Thursday, May 27, 2010

happy day

first of all, this picture just plain ol' makes me smile :)

today was Quinn's awards day

you know the feeling...
one half of the room filled with children sitting on
the edge of their seats just knowing
their name is the next one to be called...
the other half of the room filled with
large-knot-in-stomach parents praying
their child's name will be called!

our little guy got an honor roll medal
and the music award

but the award i'm most proud of?
the Hugs award
"for being a caring friend to others"

THE best second grade teacher ever!!

now for some clues as to
where we are heading to tomorrow






thank you
Miss American Sign Language!
(that's red ink on her arm, by the way)
we are indeed ready for some no-schedule,
relaxing beach vacation time


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

she's two - part 2

it's only 10 am and
a certain 2 year old has already...

found & looted sister's makeup
taken the printer paper to color on it
pumped antibacterial gel on the recliner
found & partly eaten an old chocolate chip cookie
eaten part of sister's breakfast when sister wasn't looking
taken apart her brother's work-of-art lego ship
fed the fish too much food
played with daddy's shaving cream
dumped sister's tooth flossers
unplugged the Wii cords
spilled the cat food
and also...
she has now been banned from entrance to the pantry
and the refrigerator is sporting a safety lock
(following an unfortunate strawberry incident
not mentioned above)

how many more of
"she's two" posts will be dedicated to
our charming little princess?!
(i honestly wouldn't trade these moments for
all the money in the world!)

This is how the family room looks
her speech therapist is due to arrive in 20 minutes
AND tonight is our final post-adoption visit with
the social worker

Friday, May 21, 2010

3 week checkup

Is it Friday, really?!!
A busy week, for sure, but so
grateful for God's Presence in our lives!

Miss Erin had a big day Tuesday...
braces put on and an
expander placed in the roof of her mouth.

In December we began the daily process
of tightening the Latham appliance in Gracie's
palate to bring it closer together. not fun

Now we are turning the key in Erin's
twice a day to widen the roof of her mouth!
It's a little sad, but sooo sweet to watch Gracie-
she holds Erin's hand with that
"I feel your pain sista' " look of empathy
on her sweet little face.
Not sure, but there might be a hint of
"Just glad it's not me" on there too...

The van was put on auto -pilot once again Wednesday
to head back to Charlotte for the 3 week post-op appt.
Dr. Matthews was very pleased with Gracie's palate,
and has allowed us to broaden her diet choices!
Her lip has come apart at the top (someone
has rediscovered her thumb), but the Dr. is not
concerned at all, as she has not had her full
lip revision yet. We'll head back for another
checkup next month!
Ali had the day off from school, so she
was my traveling companion. I am
seriously so blessed to have such a delightful
daughter, but also a treasured friend in her!
That girl can make me laugh till it hurts,
and heaven knows my abs need all the help
they can get in the exercise department!

We had to make a stop by my new favorite store,
Trader Joe's.
( Why, oh why does South Carolina not have any stores?!)
~small building, organic at not outrageous prices,
genuinely happy employees, my excitement reminding
me I may need to get out more~
Already making a list for our next visit...

Happy weekend!

So glad Ali made the trip w/ us!

Singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" sure makes
waiting for the doctor a lot easier

I heart this place

Our T.J.'s loot

I love my brother
(and not because he's holding those
chocolate sandwich cookies that
just so happen to contain ingredients
I can pronounce and have filling with
actual vanilla bean flakes...)
another shameless T. J.'s plug, sorry

Could she be any cuter?!

Have I mentioned she's a tad bit flexible?!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


*Lulu II update...We did find an identical koala substitute, and he is safely hidden in our closet ;)

meet Lulu
the newest member of our family.
this rather odd looking stuffed animal was
a gift from grandma to Gracie after her hospital stay,
and has become
an answer to prayer.

one of the biggest hurdles we anticipated
in our adoption process was the issue of attachment.
other than the 2 weeks in China and some
difficult moments when we returned home,
Gracie has attached to us as her family beautifully.
it's been a true gift from God.
( how in the world He placed our sense of humor
in that little Asian brain is amazing!)

since we have been home
(HARD to believe it will be a year this summer)
Gracie has had to learn to play...
what a bizarre concept!
for someone coming from an orphanage where
there was only a handful of toys,
the art of play and imagination have basically
been learned by this little sponge of a toddler.

early on, Gracie was terrified of stuffed animals and dolls,
and has, since Christmas time, begun playing with
them, and even preferring some over others.

enter Lulu

Gracie has attached to this little stuffed koala
(at least that's what the tag says it is)
like you wouldn't believe.
we are seeing signs of nurturing and
Let me tell you why this is huge.
Gracie has started saying "mine" & Gracie's"
(in her "Gracie-ese" of course)

she was brought into a home of
five people, relatively comfortable in their own skin,
who knew as Americans the definition of "mine."
Our biological children have always known
a level of' love and comfort that has
enabled them to
own possessions (toys, clothes, etc.)
and know that those things are theirs.
there is security in that.

this may not be huge to someone else,
but to us it is a huge deal.
as God lavishes His love on us as parents,
we feebly attempt to pass that love on to our kids,
and now we see it being birthed out in Gracie
as she attaches to, and feels ownership of
her new little friend.
ok, so it's not so cute when you hear
"Lulu 'ear"!! (bear) at 2 am when
she can't find him in her crib,
but we have all loved watching
this friendship blossom!
(if anyone would like to donate a spare koala
or two, we'd greatly appreciate it. Lulu fell out of the
van one day, and thank goodness was later found by one of
Quinn's teachers...gnashing of teeth i tell ya!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Hey Everyone! This is Rachel's daughter, Ali. I would like to take a few minutes and honor my mom! She is truly my best friend. Whenever I have a problem, she is the one I go to, and she always has the right solution. Mom is one of the funniest people I know! She loves her family, and her friends, very very much! And I love her too!!!!!! I am so blessed to have her, and pray that she is blessed in return for her love and kindness! LOVE YOU MOM!!!!!!!!


Happy Mother's Day

to my beautiful, selfless, brave, Godly Mother
to my beautiful, generous, Godly Mother--in-law
to my incredible sister and sisters-in-law
to my sweet nieces, new Mommy's themselves
to my dear friends whose friendships are priceless to me

to Gracie's birth Mom,
whose story I won't romanticize, but I know
cared enough to choose life and to place our girl
where she WOULD be found and cared for

Have mercy...
I am blessed beyond words - Thank you God!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

9 days post-op

Mornings have been tough with not
wanting daddy to go to work.
She will sign "stop" over & over which DOES NOT
make it easy for Brian to walk out that door!
(I don't understand why the sight of me in my pjs signing stop
doesn't quite have the same sympathetic response...)

sleep habits - not great
pureed diet - not so fun for a certain 2 yr old
mood swings - check
BUT we see improvement daily!

We were back in Charlotte yesterday for
Gracie's 1st post-op appointment, and
she looks great!

Last Monday Dr. Matthews repaired 2/3 of her hard palate,
her gum line, and brought the very top of her lip together.
Her palate is healing nicely.
It looks like late summer/early fall she
will have the remainder of the palate repaired,
and if the doctor feels comfortable, a
full lip revision. If not, that would come
at a later date. We are OK with this process.
Dr. Matthews is all about speech development first before
cosmetic appearance, so his goal all along has been
to bring that palate together first.

As you'll see in the following videos,
we're seeing GREAT changes in just one week!
(you'll need to pause the music @ the bottom
of the blog so you can hear properly!)
Little Miss can now blow bubbles very well,
and say her letters "L" & "N" very clearly.
It's amazing to realize how intricately our Creator
planned every part of the human body.
By just bringing the front part of Gracie's palate together,
she is able to say new sounds, and in turn,
we are understanding more of her words!

We know the the One who began this creavite, healing process
in our daughter through a surgeon's hands will be
faithful to complete what He has begun.
He NEVER ceases to amaze us on this journey.