And then there was Pippa!

How to begin describing this day.... wow... wow..... wow! We are in LOVE with dear Pippa!  Right now, we are in our hotel room and seeing so many smiles and fun "talk" from her.  It's amazing all that has happened in just a few hours... so I'll start at the beginning: 

6:00 am  Woke up.. couldn't go back to sleep.... excited today was the DAY! But honestly, I was nervous too...... I guess because this is the day we have been waiting for... for sooo long and it was now here!  So we headed to the orphanage and I loved seeing the place where Pippa lived.  The grounds are beautiful and there are flowers around it and a little park meandering along.  We walked into the main building and straight to the meeting room. Immediately we began signing paperwork, etc.  And then a film crew was there from Shanghai and they asked if they could film and interview us for tv... and we said "Sure!"  Thought it was one more way to share about adoption and share how God led us to this day!  Other families started coming in and it was fun to meet all of them. Some of them I have met through my Shanghai groups on email so putting the names with faces was really special!  And then Mike was videoing the room and the families and all of a sudden he turned around and said, "There is Pippa!!"  And before we knew it... she was right there in the room.... it was like she just popped in!  The fun part is that we have it all on video and we laughed watching it because it was one of those unexpected moments!  We ran over to her and I immediately took her in my arms.  And she just stared and looked and took everything in.

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I wondered what was going through her mind and what she was thinking because she was very quiet at first.... but Mike and I were bubbling over with excitement and talking to her and holding her and taking turns taking photos of her.  It was magical!!

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Lollipops came out and she enjoyed that for a bit and then we gave her some peach puffs... honestly, I think she thought those were not so good...

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And then she started crying some and just getting mad.  She would throw her arm down like she was very "done with it all" and I could tell she was frustrated because she couldn't express herself the way she wanted.  I think she was realizing that she was with these new people with new smells and it wasn't her room that she was used to.  All these things were changing right before her eyes. You can see that sad look in her eyes in picture above. The grieving had already started and we weren't even in the van yet. It broke my heart but Mike and I both realized that she would go through this. 

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So we got in the van after some more photos and Mike was interviewed by the Shanghai film team... and then in the van we had a not so happy camper.  Pippa cried the entire way back to the hotel (at least 30 minutes). It was kind of like a mad cry because there were not lots of tears just frustrated gasps and cries.  We tried to console her but nothing really helped and I think our driver was wanting us to make her happy but we just didn't have anything really to make her happy. She was inconsolable.

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But back at the hotel, we discovered the secret in making her happy.... food.  Mike and our guide went off to buy some snacks for Pippa and when they came back with all this great food, Pippa loved it all.

She ate eggs and rice and almost an entire banana that she loved!  She had a bottle of formula and some apple juice and a whole yogurt cup.  Plus. some chocolate chips that she also loved.  And with eat bite of food,  it was like all the stress inside of her started melting and she started smiling more and laughing.  

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She slept a little bit but wouldnt' sleep by herself, she had to lay on me to sleep and I didn't mind a bit... however, we have no idea how tonight will go.  Am hoping she can sleep well!

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We did end up changing her diaper but she did NOT like her pink outfit being taken off of her.  She was desperate for me to put some of it back on and she was so sad that her yellow sweather was not going back on her.  I think she was so accustomed to the same outfit being worn day after day that it was like part of her identity.  So I put new pjs on her and then put her pink jacket back on her and then she was half way happy.

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The smiles started coming out more and more when daddy read a book to her and then played stacking blocks with her.  And we had fun playing tea party and just being together and giving her more food and snacks.  In fact, in a few hours,  her eyes were all lit up and sparkly and she is talking more and laughing.  Yea!!

It was a day of days!! Full of emotion for all of us and ending with a little girl who is now with her mommy and daddy!  We are so in love with her and I can't stop staring at her and all her cuteness!! She has our hearts and we are sooo happy!  Overall it's been a super great day!  It's hard to see her grieve and cry but also we understand this is part of it.   I can't imagine going from all things familiar to all things not familiar ... with a new language and new people and new smells and sights and sounds.... and surroundings.  

Tonight she is doing great and we are savoring these first moments with her! Have no idea what tonight will bring, but we need sleep badly so as you're waking up and reading this, pray that she'll sleep!

Today has been a gift!! We are sooo happy to have her in our lives!!  She is amazing and we can't wait for you all to meet dear sweet Pippa soon!

Snippets of Beach and Bay Week

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Had a super wonderful whirlwind spring break week at the beach in Seagrove, FL and then on the bay in Fairhope, AL!
Here are some snippets of pics from our days under the sunshine!

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Lunch at Pickles... always a favorite.

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Sunset dinner.... Rosie enjoying her yummy shrimp!
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Kayak time with Mike and his dad.

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Bike rides with Gee Gee and Da.

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Beach time.... play time.

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Sand Skiing down the hill.

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Our last four days of our beach time was actually on the bay in Fairhope, Alabama.  Three day art show with pure sunshine...  Great to see old friends and make new ones!

Now we're back in Birmingham.....
 Quiet morning.....time to unpack...... wash clothes.... get back into a daily routine....enjoy the spring time... and little flowers.
 And so I'll start this week with a favorite quote:

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
Hans Christian Anderson

Under the Moon

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Perfect night under the moon....

Friends over for a cook out.
7 kids running around and playing throughout the evening.
Enjoying the first perfect March night.

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After the friends headed home.... our little family sat under the moon and watched the fire.
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The moon was bright and magical.

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Mo Mo loved being the watchdog.

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We ate marshmallows.

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And sang...

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And gazed at the fire....

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And MoMo watched for his "friendly" chipmunk.

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After campfire time, the kiddies watched "Little Einsteins" and then headed to bed.

Thank you March for such a wonderful magical evening:)
Love these days and nights of spring!

Silver White Winter....

Silver white winters that melt into spring......these are a few of my favorite things....

Amazing that just a few days ago our yard looked like this......

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But the winter has melted into spring.... and we are ready!!!

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So here's our list for spring time fun!

1. Pink polka dot bathing suit....... check

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2. Smiles for spring....... check

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3. Happy dance....... check.

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4. Floppy flower hat.... check.

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5. Saying "Hi" to the fish and "Welcome to Spring!" ..... check.

Yea for March!

Yea for Sunshine!

We are ready for these sweet days!!! Hooray!

Night of Watercolors

 

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Tonight we broke out the watercolors and we had quietness and creativity flowing for about 30 minutes.......And in those 30 minutes, magical things happened.

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Rosie learned how water can make colors flow on paper and swirl around like the ocean.

(Love Rosie's hand on her head and painting with such concentration.... makes me smile)

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And love Sam's painting of a fly fisherman in a lightning storm.

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I think the fly fisherman was struck by lightning... but then....
God was painted on the paper and saved the fisherman!

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Yes, a sweet night of discovering more of the land of art and water and colors. 
And yes, a few cups of water spilled....(Rosie tried to drink the water from the paint cup and also from the water rolling along on her paper)..... the joys of discovery.... the curiosity of being a little one.

Thanks Sam and Rosie for reminding me that with a little paint and water and paper......... a regular weekday night can have a little magic in it.

Neighborland

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Sweet time with our old neighbors this past weekend.  We love and miss them dearly and each time we see them it is extra special and the kids have a blast together!  Boys can't have an official play time without their light sabers!

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And Rosie had a fun time too with her new friend! Here is Gideon ( the youngest of the 3 boys) teaching her a little game. 

Happy + Fun + Neighbors  =  Wonderful!

Loving Valentines

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12 things I loved about our Valentine family night:

1. Little candle lights glowing.

2. Sweet pink and white Gerber daisies.

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4.  Painted hearts.
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(Mike told me the other night at dinner how his mom always had a special box filled with Valentines and the presents had a string attached to them so you pulled out your present with a string! Loved that idea and carrying on a family tradition so with our new family of 4 we made our own Valentine box!
Thank you for the idea Gee Gee!)
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6. Our little valentine pixie.

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7. The amazing Valentine dinner Mike made.
Mike roasted garlic in the oven and it made the entire house smell heavenly.
menu:
 Garlic mashed potatoes, spring salad, homemade balsamic dressing, steak with red wine sauce...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

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8.  Happy love in our little family.

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9. The bubbly.

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10. The dancing.

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11. Mo Mo's heart smiles.

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12. Night cap:  A game of ping pong!

Yes, one of my favorite Valentine's ever! 
Thank you little family.  xxxooo

My Two Writers

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A new ritual has sprung up in our house and one that I am very happy about!
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Sam came into my bedroom the other night and said, "Maybe when I'm ten, I'll have my own journal and start writing stories."  But then before I knew it, he was sitting in the puffy chair and he pulled up a little table and decided he wanted to start writing in a journal right away.  Well, that's all I needed to see because writing in my journal is so near to my heart!  Love love to write and have been keeping a journal since 6th grade.  And now that Sam is 6 years old and can write a little, he wants to start one. Yipeeee!! 

(Oh, yes, that is Rosie's little head peeking out of the chair.) ( with her little piggy tail.)

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 Rosie pretending to sleep... Sam writing away...

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The next day... ( after the happy writing night).... I found Rosie wanting to do the same thing!
She adores all things Sam! Love it!

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And  now Rosie starts her journey of writing.

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The 2nd night of writing begins....After bath time, the writer ( Sam) heads to his special chair and starts his story.  ( It was inspired by a little stuffed dog he picked out for Valentines.)
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Looks like he is thinking something in Italian or Russian...
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And then Rosie hops along and starts her nightly journal time.

 To see my kiddies inspired to write makes my heart glow and I look forward to more quiet little nights like this.  Forget the wii for now.... we have paper and pen and can sure create many adventuresome people and dogs, bunnies, talking flowers and pirates!