Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Snow Mountain...and a bit more!

Georgia doesn't see snow.
So, when you live in Georgia you must seek out the snow.
And since the weather is more spring-like this year, snow was hard to find in Georgia.
 But we did find it....
 and we were able to play for a bit in the white dust....
 bigs and littles, olds and youngs....
 and for two hours straight, we ran up and down and up and down the big hill to tube....
 memories were created....
 because, well, mom may overreact about a few things and scream a bit louder than others....
 but the littles kept it all in perspective and waved their hands in the air....
 the smiles were contagious...
 and there were moments that I just wanted time to stand still....
 there is absolutely nothing more breathtaking than seeing your children enjoy life in its simplest forms....
 we even got snowed on....
 and one of us thought that it felt so good so she stayed in the snowfall for a bit....
and then, just like that, our time was up!  Our snow day had ended and we were on our way home again with heads full of memories and looking forward to our next journey together!
 One Hundredth Day of School
It's a big deal, y'all!  And this girl was over the moon excited about the celebrations at school!
 These two
Sister Friends as they used to refer to themselves!
They are the best!
 Chinese New Year
 In the past we have done some huge celebrations with dances and lanterns....
 this year we took it to a whole different level....
we found a new Chinese restaurant for dinner with friends....
and then we all headed to Airstrike to jump the night away!
 Fun was had by all but the next day some of us needed a bit of a nap....
 Baseball season is in full swing...
Pryce and his two favorites spent a few weeks conditioning followed by a few days of tryouts....
and Pryce made the JV team!!!!  We are thrilled for him!  
 This little one is just too cute!  Seriously.
There is a just a sweetness about her and it is hard not to just want to scoop her up and smother her with kisses!! (And donuts make her happy!)
 Father-Daughter Dance
 A Daddy and His Girls
Five pieces of my heart.  
Love them.
 This girl left for the dance totally dressed in "todays" period...
 and then arrived home dressed in the 1920s attire!  
 Swimming in February with a sweet friend....it's just what the doctor ordered!
 Sometimes in life, we are gifted with friendships that come from the most unexpected places and happen at times when you least imagine.
And sometimes in life we sit back and say "thank you" for the blessings of sweet friends.
In early 2008, standing in line waiting to be fingerprinted once again for MK's adoption, we met a couple who was just beginning their adoption journey.  
Nine years later, here we are sitting by the pool catching up while our five daughters from China enjoy their time together!
 This little bit had a mind of her own at the pool....
 I naively thought she would just sit with me and happily watch the girls swim - after all, she hasn't been the least bit interested in the pool during her five months with us!
Well, thirty minutes into our swimming time, she proceeded to take off her clothes and let us know that she was ready to join the pool party!
 Sisters really are the best of friends....
 MK and her friends at the Daddy-Daughter Dance....I love the friendships she has made at school!
 Our family.
So thankful for our time together.
 This girl.
Maryn Gentry, she is full of life and has a mind all of her own!  
She is all about dressing up and the accessories she travels with to ballet will sometimes take your breath away! Ha.
 Sweet Chapman.
She is going to Mother's Day Out one day a week.  
She really isn't so sure this is in her best interest but she warms up to the idea after a few minutes and she settles in nicely!
 We are so thankful for this program and for the teachers that pour their hearts into our little girls each week!  
A month and a half into 2017 and I find myself wondering where the time has gone!  The older I get, the faster time flies.  And the faster time flies, the more I truly want it to just slow down.  It really is a constant struggle within me....finding time to "do it all"....the busy-ness of life sometimes overcomes me and I just want to run to the beach and take it all in as I watch my children enjoy their time by the ocean.  It's our happy place for sure.
We have started date nights with the children, one child each week (and Chapman of course!)....I want them each to know how much we adore them and value their place in our family.
We are making decisions that will take us into the next school year....some of those decisions come easier than others....
We are trying our best to provide guidance to our teens, making sure we are giving them the tools they will need to live their lives independently - again, I struggle with this and sometimes dread the change that will inevitably come with their growth.
Chapman continues to thrive.  To watch a child go from caretaker love to family love and be surrounded by her team of cheerleaders day in a day out....there is just nothing like it.  Nothing. 
Maryn is growing so fast too!  She is busy "reading" to us daily and rhyming words - really cute to see her little mind at work.  
Maddox Ren.....her teacher adores her....and her teacher was sure to tell me just how much the children adore her too!  She really is the sweetest kiddo - an old soul with a huge heart!
MK continues to be in her element....she is in chorus, art club, ballet, piano, and, she has been on the A Honor Roll all year!!  She loves school and all it has to offer!
Pryce is moving right along in his 8th grade year as a homeschooled student.  This will be his last year at home with me and as excited as I am for him to move on to high school, I do admit daily that I am not quite sure what I will do without him!  He is such a good helper to me each day!  
Colin....Colin got a JOB!  We are thrilled for him and pray that this opportunity will open doors for his future in college and his career path!  He continues to dual enroll at the local university....and the funniest thing to hear him talk about lately is his "fifth grade math class"....he is so funny to listen to.  
Ryan....dear Ryan.  Bless him.  He puts up with us all.  He is definitely our backbone.  He is the one we all go to when something is lost....he is the one we all go to for just about anything we can't figure out ourselves.  He is our glue and we are thankful for this guy.  
Six children is no joke.
I have definitely been humbled a bit.
I have learned that giving grace is something I should probably do more of.
The time in a day is never enough to meet the needs and desires of all.
Truthfully, it can be hard,
But, oh so worth every moment and I wouldn't have it any other way.
In the beginning I would kind of wince when I told people I had SIX children.
Now, I just laugh and smile because, honestly, my family, my SIX,  is everything I ever dreamed of and MORE.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Five Months of Forever

 Five months of forever looks good on this little one!
 The first year with an adopted child can be so similar to your first year with a newborn.  It is a year of growth and learning, it is a year of firsts and a year of moving forward.
 The transformation of an orphan child to cherished one - the magnitude of that is breathtaking.
 Our little Chapman McKensie is moving right along.  Her language growth has been the most outstanding thing to watch this month.  She copies everything.  She tells us to "come here" and she yells at the dog to "hush!" and she points to her desires and says, "dat, want dat"....and one can't forget every time we walk by the candy dish, she looks so sad and says, "all gone" and throws her hands up in the air.
 The cutest part to see with her language is when she says in her little Italian accent, "Ma-Ma!" and then says a whole bunch of gibberish as if it all means something.....the thing is, she looks at you straight in the eyes as if she is saying something meaningful.  And if you say, "what?" she will repeat herself and she seems quite perplexed that we don't understand.  
 Her physical development is moving right along.  We are three months post-op and this little one is running, jumping, climbing....she sees everything as an adventure and is fearless.  She appears to be quite a little diva perfectionist and if she doesn't get it the first time, she moves on to something else....she has no time for the challenge of failure.
 The hard looks like this.
She cries loudly when we do not oblige her every desire.
She loves to say the word, "No"
She has a little temper and is not afraid to use it.  
She has no time for sharing her mommy with her sisters.
All of these are challenges we expected and are totally normal but, woosa, they can be a tough match when this momma is tired!
 The good.
Well, this little one is oozing with sweetness.  She smiles easily and laughs the best laugh ever.  Her voice is so angelic.  She is the most entertaining little one to watch....her curiosity overcomes her and it is just funny to observe her in the situations she puts herself into.  She loves to snuggle.  She sleeps well.  She eats well.  She is just happy and easy to enjoy!
 One year ago, we were just absorbing the fact that we would be parents to another little girl.  And today we have the privilege of holding her, loving her , comforting her and introducing her to all things new.....including the beach!
 In true Chapman fashion, she didn't miss a beat.  Her little feet hit the sand and off she went!
 A first....
 I love that we are her family. 
 I love that we are the ones who have the privilege to watch her grow and explore all things new.
 I love that we get to hold her and comfort her.
 I love that for five short months, we have had a first row seat in watching this little one bloom.  She is a gift, our gift, and we are so thankful for her life!