Wednesday, September 28, 2011

maybe a little terrible

Grace has found her way to our time-out chair.

In the corner of the dining room, facing the wall.

She's doing a fair amount of hitting and pinching.

The punching bag... her brother, whom she calls Bubba (aka Devin).

The honeymoon lasted a while.

But, I'm afraid it is WAY over.

and the war has begun. Ahhh... the love of siblings.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


She's TWO!

and certainly not terrible.

We sure had fun celebrating with her!

and remembered last year when we vowed that she would never spend another birthday without her family.

(last year)

So, surrounded by her family. We celebrated her second birthday... her first at HOME...

Eating noodles and dumplings.

and cupcakes.

and another party on Sunday with her family... complete with balloons and cake.

She had no idea what was happening. A little unsure about all the people singing happy birthday to her. But she sure did enjoy the cake. and the presents.

Don't ask about the swollen eye. and the big red marks all over her face from the family party photos...long story for another post.

Happy Birthday Gracie!!! What joy you bring to our lives!

Monday, September 19, 2011

About those mooncakes

I’d LOVE to say how super delicious they were.

Just like a warm apple pie fresh out of the oven on a cool fall day.



GRACE loved them! Ate two pieces!

The rest of us… um...

maybe next year we’ll have these instead…

moonPIES. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Year Ago

During this week, one year ago, I spent many hours with my family (mom, dad, aunts, uncles and cousins) at the bedside of my Grandmother who was in the final stages of life.

At the same time, I was on and off the phone and email with the adoption agency waiting to send our dossier to China.

I knew we could receive a referral at any time… I just didn’t know when the call would come.

I had just left the nursing home, not really sure if, when I returned later that evening, my Grandmother would still be with us … and the phone rang. I saw the Colorado number and knew... This. Was. It.

Steve was home. I was about a 30 minute drive away.

The email came a few minutes after the phone call. I forwarded it to Steve. Got on the phone with him and we both opened the picture at the same time.

There’s really nothing that can ever describe seeing your child for the first time. Especially a child that is a year old and living on the other side of the world. Those first pictures of her were beautiful but also…

OH so scary. This was really it. We were really doing this. Here she was… the real thing, not some dream.

A tiny grainy picture. Taken months earlier of a beautiful baby girl we would call our daughter.

It was two weeks shy of her first birthday.

The convergence of emotions on that day was something that cannot be described in words. How could I be flying SO HIGH seeing her pictures and reading her story for the first time.

And yet…grieving so deeply for my Grandmother?

I went back to the nursing home that evening… and quietly whispered into my Grandmother’s ear….

“We know who she is. Where she is. What she looks like. She is beautiful. We will go and get her as soon as we can”.

The next morning….the matriarch of our big Italian family was no longer with us here on earth.

At the same time, our family welcomed its newest member from far across the ocean.

Coincidence? No way.

God’s hand was all over ever aspect of this adoption. From placing it on our heart years ago, to providing us with her picture just moments before my Grandmother took her final breath, to just this past Sunday when we celebrated my Grandmother’s life together as a family…. during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

As family we celebrated my Grandmother’s life, eating an Italian feast at her favorite restaurant and then sharing a NEW tradition… a tradition of her Great-Granddaughter’s heritage… MOONCAKES!

What I haven’t yet told you about my Grandmother. She was the biggest supporter of our adoption. Some other family members…unsure, confused, and perhaps even scared for us.

Not my Grandmother.

You see… my Grandmother knew what it was like to be an orphan and live in an orphanage. She WAS an orphan. She lived in an orphanage for a period of time in her young life.

I don't believe the wounds of her time in the orphanage ever fully healed. But, perhaps, the news I whispered in her the night before her death, brought her peace.

So, here we are year a later. Truth is, our hearts had been bound to Grace months before we saw her picture... but it was at that moment, one year ago, that we saw her chubby cheeks, fuzzy hair and beautiful brown eyes for the first time.

She was 7000 miles away. But we knew.... she was our daughter. Our Sister. Our Niece. Our Granddaughter

and our Great-Granddaughter.

Friday, September 9, 2011

mornings with four

I was prepared.

Four lunches were made the night before. Clothes all set. Backpacks ready to go.

ALL I had to do was get myself and four kids dressed and fed and out the door by 8 am.

This morning, this is how it went down....

7:15 - everyone happily eating

7:40 - everyone dressed

7:50 - everyone's teeth brushed

and here is where it starts to go bad.

Approximately 7:58 - two minutes until launch...

I walk into Kailey's room and into a puddle. The rug. Soaked. The hard wood floor. Puddles. The dresser. Soaking wet.

With two minutes until launch, I ask (admittedly, not very nicely) "KAILEY WHAT HAPPENED IN HERE"?

Her response... "oh I was spraying my hair with water and it got a little wet".

I look up and find that my daughter's hair looks like she just stepped out of the bathtub.

"Kailey you don't need that much water... now get a towel and clean this up".

8:02 - four minutes later and now two minutes late.

..... for any of you out there that try to get yourself and four kids out the door in the morning, you understand... Every. Minute. Counts. You run a wee bit late and you miss the bus. and then you have to drive the kids to school. and now you are 10 minutes late. and 10 minutes later the traffic is that much worse. and you end up being 15 or 20 minutes late. All because of one minute....

....back to my story.

8:02 - Kailey decides she doesn't want the pretzels I had packed for snack. She gets out the big bag of pretzels and begins putting her pretzels back in the bag. She then spills the ENTIRE bag of pretzels on the floor.

She cries. Screams really. Knowing that I am likely to be frustrated with her.

Which, of course I am not.

ME? Frustrated? NO!

Grace sees SNACK!!!! and runs over and plops herself in the pile of pretzels and begins shoveling them into her mouth. As she gorges herself on pretzels the weight of her little body crushes a good many into bits.

All on my kitchen floor.

It is now 8:04.

I decide to leave the pile of pretzels until.... I don't know when, 4:00 that afternoon when I return home?

I herd the four kids out the door and into the car. Kailey, with soaking wet hair and a tear stained face, realizes she has forgotten her backpack. And that her flip flops were the wrong choice for shoes.


Finally, we arrive at Devin and Grace's daycare. I look at Devin's face, apparently for the first time since breakfast, and see that he has jelly ALL over his face.

Then Grace sneezes a few times and the pretzels from the kitchen floor she had shoveled into her mouth a few minutes earlier had come out of her nose and are now all over her face.

As I pull into the parking lot, a good friend waves from across they way. I wave back. A few minutes later I receive a text from my friend "you didn't look too happy, everything OK". Wow. Was it THAT noticeable? 100 yards away and through a car window she knew it was a bad morning.

She has four kids. She gets it.

After that, all went smoothly. Grace went happily to daycare. Devin too. and somehow I managed NOT to strangle my angel Kailey.

Luckily, Braden and Devin cooperated this morning. Imagine if they didn't.

I arrived at work at 9:03.


Of course, I handled these 10 minutes (geez was it only 10 minutes... felt like an hour) with much grace, patience, decorum and kindness. Ahem.

and, of course, this is not a typical morning. Ahem.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

sleeping beauty

First.... I should be congratulated. Last Friday (slight delay in my posts as of late), I got all four kids to off to school and daycare and I was at work by 8:50. Somewhat presentable... well, accept for the hole in my shirt that my boss pointed out to me mid-morning.


My co-workers will tell you... 8:50... THAT right there is a miracle. I'm usually more likely to arrive about about 9:10. I know. I know. To the rest of the working world 8:50 is really late to start a work day. But, I don't think the rest of the working world has four kids. At least that's what I keep telling myself anyway.

Grace and Devin very happily went to daycare.

I cried.

Mid-day... my awesome daycare teachers sent me a text with the above picture.

Sound asleep on her little cot, monkey tucked ever so safely under her arm. I was told she hadn't moved in 1.5 hours.

She hadn't cried all day... except just once when she caught a glimpse of Devin playing outside. She missed her brother and wanted to go play with him. So sweet.

We are one full week into the school year... how many left?