Friday, January 20, 2017

MK is 10

This precious girl turned 10 years old and we have begun to beg time to please slow down!
 Two whole hands.
Double digits.
Pre-Teen.
 At the age of 10, MK is all things sweet.  She has gracefully handled her role as big sister to her three little sisters.  Our MK is in the 4th grade and on the A Honor Roll.  She is in the gifted program at her school and often says that is her favorite part of the day! She participates in the elementary school chorus and art club while dancing her heart away in ballet class two times a week.  This year she also asked to take piano lessons and we are so thankful to have found a teacher right here in our neighborhood to teach her the art of keyboard music.  
 MK is my biggest helper!  She is often my sanity in the mornings as I scramble to get everyone out of the door on time.  She gladly helps me pack lunches, pour milk, hold a baby, etc....she is all things helpful and I am so thankful for her!  MK is all things cuddly.  She sleeps under no less than five blankets each night, each placed accordingly in her bed.  
Each day I am so thankful for the gift of MK, all 10 years of her! 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 At A Glance

2016
It began just right....
We were surrounded by my siblings and their families celebrating my father's birthday
My parents had a rough year with medical issues so reflecting back, I am thankful for this time of health with them - all is well now and we hope that 2017 lends a healthier hand....
 Maryn grew so much in 2016
Physically and mentally....
and comically
this one is a firecracker and she loves everything funny, and makeup of course!
 The girls convinced their daddy to be Father Christmas 
in their ballet performance of The Roar of Love....
 Colin turned 16 
I love surprises and this kiddo was pleasantly surprised by his VIP tix to see one of his favorite performers in concert....
 Noah came home! 
We were so excited to hug this little guy once more when he returned to America with his forever family!  
 Pryce turned 14
EEK.
He wrapped up his first semester of his last year of homeschooling in 2016....
we pray for big things to come in 2017 for this guy!
 From late January to the very first days of May, we worked all kinds of fast and furious to get our dossier to China.  Our entire family played a part in this process every step of the way!  This pic gives me chills to know that every.single.document in the carrier Maryn is holding contains a piece of the puzzle to bringing Chapman home forever!
 June brought on our annual Garden City beach trip which is always equipped with surprises from Gran!  The pirate attire did not disappoint!
 Our special friend Veronica came to visit us in June and July.
This lady is a gem in every sense of the word.
She fights for the orphans in China.
She has a heart of gold.
She is a treasure and we are thankful for our time with her!
 In July, we also continued to learn that Maddox really doesn't have bones....she is so bendable!
 Weekend at Bernie's
OR
Day at the Lake
 Our sweet Maddox 
Her tummy just gives her a fit at times....
 Thankfully, all tests turned out well and our girl was well on her way to celebrating her 7th birthday!
She loves a good birthday celebration and is currently reminding us daily that her 1/2 birthday is just around the corner!  
It was GO time to bring our littlest home from China!
Maryn enjoyed a leisure stroll on the Great Wall of China
 First glances of Chapman McKensie Drafts
August 29, 2016
 August brought on school too!
Colin dual enrolling in high school and the local university; Pryce homeschooling 8th grade; MK and Maddox at our local elementary school; Maryn in preschool....we have a constant revolving door with people going to school and coming home from school!
 September welcomed lots of smiles as we all got to know our Chapman!
 Chapman celebrated her 2nd birthday in China the day before we met her but we thought it would be fun to sing to her and celebrate her life with us in September!
 God works in mysterious ways....
In December of 2015, we gave the children a trip to Florida before we even knew about Chapman.  What a blessing this trip was for us!  Six weeks home and we headed out for a weeklong adventure to Disney!  Literally moments before we left, we were at the hospital completing tests and planning surgery for our sweet baby girl.  Mama needed this escape, the calm before the storm, the carefree moments of laughter that we all shared....it was good for my soul as it took my mind off of what was to come.
 October 19, 2016
What a sweet site it was to see this baby girl find her thumb.  
Her physical healing had begun....
 Throughout the year I saved quotes that people shared on FB....
this one hit home.  Saying NO is often so easy to do. 2016 taught Ryan and I both that obedience is saying YES even when it doesn't make sense.
 Thanksgiving at the Farm
It was a first for me, a first Thanksgiving at the farm without my Nannie.
I thought of her, how she would have loved the weather - it was a beautiful day! - how she would have loved having all of her family, extended and immediate members, present; how she would have adored Chapman - Chapman is the only child of mine that never had the opportunity to meet my Nannie.  I miss her and all of my grandparents each day - they were such an influence in my life, so many memories I shared with them!  I pray that my children have those same precious memories of their grandparents when they are my age!
 This little turkey!  
Our sweet Maryn.
She has embraced her big sisterhood so beautifully on some days while on other days she has wanted to just quit.  She adores Chapman but also makes it known that she was here first.  Bless.  We thank God each and every day for the gift that he brought to us in this little girl!
 2016
So many blessings
 Our Sensational Six
 This is a quote I copied and mediated over in early 2016....
 And one year later, I read it with confidence in knowing that we did the "impossible" and what a gift it has been in knowing that through our faith and trust in God, we were able to bring our sixth child home forever....she is here, she is loved, and it has been absolutely beautiful to see this little girl slowly unravel and become our very own baby girl Drafts!
 (PS....I smile sometimes when I think about those early days after we learned about Chapman....even the agency asked, "How are you going to do this?"....it was at that point that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this baby girl was ours because I typed up an email so fast with a response so detailed that it made my own eyes spin...Chapman was our "impossible" yet she is here and I shudder when I think  we could have missed this!)




Thursday, January 5, 2017

Simplicity

I am a busy person.  The busy lifestyle is by choice and I love every bit of every moment of the busy. However, this holiday season, I have learned the blessing of simplicity.  We have slept late, watched TV way too much, played outside, played inside, stayed in our pjs all day, ...it is just what the dr. order for all of us.  I feel as though it has been good on so many levels....Chapman needed time with her siblings.  She now calls for them by each of their names or she will call, "sisters!" or "brothers!".....I call her the little Italian because she yells for all of us in a very stern voice with this accent that sounds Italian!  She has had time to really get to know them and they have had time to just be in her world and soak it all in.  Each morning, we have all slept in to at least 7:30....Chapman still sleeps in our room so when she wakes, she will start whispering, "Mama!"....and then she will climb into my bed and whisper to me in a mixture of Chinese and English and stroke my hair...once she knows I am awake, she will say, "Back!" and point to her back for me to scratch it.  I feel like Maryn and Chapman have especially grown a bit closer during the last few weeks....instead of Maryn asking if we can send Chapman back when she cries, she now will say, "Can you please give her to daddy?"  Usually, daddy is at work so we have to go to option two and that means manipulating the interaction between our two littles so that they laugh hysterically together and forget the tears.  Maryn has taught Chapman to give nose kisses and we all think that is super sweet.  This simple time has also allowed me enough downtime to hold the littles more and just be with them instead of rushing through our mornings and our afternoons because of commitments we have to keep outside of our home.  Our middles have spent countless hours on iPods and drawing or reading.....and they have been so content.  Usually, everyone wants to know when we are going to do something fun but this time off no one has really asked!  And our boys....every afternoon, the boys and I have had our time together binge watching Friends and drinking hot chocolate.  It has just been good.  Good to be together.  Good to grow together.  Good to have no plans.  Just good.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas 2016

Tis the season to be Merry!  
With all of us dressed up, we headed straight to church for the Christmas Eve candlelight service.
Church was to begin at 3:30
We all got in the car and MK asked, "Mom, are we really going to miss half of the service?"
Me: "Um, no, we are going to be there early.  No worries."
Ryan: "You do know church starts at 3:00, right?"
UMMMMM
NO
Had NO idea.
After a quick search on my phone, I realized we were going to be late....definitely NOT early as planned.
And to make it worse, when we did arrive, we were sent to the "overflow" room so I felt as if I was in timeout for not being on time.
 Alas, Christmas Eve it was and I wasn't going to let a little lateness ruin the evening for everyone.  We were at church, that was the most important part.
 And to make our Christmas even more special, my parents were here with us for Christmas!  We love it when they are here with us.....
 the children were able open their Christmas pjs and books....
 and all gave a thumbs up!
 Feeding the reindeer is always a must-do on Christmas Eve....
 And the traditional reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas....
only, this year, someone put the actual book in an odd spot where it could not be found so Pop read the story from his phone!  And then he read Maryn's book to all six!
 This Maddox.  Love her.  She is surely telling Pop something very important!  
 And Gran happily read to Chapman....Chapman LOVES books and Gran does too!
 Christmas Morning
 The children all waited patiently on Gran and Pop!
 Pop had to do his traditional check to be sure Santa was all gone before the children were allowed to come down the stairs and take a peek at the goodies Santa had left for them!
 MK was soo excited and was the first to round the corner and squeal in pure delight!
 The rest followed quickly behind.....
 Xbox and Clothes...what more do two teenage boys need?
 And a new tricycle for our smallest little....
 Maddox adores the stories of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and she asked for the books for Christmas....
 And this sweet Maryn...a scooter equipped with a bell was just what she needed!
 This boy right here loves his baby sister!  He even climbed into her new little house and played with her for a bit!  She was super excited!
 And Chapman is all about helping Finley out....she knew he needed a treat so she was doing her best to get them open for him....
 MK loves to help with anything in the kitchen....
 Christmas morning was no exception....she helped make the Monkey Bread and quiche and fruit...she was quite a busy bee!
 The sleigh bells were strewn about our yard on Christmas morning!
 Chapman acted as if this was her 10th Christmas....she was all about her stocking and her gifts!
 Lottery tickets....but we didn't win.....
 Maryn and her stick on nails....this girl loves anything and everything fashion!
 Maddox made a special gift for Gran this year....
 and she could not wait to see Gran unwrap it Christmas morning!  It is a mug with a picture that Maddox drew all by herself!  The sweetness of this is that Maddox actually purchased the mug for herself.  Then, she brought it home from school and said, "Mom, Mrs. Roberston (Maddox's teacher) said that Christmas is about Jesus and giving to others so I would like to give this mug to Gran because she LOVES mugs and coffee!"  I asked her several times if she was sure and she was so confident that she was supposed to give the mug to Gran!  I am proud of this little lady and her big heart!
 Oh this sweet baby.  She was so happy when she had a gift to unwrap.  
 Maddox and the nails and the "hang-down earrings"....it is just her!
 Maryn and everything dress-up....
 MK equaled pure joy on Christmas Day!
Each year the children are given a combined gift from us and we always have a game to go with it.  This year the game was to unwrap a gazillion gifts while wearing oven mitts....classic.  
 A girl and her thumb....precious.
 Virtual reality....this is the silliest looking thing to me but one of the most fun gifts received on Christmas Day.
 Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer....Gran has the best stocking stuffers!
 Backing up a bit....Christmas Eve traditions are some of our favorites!  It is just me and the kiddos....we get pedicures and this year was Maryn's very first time at the nail salon to get her nails done!  Last year she went with us but she was too scared of the bubbly water!  
 It is a time that we all look forward to....the boys love it because of the massaging chairs, I am thinking they could sit there all day!
 They say next year they are going to get their big toenail painted....you heard it here first!
 Maddox spent her nail time catching up with selfies....
 and Maryn played every game that could have possibly ever existed on this little tablet.....
 three sets of nails....perfection!
 Following our pedicures, it was off to Target for a moment just to be sure we weren't missing anything and to just be in the middle of the chaos....and after that, we met Mrs. Duncan at Panera for our traditional Christmas Eve lunch....and she brought goodies for all!
 Christmas Eve photo with Gran and Pop
 And this little reindeer....
 And this is the aftermath....and it looked like this for a few days....my always put together home looked just like this for more than a day and I looked the other way...that, my friends, is amazing.
 And this sweet baby....she just melts me.  She is 99% sweet and 1% a mess.  We all continue to just soak up every moment with her!