Happy Thanksgiving

Not only was it Thanksgiving today, it was our first snow. The funny thing about this is that 3 days ago our kids were outside playing in shorts. But this is St. Louis and you never know what you are going to get.
I have so much to be thankful for this year. My mom is here and that in itself is a true miracle. I have a wonderful happy and healthy family. Anna is doing better than we could ever ask for and a year ago I was staring at a picture of a little girl who was completely unknown to us but going to be our daughter. Lately I've felt like life with Anna is so difficult and I often go to bed feeling so bad about myself and my parenting with her. She is such a strong willed and demanding child and I so easily get frustrated with her. Her English and integration in our family is so good that it's easy to forget she has been here such a short time. When people ask about her transition I say things are fine but she still has some attachment issues. Today I was rocking her in my arms and she looked up and said "I love you." I sobbed. This is the first time she has said that to me on her own and all it took was some love and rocking. Such a reminder to me that all this little girl needs is some one on one attention. And that is hard to get in our house. She has a "twin" brother and other siblings that need a lot of attention too. But this was the incentive and reminder to me that she is still new to us and needs more than I am giving. I really love this little child need to give her more positive attention to facilitate attachment to us.
On a completely different note, it snowed today. I almost woke Anna up from her nap to see the heavy snow falling. She is from south China and it is tropical there. I am assuming she has never seen snow. When she woke up, I showed her the snow outside and asked her if she had ever seen snow. She said no. This will be a fun winter sledding if we get enough to play. So today I am thankful most for my family, all of them. I have so much deep hearted love for my kids, my hubby and my family. Truly I am grateful.

Callie looking out at the first snow.

Anna and Carter excited about the snow.
And the crew.

Happy Thanksgiving from our little turkeys to yours.



A visit with beloved friends

Last weekend our dear friends the V family came to visit from the east. We get together every fall and so look forward to our visits. The kids are all a year older and we always have a great time. The weather cooperated again and we were able to spend a lot of time outside. This family has a daughter the same age as Callie and twin 18 mo. old boys- hence one busy mama. Their kiddos couldn't be any cuter and we had weekend full of giggles and fun. The hardest part of the visit is saying goodbye of course and knowing it will be a full year before we see them again.

Pure cuteness from S.

N. with her beautiful blue eyes. And great hair shot of Carter.

Seriously all their kids have these incredible eyes. Isn't D. sweet!

Anna and her new friend D. She loved having all our friends around.

We decided to do a few tourist things so first on the agenda was heading to the Arch. My kids were so excited as we have never been. It was a gorgeous day and cool to see the city from way up high.

Up top looking out the little windows.

The pod you take to ride up to the top and down.

Looking up before we went in. They got a little nervous about going up to the top.

We also went to the Zoo since the weather was cooperating.

I am so sad I somehow didn't get a picture of everyone together. Time went to way to fast and we were sad to see them go. We miss them tremendously and can't wait until next year. Thanks for a great weekend V. family.


It happened again

The best intentions to post daily didn't quite happen. But instead of being hard on myself for yet another thing not accomplished, I'm going to just accept what I can get done and move on. I read a lot of blogs (when I should be posting) and there are so many out there written by moms and many different topics. What comes through time and time again is that we are all just doing the best we can and need to give ourselves more credit for what gets done and not be so hard on ourselves for what doesn't. What a great mantra, huh? It is one I definately need to keep in mind. While I'm on the topic, I read another great phrase on a blog I follow written by a stay at home mom also. She wrote that substituting the phrase "I get to" instead of "I have to" is such a great way to look at things throughout your day. I get to stay home play with my kids has a much more positive feel than I have to play with the kids. Try substituting this a couple of times and see if it works. I'm going to give it a try over the next couple of days. I seem to be caught up in the mondane of everyday life and it feels harder lately.
This post is about our annual trip to my hubby's hometown for the Ohio State County Fair. Ask anyone from his town and you will be reminded it is the largest state fair in the nation. What this means is more rides, more interesting people, and more booths of fried food of anything imaginable. Now I do mock "the fair" but the truth is we all love it and look forward to it each year. The kids call this 48 hours their summer vacation. I allow myself 48 hours of fair food which means unlimited elephant ears in my book. Not sure what that is- take a large flat piece of bread dough, deep fry it, then dredge it in melted butter, then cinnamon and sugar. Pure heaven. So at the end of August we head to Ohio for the Fair. Here are some pics. It is obvious the kids have a GREAT time. This of course was Anna's first time at the Fair and she took it like a pro. No fear, no trepidation, and her most heard phrase was "again!" So now Anna too will know the tradition of the Great Darke County Fair.

The hardest part about the fair.... knowing you have to wait a full year until it comes around again!


How time flies...

I decided this week that I would blog about past events that I didn't quite get to when they happened. So often I am thinking about blog posts during the day, but once my kiddos are in bed at night, I just don't make it to the computer. Maybe it's my level of exhaustion, or my creativity is just zapped by 8:00pm each night. So I'm going to go back and look through photos of the last months and try and get a post in each day.
This post is about Anna's baptism. Let's see, that was back in September. We were blessed with a beautiful Sunday and it was a wonderful day. We had our relatives and close friends join us at church and then we all headed to our house for brunch. Anna and all the kids did great at church and they had a ton of fun playing outside at her "party."
A special thanks to my friend Tracy for taking pictures for us that day!

Anna and Callie

Anna and Carter

Our gang

Anna, Callie, our cousin, and best friends.

After church we got one quick picture with our pastor and Anna's Godparents.

Then to home for her party.

This kid can eat and it's her favorite thing to do. We are still working on some food issues but overall she is doing so much better. Her mouth is just so small but she is determined to get a big bite in..

This is my mom, myself and my great aunt. I have to mention that this woman is 96 years old and in the most wonderful shape. She still drives, mows her own grass, works in the church 7 days a week, and really has it all together. She is extremely spiritual and is the family matriarch. When we told her about Anna, she was so happy for us. I know this women put in endless hours of prayer for Anna and our family. I turned to her several times in our adoption process for spiritual support and she is truly an amazing woman. And my mom doing amazingly well too. I can't believe she was sitting on life support just 5 months ago and looks like this today. We are blessed.

We'll see what's in store for tomorrow...


So many firsts...

I feel like my little firl is changing so quickly. There is such a big difference between having a child in preschool versus kindergarten. She is one of the big kids now, riding the bus, walking around a big school from one activity to the next, the ever changing group of friends, and the fascination with the boys chasing her. It's all going so fast. Lately it's hitting me hard. She lost her first tooth and it is just a reminder to me that there is no going back, she is growing up. And while I am so very excited for her and all that is to come, I feel saddened by the loss of that little girl stage. But I am very proud of her. She is doing great is school, making new friends, playing new sports, and working really hard in her new role as a big kid. So while she isn't an adorable toddler or preschooler anymore, she blossoming into a beautiful and bubbly girl with this incredible eagerness to grow up. So my blessings are for you right now Callie. You are awesome.

First tooth gone!

First school party. She loved it.

First time wearing a costume at school. This was the parade around the block.

First goal scored at her soccer game. Wow was she thrilled.

Please don't grow up too fast Cal, there's plenty of time.....


Happy Halloween

We had a great Halloween. October was such a wonderful month. It stayed warm and dry all month allowing us to be outside. We spent a lot of time at various pumpkin patches, farmers markets, and playgrounds. We took advantage of all the Halloween activities. Anna was so thrilled with everything. This little girl is so incredibly smart. She picked right up on all the words associated with Halloween. Her and Carter would sing all the songs they learned at preschool- it was too cute. We told her about trick or treating and it took all of one house for her to get the hang of it. No sooner did someone drop a piece of candy in her bag was she off and running to the next house. She had a blast. So here are a couple of pics of our Halloween week.

The kids painting little pumpkins. Jack and Callie got to carve big ones.

Everyone decorating their trick or treat bags.

And costumes- can you guess who Anna was???

I'll give you a hint- she is not a princess.......

Final hint- this is a dead giveaway!

Yes, Pinkalicious. This is my all time favorite kids book and we read it all the time. She was very excited and we had a pink dress up dress already so she had lots of practice in her costume. Jack was Iron Man ( 3rd year in a row), Carter was an M&M, and Callie was an angel.

And now it is November. How is that possible???