Saturday, December 27, 2014

Side trips before and after Evie's birthday party, Oct 18-19

While traveling to Evie Claire's first birthday party in Maryland, we decided to take advantage of the area and have a couple of mini-excursions.

Before the party, we went to Mount Vernon. This is one of John's most favorite places to be. We've been there several times.

It was quite chilly, with the breeze coming off of the river.

Our kids were more interested in the sheep than any of the historical buildings.

The next day we took the Metro from Maryland to Washington, DC. This was Elijah's first real visit to our nation's capital.

Just like the subway, half of their fun is riding the Metro

It was a beautiful day. We walked and walked and walked. We got to see most of the monuments.

Enjoying a hotdog on the mall
We had to pick and choose which museum we went to. We ended up going to the history and space museums. Elijah was mesmerized by the first Mustang.

The morning of the party we visited the Monocacy Battlefield. John is a bit of a Civil War battle buff, and he was able to learn some new facts at this battleground.

On the way home, we stopped and climbed Pilot Mountain.

View of the valley

The pinnacle "knob"

Lovely fall colors

John and the kids enjoyed climbing, I kept my feet on the ground and just served as the paparazzi.

It was a wonderful, relaxing four days. The highlight was celebrating the first year of life of our grand daughter, but it was neat to throw in a few extra side trips in there.


Monday, December 22, 2014


Yesterday, Abbey came and put her arms around my neck, as I unsuspectedly sat at the computer in the kitchen.

"I love you, Mommy, so, so, much!" Before I could respond, she continued…"my birthmom; not so much."

I was taken off guard by that, so I was trying to think how I should respond. Then she came out with, "I didn't really want to live in China anyway!"

I've read lots about adoptees grieving their losses and I know it may come later, but for now I don't see any of it.

 I decided to neither reinforce nor correct her thinking. I don't want her to feel that, if she one day changes her thinking, she can't come and tell me about it. I want there to be open communication about her adoption, regardless of how she feels about it. So, I told her that I believed God was and is taking care of her no matter where she lived. I held her in my lap, kissed her and told her that I was incredibly grateful that she was my daughter, that she is smart, beautiful and a very important part of our family. I told her that where she was born didn't matter to me, she was my daughter and that I couldn't love her any more, even if she had come from my "tummy"!

And that's completely true!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

He doesn't change

This Christmas holiday is barreling straight for us at unprecedented speed. Normally, I'd be stressing about getting everything done, but it would be with an expectantly joyful heart. This year, I'm still stressing about getting everything done, but everything I do is filled with a tinge of dread. Every present I buy and wrap makes me sad. Every decoration I hang fills me with wistfully sad recognition. Recognition that this Christmas will be woefully different.

Our family has been enduring quite a series of trials in the past 3 months. These trials have been painful and stretched us mightily as a family. In some ways it has strengthened us, in other ways, it has rocked our world in a way that still has us reeling as we try to find some stability in the wake of the earth shaking which has endangered some of  the things we value as a family.

So in the face of this low time…here comes Christmas!

Christmas…our favorite holiday, built around many fun and bonding traditions.

Christmas…a time where, at some point, we all are together, laughing and sharing our lives.

But. Not.This.Year.

Things will be very different and those differences are hurting my heart. I'm mourning the Christmas that I know and love. I've had a horrible time even smiling and wishing people I encounter a cheery, "Merry Christmas". I just couldn't bring myself to say it when I felt like my Christmas will be anything but "Merry". (I know, I know,  painfully selfish of me)

But, as usual, God spoke to me today. During worship at church this morning, the first song we sang had these lyrics, "To the unchanging one. To the unfailing one…"


God instantly spoke to my heart. My traitorous heart.  My heart which had taken God from his throne and replaced it with my kids and our traditions. While there is nothing wrong with loving my kids and enjoying their presence as we participate in traditions we all love, there is something very wrong when I replace the reason for those traditions. Christ is the reason we celebrate. Christ is the reason we can be happy. His birth, life and death are the reasons to celebrate, and those things will never change, whether we are all together or not! Whether we get to do our usual traditions or not. It shouldn't matter. God will never change. Our earthly circumstance may will change, but God will not! On that I can rely and be glad!

I can be glad for the kids that do get to celebrate with us, no matter if it is the whole crew or not. I can be glad for the traditions we get to  celebrate, regardless of who is there to participate. I can be glad because God is faithful and loves me enough to speak specifically to me through a praise song. I can be glad that we will look back on this Christmas as the year that God got us through a tough time.

Because He is and will always be…I can be joyful!

So this afternoon as I checked out at a store, I looked the harried clerk in the eye and said, "Merry Christmas!" Yup, I said it, I meant it and it felt great!!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Little Miss Evie turns one!

One year ago on Oct. 28, our family was enlarged by one. This little one is one loved girl! This was very apparent during her first birthday celebration. In attendance to celebrate Evie Claire's life were three great grandfathers, two great grandmothers, three grandfathers, three grandmothers, three aunts, two uncles, a cousin, a mom and dad (of course) along with several friends and some extended family. Many of us had to travel quite a long distance. It was a beautiful day to celebrate a beautiful little girl's life.

A pet name for Evie is Evie Claire-bear. So we had a teddy bear theme.

I made the cake, packed it in dry ice and carried it in the car for 5 hours, then kept it in the hotel freezer until the party.

Her mom wore these on her first birthday.

This dress was also her mom's.

Aunt Meg and Conner

With Nana and Layne

Great Grandma and great Grandfather

With Papa

With Granna and T-Pop

With Pappy

With Mimi and cousin Layne

Midway through the party Evie had a costume change

What is this stuff?

Evie never met a food she didn't like, and that goes double for cake.

She's thinking, "Maybe Abbey would like it too!"

Such a cutie!

Then presents!

All that partying can surely wear a girl out!
This was my favorite part of the day, snuggling with this precious little one.

Bella thought, "at least I get a new snuggle toy"