I so enjoyed seeing this face again!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Months!!

This past Saturday, the 14th, was the two month anniversary of Elijah's Gotcha Day! He has melted into our family so well. It seems like we have been blessed with him for more than 2 months. He is such a cuddle bug. Over the past month he has learned to do the following things:
Drink out of a cup with the valve in it
Crawl up the stairs
Stack blocks
Say his versions of I love you sounds like ah u yu. From context we know it is I love you
Is sleeping better, but still wakes up at the drop of a hat.
Has suffered through his first cold.
Likes every kind of food he has tried, except for peaches.
Puckers up his lips and says "mmmm" to give a kiss
I can tell that he is a little more selective in who he goes to. He no longer reaches for every female he sees.

It is wonderful to watch him discover the world. We praise God for the gift of Elijah.

The day we met Elijah

One month since Gotcha

Two months since Gotcha

Such a sweet boy!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

OAKS' Cupcake Party

Today Abbey, Elijah and I went to Malee and Nena's house for an OAKS gathering. They made turkeys out of cupcakes.

Elijah and Camden found the tinker toys much more interesting

After eating, the girls played together. Today was the first day that I saw them actually participating in cooperative play. At one point they had instruments and they were having a parade. Then they discovered the dress up clothes.

Genevieve, Abbey and Malee

Abbey fell in love with the "Bride dress". When it was time to go, I took it off of her, only to find she had put it right back on again.

Thanks to Malee and her Mom for hosting our group. We had a great time!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We're getting there

I think we are getting there... I knew it would take time before things start to settle down and we could function with some degree of normalcy (at least as normal as our abnormal family can be). Well, I have definitely seen some progress. We now have a loose schedule that can be followed each day, and both kids are mostly sleeping through the night. We still have some nights that aren't peaceful, but not every night, so that's progress. Abbey and Elijah are starting to enjoy each other.

They occasionally have little games they play that leave both of them laughing hysterically.

They are a little less jealous of each other. I know we still have a ways to go, but at least I can see progress.

Giving kisses

I love all of them so much, and thank the Lord to be able to be mommy to each of my kids, from the biggest down to the littlest. I think it is such a privilege to have a hand in shaping their lives. And, sometimes it's just plain fun to hear what comes out of their mouths. Take this recent exchange with Abbey:
Abbey: "Mommy, we don't let anyone see our boobies, do we?"
Me: "No, Abbey we don't"
Abbey: "Because they are our prizes!"
Laughing so hard on the inside, I gently corrected, "That's right, they are our privates, aren't they?" 

Monday, November 9, 2009

And the little child shall lead them...

God's little messenger 

John and I usually get along extremely well. We love being together and can usually finish each other's sentences. In China, our guide, Susan, commented on how it seemed to her that we loved each other very much. And we do, but sometimes... tiredness and crankiness overcome our feelings of love and we begin to bicker. This was the case last night. Daniel had a swim meet this weekend and John timed all morning, while I had both littles in the bleachers for 3 hours. Neither of us had very much fun, plus those things start so darn early in the morning.  By the evening, we were snippy to each other as we were getting ready to go over to some friends' house for smores. As we are grudgingly, grumpily getting in the car, Abbey starts to sing, "First John 3:18, first John 3:18" over and over she chants this Bible verse. I asked her what that verse said and where she learned it. She didn't answer, she just kept on singing. John said, "I'm going to find out, I think God may be speaking to us." So he went inside and looked up the verse. He came back to the car and said, "Dear children let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth." Enough said, we both got God's message loud and clear!

About the swim meet. Daniel did very well, winning both of the breast stroke events, but not bettering his time. He did cut off major time in 500 free and 400 IM.  He placed 2nd in the 400 IM. Placing in meets now is a big deal, because he is competing in the 15 and up division. So, he's swimming against guys who are sometimes lots older and bigger than he is.

Elijah blowing a kiss

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another Tarheel bred

  Daniel had a swim meet today, so he couldn't go with John to the Carolina vs Duke game. All of our children have attended Carolina football games as infants, so this was the perfect opportunity to indoctrinate Elijah! He was dressed in Carolina Blue from his hat down to his UNC squeeky shoes(Thanks Shannon). No one could walk past him as he strolled around campus without smiling and speaking to him. He was quite cute.


By the Old Well

 First drink from the Old Well

With the Victory Bell, which Carolina gets to keep for another year.

Two of my Tarheel Boys
He did very well with the game. He slept through the first half but enjoyed the second. He clapped to the band and pumped his fist to "Let's go Tarheels!" He was amazed, but not scared by the fireworks. Thankfully, there were a lot of fireworks the Heels whupped Duke, 19-6.

 Puckering up to give me a kiss

Not quite sure what this is all about

It was our graduating class's 25th reunion. Chapel Hill has always been special to me and John. We enjoy the chance to go back together. We usually spend a lot of time reminiscing about our college days. As we walked across the campus, John said, "25 years ago would you have thought that we be here walking around campus with our 6th child, and two of them would be from China?" I have to admit, that no, I wouldn't have thought it at all. But, if someone had told me that would be the case, even then the thought would have absolutely thrilled me! Today is one of those days when everything is right and I bask in happiness and gratefulness. It was a fun, fun day! I'm also grateful for my parents who enthusiastically agreed to come and hang out with Abbey!

It was cold after the game, but still decked out in Tarheel regalia