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Friday, May 27, 2011

Our attempt(s) at a Happy Birthday picture

I don't think these shots need much narration - I feel like they do a pretty good job all on their own. LOL. But just in case you haven't read my previous post ... we were attempting to take a nice Happy Birthday Sunshine picture of all the people that came over to celebrate her birthday today. We kept it small ... I made cupcakes. Simple. I really wanted a group picture of everyone (including me!!) so that we could one day show Sunshine how much we loved her even before she was here.

It was the perfect opportunity to use my new remote control. I tested it out and had it working like a charm a few weeks ago. So when I pulled out the tripod and set up the camera, of *course* it didn't want to cooperate. You'll see that DH, my brother, AND I all tried to get the darned thing to work. Although I don't think we got one "winner" ... the set of these images together is totally priceless. I love them. Actually my favorite is #7 ... go figure I'm not really in it but just LOOK at Angel's face. LOL. I look at these now and a smile is instantly brought to my face because we were laughing so hard we cried. THIS will definitely be one of THOSE stories. No doubt about it.

Thank you ... seriously, thank you to my family. This was just the comic relief that I needed. It was a fantastic decompression ... a rejuvenation ... a way to escape all of the lists, and lists of lists. We laughed (and cried from laughing), danced, talked, played games and put puzzles together (Uncle Josh!!), and watched some major Mario Kart competition. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people. Really amazing people. Feeling the love tonight ... can't wait to bring Sunshine home to be loved on by our family.

She's ONE!!!

Today is Sunshine's birthday ... my DAUGHTER'S birthday. Part of me is a little sad that we didn't get to celebrate it with her ... but the other part of me knows that I can't be sad at all because she will be in our arms in just eleven short days.

Amazing. Surreal. Exciting. Joyful. Scary. Overwhelming.

So many emotions ... I can't pinpoint one because I seem to be feeling them ALL. I can't wait to hold her in my arms but I am also nervous about what is to come. Honestly, I still can't believe that DH and I will be on a plane to Beijing in a week from right now. There are so many things that still need to be done, it's difficult to actually focus on our trip and our new daughter. I have 3 sessions this weekend, we will celebrate Sunshine's birthday on Wednesday and her Kindergarten graduation is on Thursday evening (you know, the night before we leave for China). On top of that, there are still plenty of odds and ends that need to be tied up before we can leave.

But, today ... my daughter's birthday ... was a wonderful distraction from all of the STUFF. We had a small party with just our immediate family and it was an absolute blast. Just wait until I post the pictures of our hilarious attempts at using my remote control for the camera. I was super-excited about using it to document everyone (including me!!) here to celebrate. LOL. I'm not sure that we got a winning shot, but the combination of all the images together is spectacularly priceless ... seriously laugh-out-loud worthy and the most perfect way to document this day ... the day of my daughter's first birthday :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday's Things to Pray for - Prayer Schedule for China

No pictures today :-) Instead, I wanted to create a prayer schedule for our trip to China. We are just 7 days from flying to Beijing! We would love it if you'd join us in prayer as we embark on this journey to bring our daughter home. It will give us great comfort & peace to know that so many of our family and friend are lifting us up in prayer during this special time.

Day #1, Friday, June 3rd - Flight from the US to Beijing - Please pray for happy, peaceful goodbyes to the kids and to our family. Pray for a safe, uneventful, comfortable and restful flight for us (we will be in the air for 14 hrs!). Please also pray that God gives the pilot skill as he navigates such a long flight.

Day #2, Saturday, June 4th - We land in Beijing at 2:40pm (that's 2:40am here) - Please pray for comfort, protection and courage for Angel, Lovebug and our family while we're gone. Pray for the strength of our parents as they care for the kids and provide them with a loving and fun environment full of distractions! Ask that God provide them with the tools needed to meet Angel's & Lovebug's needs while we are gone. Please also pray for a restful and restorative night for us as well, as we prepare for a full day of sightseeing.

Day, #3, Sunday, June 5th - Sightseeing in Beijing (the Great Wall, Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and shopping at the Pearl Market) - Please pray for protection and stamina for us as we visit the sights in Beijing. Please also pray that Sunshine may feel God's love as she is prepared for her new life with our family. Please ask God to help prepare Sunshine's foster parents to say goodbye to a child they have loved and cared for over the past year.

Day #4, Monday, June 6th - Flight to Nanchang, Jiangxi - Please pray for a safe and uneventful flight to Nanchang for us; and safe travels for Sunshine as she makes her way to us. Please pray for comfort and healing for Sunshine as she says goodbye to the only parents and family she has ever known. Pray that God surround her with love, peace and courage as she prepares to meet her Mommy and Daddy for the first time. Please again pray for her foster parents - ask God to watch over them and give them comfort as they say goodbye.

Day #5, Tuesday, June 7th - Sunshine will be brought to us at the hotel in Nanchang at 9:30am and paperwork at the Civil Affairs office in the afternoon (Sunshine may actually be brought to us earlier, on Monday night, but we won't know until it happens) - Please pray that Sunshine feels God's love during such a confusing time, and also feels secure and peaceful at our first meeting. Pray that we may feel God's love and grace as we meet Sunshine, and ask God to give us the tools needed to help Sunshine start the attachment process. Please also pray for paperwork to be completed correctly and timely.

Day #6, Wednesday, June 8th - Free day in Nanchang (we are hoping to visit Sunshine's finding spot today) - Please pray that we have the wisdom to understand and meet Sunshine's needs and that we can all begin the process of attaching to each other. If we are visiting Sunshine's finding spot (the front gate of a factory), please give us the strength needed to visit such an emotional place. We also ask that you pray for peace for Sunshine's birth parents - that they have comfort in knowing she is being well-cared for.

Day #7, Thursday, June 9th - City tour in Nanchang - Please pray for love, comfort and protection for Angel & Lovebug, and those caring for them. Please also pray that we are able to get out of the hotel and soak up the culture in Sunshine's province, and that we truly enjoy our time there with her. Pray that we are able to capture as much of her province as we possibly can so that we can one day tell her where she came from.

Day #8, Friday, June 10th - Pick up Sunshine's passport and flight to Guangzhou - Pray for a safe, uneventful and comfortable flight with Sunshine. Please pray that she grows to feel more secure and loved with us and that her heart begins to heal. Please also pray that Angel feels secure and loved as she celebrates her 6th birthday - pray that she has fun and everyone here can give her a special day.

Day #9 - Saturday, June 11th - Sunshine's medical exam, her visa photo and visa paperwork will be completed in Guangzhou - Pray for a smooth and painless medical exam that doesn't cause Sunshine any discomfort. Pray for God's grace on us as we fit into the role of Sunshine's parents. Pray that Sunshine feels more comfortable and secure with us as her parents and that she understands that we will love her and provide for her.

Day #10 - Sunday, June 12th - City tour in Guangzhou - Pray for our comfort, stamina and endurance in the hot weather as we tour the city. Please also pray that we enjoy our time in Guangzhou with Sunshine, as well as with other adoptive families. Pray that we are able to feel God's love surrounding us as we soak up all the sites and culture in Guangzhou. Please also ask God's presence to be felt by the other adoptive families that are there with us.

Day #11 - Monday, June 13th - Consulate appointment in Guangzhou at 8:30am - Pray for our appointment to go smoothly and that Sunshine is comfortable and happy during that time. Please continue to keep Sunshine's foster family and birth family in your prayers - ask for their comfort and peace.

Day #12 - Tuesday, June 14th - Pick up Sunshine's visa in Guangzhou - Thank God for safely shepherding us to this point in the process. Ask Him to continue to shower us in His love and grace as we prepare for the long journey home. Pray for a wonderful, joyful last day in Guangzhou.

Day #13 - Wednesday, June 15th - Flight home, we arrive on US soil at 7:55pm - Pray for a safe, smooth, uneventful flight. Pray that we are able to get some restful sleep (especially for Sunshine!) during the flight. Please also pray for Sunshine's comfort and peace during the long flight. Pray for a cheerful, jubilant reunion with the kids and our family filled with lots of happy tears. Pray that all of us quickly transition into our new family of 5. Pray for God's grace on me and DH as we learn to parent 3 children, that Sunshine can feel our love and is attaching to our family, and that Angel and Lovebug courageously and graciously fit into their new roles as older siblings to Sunshine. Pray that our entire family (ALL of us including our extended family!) can feel and see God's love during this transitional time.

After we are home - Please continue to keep our family in your prayers, we will all be going through quite a transition! Please especially keep Sunshine in your prayers - she will go through a lot and travel a long way to be with us. She will also have to undergo several surgeries to correct her cleft lip & palate - the first will be in August. We can't tell you how excited we are to share this experience with everyone. We have received so much support and prayer from our family and friends over the past year. It's somewhat surreal to realize that what we have been working toward is almost here! We will soon be holding our daughter in our arms - she will no longer be a dream!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mommy & Daddy are COMING!!!!

This post was *supposed* to be titled "Progress" but we got WAAAY better news before I had the chance to post it! We got


Seriously 100% in shock right now - it only took 14 DAYS! PRAISE GOD!!!! I can't believe this is actually real and we are going to get our BABY GIRL! Oh my word! If we get the consulate appointment we requested, we will leave the FIRST WEEK IN JUNE!!!! That's 3 weeks from now. Holy cow! We'll know more next week but for now ... oh wow, all of the preparations, the lists, the shopping! Yikes! It's so exciting ... but crazy ... all at the same time.
You can see below that I have been making tons of "progress" on the packing side of things. In fact, I have even more of the packing ready to go now and am pretty much done, just need to add our clothes and we are READY! I have even weighed the bags pre-clothes and we are only coming in at 30 lbs, so I think we are going to be under the 44 lb limit. Most of the prep-work now comes into play for Angel and Lovebug. I am really thankful that Angel will be out of school - it may make for a few boring days but the planning is SO much easier!

OH MY GOODNESS ... this is HAPPENING!!! All of this waiting, the worrying, the sleepless nights ... we are at the end, the culmination of all this work. God has been through ALL of this with us and it totally shows. Wow, wow, wow!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A rainy Monday morning ... again

I shot these LAST Monday - it was a dreary rainy day - one of those wrap-yourself-up-in-your-blanket and curl up and watch TV with Mama kind of days. And of course when I saw him wrapped up in the love of blankey goodness, the need to document it overtook me and Lovebug was happy to oblige :-)

PS - We are 9 days into our wait for TA!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I am probably a bit biased, but I really think my kiddos get the best-dressed award for Mother's Day. What makes their shirts even better is that DH ordered them on his own and they surprised me with these this morning ... when they brought me breakfast in bed. Yup, that's right :-) Breakfast in bed. DH knows me waaaaay too well :-) And in the midst of all the spectacular awesomeness of this morning, I *still* had to fight to get 1 shot of the kids in these super-awesome get-ups. And this ONE shot that I ended up with is actually a combination of several images ... thank goodness for photoshop! Even with bribing the kids AND using the "But it's Mother's Day" guilt trip ... LOL ... nothing was working :-)

Ya know what though? I am totally at a zen with that ... because THAT is just how my kids are. I know them intimately and I knew I'd have a battle even before we walked outside. Of *course* it wouldn't be perfect ... because life isn't perfect ... it's messy, frustrating, and at times it feels like things just don't go my way. But really, that's what makes life so perfect - all of the imperfections add up to the most perfect life I could ask for ... because it's mine ... and because God gave it to me. He gave me all of these "imperfect" blessings and I am so proud to call them my life.

And on this Mother's Day, I've been reflecting on all of those blessings ... specifically the truly wonderful privilege of caring for my children ... teaching them, learning from them, growing with them, loving them. Although I know today is about celebrating mothers and how hard they work for their families, I think what I will celebrate today is what a miracle it is to BE a mother. In fact, I adore BEING a mom ... because my beautiful kiddos are totally perfect, especially when they're not being "perfect."

Sunday Snapshot

Monday, May 2, 2011


Sunshine picked out a lipgloss kit to buy with her Easter money when we were at the Science Center last week - she was SO excited! We made it last week too, I am just now catching up on my blogging, yikes! She had a lot of fun making it at first, but I ended up finishing it. LOL. Funny how that works :-) She stuck with me for a bit, but was really just interested in having the cotton-candy flavored lipgloss ... not so much concerned about the process. LOL. It was definitely a cool little project for only $7 I think and it didn't take long to make either! A winner!