Sunday, December 29, 2013

6 Months Home and Bragging Rights.

Today marks 6 months since we landed back in the US with the cutest little Chinese girl known to man...of course we are really biased.
Neither of us could have imagined just how hard it would be going back to toddler-ville but despite it all we wouldn't change a thing. Jenna Grace is the most precious little girl. She gives us joy from the moment she wakes up until we say good night every single day. Yes, there are moments of frustration, tears (not just hers either) and questioning our ability to parent but the good always outweighs the bad. And the truth is, its not about us. Its about God. He equips us every day. He is faithful even when we mess up. Thank you Jesus. There is so much freedom in that truth.

Jenna Grace is thriving. She is so smart, we can't even stand it. Once again, we are super biased. Here is where she is at and all she has learned since being home.
She can count to 4. And counts with me to 10.
She knows yellow, blue and red.
She loves to recite the alphabet and sing songs. I love to hear "again" and happily oblige.
She can name all her body parts and the clothing that covers them. She can put on her own shoes and slippers.
She will tell you her name and how old she is.
She is still potty training but I am in no hurry.
She recently learned to jump and jumps around everywhere. Its so cute.
She LOVES Elmo and got a small one for Christmas (no talking ones thank you very much). She can also name all of the Sesame Street characters.
She loves going for walks, swinging and going down her slide. She loves to pick dandelions and blow on those puffy ones (dandelion seeds?).
She knows all her animals and the sounds they make. We will even sing "What does the fox say...?" and she says nay nay nay etc... Soooooo cute!
She LOVES books which I am thrilled about.
I know, I am bragging but who wouldn't be proud. She has only been in this country for 6 months!!

JG with her foster family. I found out the little girl to the left was adopted and living in CA. 

JG was a sponsored child and the next three pics are the info that was sent out about her. So cool.



This was the pic we received with her referral. 

JG and her foster mama.


And with her forever family who loves her more than we know how to express. 

And our precious smiley girl. The light of our lives. So blessed!
Adoption is such a gift and I truly thank God He blessed us with this opportunity.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas...Jenna Grace's First ONE.

There is no better time of the year than Christmas. I have always loved it and with a little one in the house again, am looking forward to creating some magic with her. Don't get me wrong, I have just as good a time with my boys but now they are older its not quite as magical.

Since we have no extended family to share in the festivities with we are beginning to create our own traditions and I am very excited about this. A few that we have already are Christmas Eve brunch with the Teagues, Christmas Eve night with the Daigles and then once home we settle in to watch Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sims. This tradition has been handed down from my mom. This was her favorite movie at Christmas and its what we watched every year for as far back as I can remember.
The kids wake up to their stockings left by their doors and I plan to continue that until they have kids.

This year I also tried my hand at some baking. I'm not a natural in the kitchen (and don't really care to be) but made several dozen cookies, some muddy buddies (those are amazing), southern pecan pie squares (a total hit), and cinnamon sugar pecans and almonds (also amazing). I am pretty sure most of those will make a return next year and maybe I'll add to it. On top of that the Christmas lunch was beyond good! We dispensed with turkey a couple of years back and only make a ham now. No complaints from anyone. Add to that, sweet potato pie, mashed taters, green bean casserole (a must), rolls, and gravy and we were rolling from the table to the couch. Sooo, good. Of course everyone retreated to either couch (up or down) to slip into a coma while watching mind numbing TV or playing video games. I, on the other hand coaxed a not-so-willing-but-went-anyway hubby to join me on a walk. It was just the ticket and I returned feeling much more human.

Having 3 older kids I knew the present thing wouldn't be as early as normal but had no idea it would end up being the 2 year old who would keep us waiting. JG didn't wake up until 10:30. Yes, you read that right. And actually when I went in there to make sure she was still breathing...she was still asleep. How crazy is that?!
We read from Luke 2, put on A Charlie Brown Christmas and handed our sweet girl her first present. I don't think she had any idea what was going on but obliged in opening her first present while we all sat and watched in wonder.


video

She loves her bunny!

Jenn and Lee (pictured below) making brunch. 




Me and "THE" Kerri. We go back 13 years. We've been through it all. 


Me and my brother making faces. 







Singing together. 


Lets go shopping. 

Jared couldn't make it through the Christmas Carol. 






















Grandma sent JG this very cute dress up dress. 




We all had a wonderful day and I am ever thankful for each and every moment I get to spend with my family. They are such a gift and I don't (hopefully) take them for granted. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lately...

I finally got around to uploading/downloading pics from my phone to iPhoto on my mac and thought wow, here's a blog post.

So, in no particular order my life lately...











For the first time in many years we had professional pics taken by the uber talented Laurie Crutchfield. http://www.crutchfieldphotography.com/ She was absolutely amazing with JG and we all had a blast doing it. 

Some girls and I had our second annual Christmas craft night and had so much fun. These are the crafts I made. You can't see it, but inside the mason jar are two snow covered trees. The chalk board plate is my favorite one. My sweet friend, Julie made the bow. Thankful, since I do not have talent for that. The snowman, my least. We ran out of burlap ribbon for his scarf and I have yet to get anymore. And probably won't. 


Jayden was in his 4th play. The Legend of Pocahontas. He played Chief Powhatan. He did very well and had so much fun doing it. 


I had a date with the boys and took them to paint pottery. We all painted cups. We're boring. HAHA. 

Jayden hijacked my phone and took a selfie. 

The tree (sans tree skirt) and mantle. I love love love my house decorated at Christmas. Must be the logs. 






We spent Thanksgiving with some really good friends here in town and their families. It was such a fun and relaxing day and the next best thing to being with our own families. 

JG loves to help her mama clean. She has no idea what's coming. HAHA. 





First bon fire of the season. 

For $35 I got the kids their own tree this year and they were thrilled. And jus for the record, I wasn't allowed to touch it. Hence the reason half the lights are white and the other half colored.  

Special memories. I remember watching my mom make these and paint them. That was in 1987. I miss her. She loved Christmas. 

This was just about 2 weeks ago. An unusually warm day. It offended me deeply. :-)



Our good friend John, whom we affectionately refer to as "The Pope" turned 65 so we celebrated as we always do. With oysters. Gross! 



In early December we served as a family (even JG) at a Help Portrait event at our church. http://help-portrait.com/
The chick who took our pics put it all together. It was so much fun and we all felt so blessed being able to serve others.  

A super cute pic of our girl and B before church one Sunday. 









We had our annual Christmas dinner with Sandy and Wayne. Sandy is JG's adoptive grandma. She always cooks up a storm and blesses us all with gifts. We made her and Wayne a book all about JG and I painted her a mug that says "We love NAI NAI".

She was asleep and it just cracked me up. 

I mean, she's just too cute. How could I not put it in. 



December 16th marked 20 years since this kid and I landed in the US from the UK. Its been a wild and crazy 20 years and I wouldn't trade it for anything.