Monday, March 31, 2014

to plant a garden….

The kids have been offering to help Poppy in his garden for weeks. Sunday was finally the day.  They changed out of their church clothes, into work clothes and tromped off to the garden ready to work.

Wyatt’s job was to pick out the rocks.  He lasted 5 minutes before declaring he was ready for home. *look closely, he’s sitting on a bucket waiting.

Will was throwing the rocks into the woods.  And occasionally helping dig.  He only lasted a few minutes longer than Wyatt before he was also begging to go home.

That left Ella.  She happily worked alongside Poppy for several hours.  They planted tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.  Poppy even had a special tomato plant for Ella….her favorite, cherry tomatoes!  She was so proud of her work.  And I know Poppy loved having a hard worker alongside today. 

Spring is here!
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

star of the week {Ella}

It was finally Ella’s turn to be Star of the week.  I guess she remembered Will doing his last year because she was all excited and wanted to get started on it the second we got home.

We quickly made a list of all the things she wanted to include: her family, Mimi & Poppy, Duck, baking, cupcakes, art, PINK and polka dots, China, the beach, fruit and Daniel Tiger/Curious George.

Mrs Monica said that Ella did a great job standing up and telling the class all about herself!  So proud :)

2014-03-25 star student

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

book worm, literally

My little book worm, Mister Wilson, has carried this stack of animal books around him for years.  One or two of the books are newer editions, but most have been around years.  Three years to be exact.
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These little treasures came from the $1 spot at Tar-jay.  And are prized possessions. No one is allowed to touch them but Will.  (And the littles are totally not interested in them anyway.)

Here is a little #tbt (Mom, that means throwback Thursday….).  Mister Wilson on his 3rd birthday….a Mommy/Will date to the zoo.  He proudly carried his animal field guide around the whole time. Can you see his little Raptor book clutched tight in that tiny sticky hand?

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And here is my book worm now, probably reading about worms or insects, or reptiles.  Or his current obsession, raptors.  This kid can work the word “talon” into almost any sentence.  Thank you Wild Kratts.
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While the little kids are riding bikes, Will prefers to sit in the middle reading aloud about the animals of the African savanna.  And when they refuse to listen, he gets up and walks behind them reading even louder. Safe to say we only have one animal-lover out of the three.


And nothing says fun like using your field guide and finding where the animals live on the map.

All nerd jokes aside, what a fascinating book loving, animal loving, creature loving, almost-6-years-old, kid. He keeps us entertained, and educated!

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wordless wednesday {first school pics}

I totally expected Ella’s little smile in the pics.  She told me she only gives real smiles to us.
school pic

Monday, March 24, 2014

2 years isn’t forever

This spring Ella will cross the line of having lived with us longer than she did in an orphanage.  But we aren’t there yet. And honestly, I have no expectations that anything magical will happen once she has been with us longer.  But it is still a milestone for the simple fact that we will have known her longer than anyone else.  I remember mentally acknowledging it with Will.  That I “finally” had known him as long as his birth mother.  It’s just something we take for granted with a biological kid.

I’ve struggled with what to blog regarding our progress.  Mainly because I’m not sure what is too personal to share regarding the kids struggles.  So I’m trying to find the fine line I want to walk with what is too much vs. what is helpful.


Ella has spent the last 2 years both running towards us with open, loving arms.  And running, frantically, in the opposite direction.  Turns out safety and love are just as frightening as the past.

She lived in her first orphanage right around 2 years before being moved to the new facility.  So I’m sure somewhere back in her subconscious she is waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Because to her “forever” has only been defined as 2 years.


Earlier she was (lovingly) corrected for hitting a sibling.  And per the norm, she entered a pretty lengthy meltdown.  Taking the cue from a good friend, I reminded her that she was not in China anymore.  She was at home with Mommy and Daddy.  And she was here to stay forever.  Then I asked if she remembered why she was crying, if she was happy or sad, etc, etc.  She finally yelled “I don’t ever want to to go back to China!”.  The sibling squabble was long forgotten. Being corrected flips a switch.  The fact that she once lived in China, without parents, is always just below the surface.  And being sent back to China is always an option.  I scooped her up and used all the words I could find to tell her she would NEVER go back to China.  She would never be without her Mommy, Daddy, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins.  NEVER.  But when your only reference of “forever” is 2 years…is that even a consolation?! 

After she was calm we read some books about being a family and love, she really dislikes these books.  But I hoped the weight of the words sunk in somewhere.  We then talked about China some more.  She is starting to lose some of her memories from there.  Stories that she has told over and over and over, without missing a detail are suddenly gone.  And I can see her racking her brain trying to put pieces together.  (Which reminds me, I need to write them down ASAP!).


There is not a neat and tidy wrap up to this “update”.  Just a quick story of where we are at.  And where we will probably be for awhile.We have to remind ourselves that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  I’ll be honest, I miss the days when I thought love was enough to heal my kids. We were just going to love them right on through all of their baggage. Love is a good place to start, but most of this healing can only be completed thru Jesus (and maybe a side of help from professionals).

I do promise to write more about this soon.  We get alot of questions from friends wanting to understand/support us.  And we are happy to share.  I’m just not sure how much, or how little, I should put out on the interweb. 
(Odds are if we talk at any length in person you have gotten an ear full, haha.)

The good news, her highs are HIGH. She truly finds JOY is so many things!
Even squeezing into her China clothes! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

a new ninja in town

After hearing so many positive things about karate, and at Will’s urging, we decided to give it a go. 

So far Tae Kwon Do has been a great experience for Mister Wilson.  And Thursday night he had his first chance to break a board.  Sadly, neither of us were there.  But Mimi happily shared the video. 

Will is so excited about this big accomplishment.  And I’m sure there be many more broken boards for our Mister Ninja.2014-03-20 first boardWM

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {the dreaded bug}

2 out of 3 have been hit (and are now recovered)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

the Ts take the stage!

Sunday night was a big night.  The trio took the stage with their church preschool choir for a quick performance. 

Last December, Ella and I went to see the kids Christmas program at church.  She was HOOKED!  After it was over she turned around and said “what do I have to do to get up there?”.  Quickly followed by “and I want to pick out my own outfit to wear on stage!”. She knows what she wants!

So we started going to the preschool choir class after the holidays.  Then Will decided he wanted to go. (preschool choir is ages 3-K.  Will will move up soon.) And if two are going, then three might as well go.  And here we are!

Well, if you haven’t watched the video yet, you really must!  Wyatt was quite the ham.  He only went to two practices but there was no keeping him off the stage, especially when Will and Ella told him there was a party afterwards!

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He surprisingly seemed to know the words and motions. 
I guess he is a quick study!

Ella was excited to look all around and see faces she recognized.  Here she is noticing Renee, Joseph and baby Jake.

With all three on the stage at once it was hard to know who to watch! Glad all 3 stood in a row so we could see them together.

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Ella had been looking forward to this “first” for SO long.  She was ecstatic that the day had finally arrived.  She wanted to make sure we took her picture, and video.  [check] 2014-03-16 Ella takes the stage (10)
She knew ALL the words and motions.  She did GREAT!  She looked so calm, and proud up there! 
Mister Wilson admitted that he gets nervous before taking the stage, but that he still enjoys it.


All THREE of my T’s did a great job on stage. 
We are so proud of them!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

every day {aka phone dump}

It’s time to clean off my phone again…and a few of these are old ones!

Poppy hitching a ride with Ella on the trike.


The Littles spent alot of time this fall “playing” soccer while Will was at school.  Wyatt decided to take the game to a new level, or he was channeling Gus, he (still) thinks this is the best way to get the soccer ball from one place to the other.

wyatt soccer

All our snow days meant long, lingering breakfasts.  Complete with homemade Star Wars pancakes.  Mister Wilson thought this was the best idea ever.


Will taught the Littles to do this.  I am thrilled.
We got alot of stares.  But at least no one is running off, crying, or hurting a sibling.


“Ella, where’s Wyatt?”

Wyatt has battled with bronchitis all winter.  You know he’s sick when he falls asleep during a treatment.

Wyatt’s sign that something is wrong is bright red cheeks.  Almost always just the left one.

“Momma, let me grab my pink hat and glasses so we can match!”

“Some grown ups wear their hats like this.  I think it’s cool.”


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

weekend adventures

We did a little of everything this past weekend. 

Chris took the boys to the hardware store for a “build” kids clinic.  It didn’t take very long, but they seemed to enjoy making their own birdhouses. (I totally left this picture off my page….)

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Wilson came home and immediately searched for the perfect spot for the houses.  He shoved them both into a shrub.  After checking them every few hours for new “guests” he began to grow discouraged.  Sunday he moved them to a tree, and filled the homes with grass so they’d have a head start on a nest.  Still no guests yet.

Meanwhile, Renee asked Ella if she wanted to go get their nails done Saturday morning.  Ella was ESTATIC! Perma-grin while she waited for her chariot to arrive.  2014-03-08 (2)

This was a pretty big deal since, other than school,  Ella has really only gone places with us or Mimi.  We have talked for months and months about who her “safe people” are.  And I’m not talking stranger-danger here.  But safe people who love us, and who we can trust with our feelings, who will help us if we are scared.  Since we see Renee so often between church, preschool and playdates she was a good first person to test this out with. 

I could see Ella’s nerves show a bit when she climbed in her car.  But then she muttered something about “mommies and daddies always come back” and puffed herself up and settled in.
Shortly after they left, the pictures started rolling in of Ella having a blast.  So much so that she talked non-stop the rest of the day about her adventure.  All I heard for hours was “and then…and then….and then…” receiving multiple play-by-plays of the morning.

My favorite Ella quotes from the day were “I can’t play in the dirt today.  I don’t want to ruin my polish.”  And “Maybe I could be Renee’s little sister since she doesn’t have a girl.”  Ella definitely had a memorable morning.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

not quite a get-away….

We went out of town Valentine’s weekend! While not a traditional Valentine’s getaway, it was a getaway none the less.  And it was our first time away from all 3 kids in 2 years.  I’d call that a Valentine’s miracle. (Thanks Mimi and Poppy for spoiling our kids for the weekend.)

Valentine’s weekend was spent in Birmingham attending the Empowered to Connect conference.  This was my second time to attend, Chris’s first.  And honestly, there is no quick way to sum up the weekend.  But the main focus is parenting kids who come from “hard” places and helping them heal.  But really, this can apply to any child.  Regardless of their start.

Some of it was hard to hear.  Humbling.  Convicting.  Yet empowering. 

Romantic?  Nope.  Not unless spending the weekend with 800 people is romantic.  But it was quality time away.  And fun to visit with our friends (Yaya’s parents). Win-win.

So back to Valentines…We celebrated the Heart holiday with the kids on the 13th.  The family got a new popcorn popper (woohoo).  And it was a hit with the trio.  They love to stand and watch it come flying out.  (that would be why there is only a picture of their backs)

Wyatt had a party at school.  This year he had to make a mailbox (this was the first time one of my kids needed one!).  His recent discovery of Despicable Me and Minions prompted me to hit up Pinterest for a few easy ideas.  (FYI, Wyatt calls the movie “Inions”….which creates confusion when you are trying to figure out what he is saying.)  In less than 20 minutes we had this lovely Minion box.  And Wyatt was thrilled.  The other kids might have been jealous that they didn’t need a box .

No pictures of the boys school parties because I did not attend <gasp>.  Will’s party was practically at the end of February due to snow days. It was a bit anti-climatic for him by then.

This was a long and random post.  But I wanted to document the holiday and the few pictures I did have.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

snow quotes

I found this draft saved, but never published.
2014-02-13 snow 2.0 (122) Wyatt:  This is the best snow ever!

Ella: I didn’t know our table could hold that much snow!  It might be a really white day!  I’m glad we charged our leap pads.

Will: This snowball is 100% water.

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Monday, March 03, 2014


Timber cat has chosen HIS person. 
It’s Mister Wilson. 
And only Mister Wilson.
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Adding a cat to the family was not exactly a well thought out idea. 
But what a good match we made!

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This cat ONLY has eyes for Will. 
He just tolerates the rest of us.

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Every night at bedtime the cat comes up on his own and waits for him to get in bed.  And he sleeps there ALL night, snuggled up next to his person.  Will gets up in the mornings and Timber quickly disappears back to the basement until bedtime comes around again. 

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As I type this, Will is at Mimi’s for a sleepover.  And Timber is roaming the house looking for his person.  I’m not sure where he will sleep tonight.

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I’m pretty sure we got the most perfect cat in the universe (next to Mister Willie cat).

And Mister Wilson thinks so too.  He doesn’t hesitate to tell you that Timber cat loves him the most and it’s hard not to argue.