Thursday, July 28, 2011

A date night with my girlie!!!

It's late, but I had to come and blog about my date night tonight with my oldest girlie.

First, I took Zoelle out to eat (her choice of restaurant) and then to the musical Annie. We have a local theatre that puts on one major musical production each year and I love musicals. Zoelle loves the movie Annie, so long ago I knew I would be taking her to this.

I felt a little guilty not taking Meridian as well, but I figured she is too young to sit through it without interruption. Plus Zoelle and I need time together. The past few weeks I've found myself getting short with her, and in turn, her with me. I've mentioned before that she is a blonde hair, blue eyed, mini me. She is passionate, loud, and spirited. I am pretty much all of those things in an adult body that now knows how to control myself a bit. ;)

Sometimes, when you are so much like someone, you fight a lot. That is how it is at times with Zoelle and I. It started the day that Meridian was born. I've made many mistakes along the way and being our firstborn, she has to suffer through us basically learning how to be parents. Chris is so much more patient, gentle, and understanding than I am. However, I'm working through it, learning to ask for forgiveness when needed, and relying on God who has to deal with parenting me (which must be VERY similar to what I have to deal with). :)

It's a beautiful thing this parenting business and tonight I got tears in my eyes and chills on my arms as I spent some special time with the girl I still refer to as my baby girl. The wonder in her eyes and the excitement in her voice at all that transpired was so worth the night out. I love her and hope that this time together is a special memory for her and a bonding experience for both of us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family Pictures Featuring Holly D Photography

Each year, close to our anniversary, we take professional family pictures. To some that may seem like a waste of money. But as a photography loving girl, it's not to me. I love to look back on each picture and reminisce and see how each of has, or has not changed.

It's become somewhat of a challenge for me to learn to be creative on what I want to do each year. I like being unique and I like to have fun. This year, I ran across a photography blog with a really neat idea of using balloons out in an open prairie with the sun behind them. It was the perfect idea, except the day of our pictures was overcast and gray, and you know the balloons kept popping! But hey, all went well and Holly (our photographer) did amazing work.

So I wanted to do a personal shout out to her and recommend her as a photographer, if you are in my local area. Holly has been working with us since shortly after Xiomara was born and she is nothing short of amazing! It is not easy to get all three of my girls looking at the camera and smiling. I have one (who shall remain nameless) that likes to be stubborn for pictures and not smile, yet somehow Holly gets a good picture of her each time. Holly is personable and her pictures are stunning.

We have come to the end of our year of pictures of Xiomara, so I won't be seeing Holly until next year. However, that hasn't stopped me from planning next year's picture, and when I do, Holly will be taking it (and we are both scheming together on how to pull it off). ;)

Thank you again Holly! You are beyond fantastic and it's been really amazing to see you grow this past year as a photographer! Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I hate change and goodbyes!

I'm not a big fan of change and I hate goodbyes. This week I had both in my life.

Our dear next door neighbor Ann decided it was time to move closer to her children. Ann is in her 70's (doesn't she look great?), she loves to garden, is always on the go, and she loves my girls. My girls in return love her.

We moved into our house close to eight years ago when we first got married. It didn't take long for us to get to know Ann. She was always outside working in her gardens and so she would often help me, a brand new young married girl, learn how to garden. She also would can or make cookies and share them with us.

The best part of it all is that when the girls came along, she just loved them and treated them like a Grandma would. Often her and Zoelle would work together in her garden. The girls had free reign to ring her doorbell and then run away giggling knowing that Ann would laugh right along with them. On warm summer days, she would get out the ice cream and the ice cream cones and her and the girls would share a treat together!

It's been lonely here since she left. I feel as if I lost a friend, a Grandma of sorts. I'll miss Meridian and Zoelle running and saying "Hi Ann" whenever they saw her outside. I'll miss hearing her talk to herself as she gardens while I am sitting on my front porch. I'll just plain miss her.

Then I think to myself that I have the opportunity now to be an "Ann" to the new neighbors. To show them the same love and comfort that Ann gave all of us. It's a gift really and I hope I can pass it on just as graciously as Ann did to us.

Do you know your neighbors? How do you treat each other? Have you ever had to say goodbye to a neighbor you really loved?

Monday, July 18, 2011

These are the days of summer...

I've been pretty quiet lately. The reason? I've been struggling. To be honest, I went back and forth about whether or not I even wanted to post this post, but I figured being completely real here on my blog is what I need for not only myself, but also what others need.

We are smack dab in the middle of summer. I love summer! The humidity, the heat, the sand on my feet, the swimming, the lake, the pool, eating outside, the fruits, the veggies, going on walks, and I could go on and on. I love it all! Every bit of it.


And that is when I begin to panic. It's half over.

I'm trying to take every advantage of it, but in the back of my mind I keep thinking it's almost over. And then I panic and cry a little at the thought of it being almost done.

This is what my face looks like in the winter! :(

While I don't hate winter, I don't exactly love it. I like snow, but not in huge amounts and to be honest I think I would be perfectly happy if it was 70 degrees through the winter months and then in the summer hot, hot, and more hot!

If I'm truthful, it is becoming more clear to me that I want to move. I'm finding myself extremely restless in our small house as our family grows, and also in our small town. But we can't move. There is such a thing as Chris' job. I do believe though that if the opportunity ever presented itself to me, I would move in a heartbeat. 

Sigh...I love this!

So instead I'm enjoying summer, praying for a short and warm winter, and praying that maybe just maybe, somehow we could go on a family vacation to someplace warm in the dead of winter! So if I'm quiet around here, it's because I'm enjoying the days and really trying not to focus on winter.

Do you like where you live? If you want to move but can't, how do you stay content?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In case you were wondering, we really are busy!

Last night I smiled as I cleaned my house. No cleaning house isn't that much fun! Not even with Norwex as my husband says. No instead I was smiling for what I heard around me as I cleaned. In the midst of the whirl of the vacuum cleaner I could hear Xiomara screeching as she was able to steal a sippy cup from her sister and drink water out of it. Then I heard Zoelle teaching Meridian how to say water in Spanish. "Meridian can you say agua?" "Papa?" says Meridian. "No agua!" repeats Zoelle. And it goes on and on until Zoelle finally gives up out of exasperation.

And through it all I smile. We are loud. We are crazy. We are busy.

Yes, that last one gets me. Two days before we went out to eat at a local restaraunt with a family friend. This restaurant happens to be very busy in the summer. Let's just say that bringing kids there probably isn't the best idea, but our girls happened to be very well behaved. Well the whole time we are eating and visiting, Chris and I both notice many furitive glances and whispers. Many comment on our girls hair. The comments on their curly hair happen often, and I like it because I know their hair is beautiful and I want them to appreciate it. But, there is always that one comment, just the one that rubs me the wrong way.

"Boy are you sure busy! You have your hands full don't you?" And then we sit there and smile and nod and they stare at us as if they expect us to agree. And in a way, I do agree. We are busy! It's just we aren't busy in a negative way.

I try and explain it to them but I can see on their faces that my explanation is lost on them. How do I explain to them that while yes I have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old, and yes it is loud, and crazy, and busy, it's ok? That our girls are not a burden? Not a hindrance? We enjoy them! We love them! And I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world!

We are crazy! We are busy! But it's what makes up our family! And I love it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

One Year Ago Today

We met you one year ago today Xiomara. For the first time, I'm sharing publicly how God performed a miracle with your adoption. I thought it would be fitting to share on your one year anniversary in our family. I love you sweet baby girl!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Our First Glimpse Of You

*Thank you Clarissa for giving us this picture via cell phone right after birth. Thank you "J" for allowing us to have these pictures.

Happy 1st Birthday Xiomara

Dear Xiomara,

I'm not ready for this day! At all! Pretty sure that if somehow I could avoid this day coming forever, I would. Today you turn one (or 12 months as Zoelle likes to tell you). It doesn't seem possible because it was just yesterday that we got the phone call from Clarissa (your birthmom's social worker) that you were on your way. It was just yesterday that we met you for the first time. It was just yesterday that we fell in love with our little girl. And now yesterday is today and today you are one.

I don't have a birth story for you. Not really. Instead, just an adoption story. But really it's not just an adoption story. It is far greater than that. It is a story of love, sacrifice, and courage. One that your birthmom "J" took in placing you into our arms. One that we took in trusting God to place you in our arms. I'm thankful that both of us said yes one year ago today.

At one you can crawl and keep up with your sisters, you pull up on furniture, you stand in a middle of a room until you flop back onto your little butt. You can say mama, dada (which you say constantly), you can say banana (nana), you say num-num when you eat food, you wave and say hi, you wave goodbye, you sign all done, you sign more, and you clearly shake your head for no if you don't like/want something, or shake it yes if you do. You love to dance and clap your hands! I'm still not quite used to you sitting up like a big girl. You are still an excellent napper and night sleeper (I just wish you would snuggle with us more, but you love your crib). You love to swim! Even though you are tiny, you LOVE food (that you chew with your tiny two front teeth)! One of my most treasured memories will be of God giving me the ability to nurse you. You love it and I enjoy looking down into your big brown eyes and chocolatey skin and memorizing every little thing about you as you get nurished by your mama.

Oh how I love you little girl! More than you will ever know! As silly as it sounds, sometimes I feel as if my heart could burst from the love I have for you! The best word to describe you is joy! I never could have guessed in a million years how much joy you would bring to our family. You smile constantly! You giggle often! You rarely cry! The whole family is happier with you in our lives!

The joy and happiness you bring is sure to draw others into both you and the Lord. Your dad and I pray over your little body often that God would use your joy and hapiness for His glory. How fun that will be to see! But for now, stay little just a little longer, giggle those little squealy giggles just a bit more, and be our little girl forever.

Happy 1st birthday Xiomara Marie! I love you!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th Of July!!

It's late...almost midnight, but I wanted to get in a quick Happy 4th of July to my readers (and to share this adorable picture of our girls). Hope your weekend was as enjoyable as ours! In 5 days we went camping, went to the waterpark, spent lots of time in the sun, went to the lake, swam, ate lots of food, went flying with my dad (he is a recreational pilot), watched fireworks, and spent lots of time with family. Best of all, was that Chris was with us for those 5 days. These are some of the best days I can ever remember! Loved it!

Hope your 4th was just as special! Feel free to share with me what you did for your weekend!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

It's no secret that I tend to go all out for birthday parties. However, right now I have declared we are only doing big family birthday parties for each girl's first birthday. After that, who knows what will happen. Thus, I have made each one a big deal. For Zoelle's first birthday the theme was cupcakes and ice cream cones. For Meridian's first birthday (which also was Zoelle's third birthday), I did a rainbow theme. This year I planned out the party to be for all three girls, in June (so that it is in the middle of the three birthdays). I also planned the theme way out in advance. The theme would be The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Our girls love to read! They beg me every day to read multiple books to them. We go to storytime once a week at our local library. We read every chance we can get. One of our favorite authors is Eric Carle. One of our favorite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  So it fit that we would choose this theme for our party. The key was how to pull off decorations and a cake that fit my perfectionist style.

        Note to self: Next time take pictures at the start of the party!

I found the dresses early (yay for that). Words cannot describe how incredible these dresses are! From the detail, to the sewing, to the fit, these dresses are perfect! I know you are all waiting to hear where I got them, Nelle*s Oh So Sweet Handmade on Etsy. Loved her! She was easy to work with, quick in her work, and like I said the dresses are beautiful. We will be using these again for upcoming family pictures. Thank you again Ellen!! :)

One of my favorite decorations had to be the hanging butterflies which I got the idea from this blog. The older girls pretty much colored those all by themselves, and I put them together. Unfortunately, the day of the party was windy, looked like rain, and not very nice out. So, our party got moved inside. However, we were still able to decorate and throw the party at my dad's work (thank you dad). The only bummer was the lighting wasn't the best for pictures. :(

For me the greatest part of the party is always the cake. However this year I was at a loss of what to do for the cake. I thought about making a simple one, or ordering one. But in the back of my mind I knew I wanted a tiered cake, I just didn't know how to do it. Finally a few weeks before the party was suppose to happen, we decided to order fondant decorations from Edible Details. I decided I wanted each thing that the caterpillar ate displayed (in order from top to bottom) on the cake. Brittany is talented! Everyone that came to the party could not believe the small detail she put into each piece. My girls were in love, I was in love, and more importantly my husband was in love (being he paid for it)! ;)

Our party was on a Sunday and on Friday night at midnight or so, I turned to Chris and asked him how he wanted to make the cakes. Yep, I was that unorganized! So after some discussing and running to the grocery store that is open all night long, we finally made up the fondant and went to bed around 3 a.m.. Saturday morning we got up with the kids, I ran over to my friend Tami's house to borrow pans (thanks again Tami), and we got cooking. The girls love chocolate, so I decided to turn to iambaker and modify her Best Chocolate Cake recipe to the girls liking (meaning I replaced the coffee with milk). Again, I have never made a 3 level tiered cake before, and I had never worked with fondant before. Thus, I had Chris do the majority of it and it was his first time as well (thank you honey)! After baking on and off all day, we finally assembled the cake late that night. It went perfectly! Well, besides a few little bubbles or rips, which were covered up by the fondant decorations from Brittany or the gumballs that we put around each base.

Xiomara was a dainty eater! Thanks to Meridian for the pretty artwork on the highchair! ;)

Overall, our day was wonderful! The girls could not stop talking about the cake and we all enjoyed time with our families. Thanks to everyone who made this day special for years to come for my girls!

To my girls: Time is going too quickly! Your daddy and I truly are seeing our three little caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies both on the outside and in. We love you!