Thursday, August 27, 2009

Recipe for First Grade

The day has come as I always knew it would. My eager & excited chickadee ventures to First Grade and our beloved and cherished mornings together will become relegated to weekends and summers. Half day K gives way to all day First and with it came a new building, new teachers/staff but plenty of old familiar faces too. Our day starts sooooo early and the weather was mucky :( so these photos are from yesterday when we visited her classroom for Meet & Greet. We love her new teacher and there are several friends from the neighborhood and last year in her class......that sure helps the First Grade jitters fade away!

So, here is our recipe for First Grade:

Prep time: 6 years

Take one enthusiastic 6 year old , coordinated school accessories and beg for the obligatory First Day of School photo on the front porch. :)~ Oh, btw, said 6 year old opted for a messenger bag this year and I was nicely but firmly informed that backpacks are SO last year! (last year, as in Kindergarten I presume!) LOL ADD: One raised Mama eyebrow(which I highly recommend every Mama perfects) and sprinkle in a chuckle.
Oh yes, First Grade feet must match the ensemble too! ;0 Stir in one trip to the Mama nail salon for school ready piggies!

Did you all know just how much stuff it takes to go to First Grade??? I didn't either, but its been fun shopping for it all this summer! Notice the gym shoes that MUST remain at school...... Sift in: all the above ingredients and SEVERAL trips to the outlet Mall for just THE right pair of silver(with sequins....a must!) of "stay at school" sneakers.

Decorate liberally(puffy paints!) one art smock! Front............

..................... and back! ;o)

Blend in plenty of time for greeting friends outside of the school building! This was supposed to be our traditional photo standing outside the front of the building, but I like this spontaneous shot so much better! Pure pleasure here!!

Lastly garnish with one seat(with name plate!! exciting stuff!!) and school smiles.
Serve with much love and understanding daily.
May substitute first day smiles with a nostalgic Mama who is SO happy for her girl, but already missing her this morning like crazy! And the baby?......oh, he's so lost this morning without her! He's getting lots of TLC from Me.
Hugs to all the Mamas who are mixing up their own "back to school batches" this week! It does get a bit easier( I promised Jen F. I would let her know!!) but gosh the heart still lurches a bit! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, a simple phone call changed the course of our family forever.

One year ago today, a kind voice spoke the words we had longed to hear for so long, "there is a baby boy waiting for you in Taiwan."

One year ago today, will be forever etched in our minds & hearts as an ordinary day that became extraordinary.

One year ago today, Lauren and I hopped up & down anxiously waiting for Scott to rush home so that we could all view his precious face for the first time together.

One year ago today, my breath caught in my throat when I gazed upon his angel face for the first time & I knew that..... yes, little one, its been you all along.

One year ago today I instantly became the blessed Mama of 2.

One year ago today, our beautiful Little Miss became a proud Big Sis.

One year ago today, & with instant clarity I understood that yes, miracles can happen twice.

One year ago today I thanked God for 2 courageous, strong & selfless women halfway around the world who chose life. I'm thankful for them each & every day.

& all along a dream of him, a whispering of his name, had grown in our hearts & minds........

One year ago today that prayer was answered.

Our precious beautiful boy at referral; these photos were taken when he was 15 days old & are our earliest keepsakes of him.
And though it would be just shy of 5 1/2 long months before we finally held him in our arms, he was worth every moment(both the joyful and agonized) along the way.

Our beautiful baby boy at 12 months...............

Our baby boy(today) at 13 months is more than we ever could have imagined or had the right to hope for. Exuberant, funny, smart, sweet, spicy, adorable and oh so year ago today we knew to count our lucky stars and we haven't stopped since!

Friday, August 14, 2009


One year ago I began this blog as a vehicle to share our adoption journey and snippets of our everyday life along the way. I officially launched my blog on August 19th, though the true "work" began days beforehand. I had no real working knowledge of blog technology, etiquette, design or even a clear vision of what I wished to contribute to the vast community that is the blogosphere. I clearly remember questioning my own audacity and wondering with some trepidation if anyone would even bother to read, much less follow along for the duration. What I did know was that I was terribly impressed with the blogs I had stumbled upon and immensely grateful to the families that shared their adoption adventures and offered insight into what we might expect throughout our process. I've said often, though usually in conversation, that I wished we had access to adoption related blogs during our journey to Lauren. How even a small tidbit or shared experience from those who had walked the path before us, would have allayed so many misplaced fears & anxieties. I feel gratitude for the people who did reach out to us before our travels via a message board/emails and knew in my heart this (blog) resource was both a gift and a responsibility this time around. With that in mind and a mission statement of simply wishing to keep family & friends in our "loop", I launched Destination-Taiwan:Our Forever Family and became, among many other titles: a blogger.
What I didn't know at the time.....what I couldn't have possibly known at the time was what an important part of our journey this blog would ultimately become. If someone had said I would be blessed with connections & friendships as a result, surely I would have scoffed, albeit politely. :) And connections really doesn't do justice to the supportive network and circle of shared experiences I have found here. Where else am I just a click away from dozens of families sharing in the joy and beauty of forming their families through adoption......or hoping to. Where else can I share the magic of a watching families fly around the world to be united with their precious babies/children and then later cry happy and frustrated tears with them over triumphs and challenges.(jet lag anyone?) How lucky I was to find such loyal and caring folks who clicked MY blog from time to time to peek at my random blathering, read my (often lengthy....yeah, I think we've already established my penchant for the wordy! lol ) musings about my life with, first one, then 2 miracle babies. There have been times I've babbled a little, left some baggage behind, grumbled, shouted with glee, celebrated, hoped, feared,reminisced & contributed a bit of fancy/whimsy....and probably more. And guess what? You guys stopped stepped across my welcome noticed that the porch light was left understood there were posts that left me a bit vulnerable..........and still you took the time to read and (often times) leave amazing comments behind.
And because you did.......because you cared......this little blog that had no real original mission, stayed the course and documented the arrival of our baby boy and life ever after with 2 munchkins!
And because you did.......I have been blessed to know so many of you, to read with pleasure and happiness your every day happenings and celebrate the extraordinary. I have prayed with many of you during the challenging moments and shouted solidarity during the difficult or outrageous times. Because of you, I was invited into so many homes, all around the country(& world!) and given rare access or peeks into your families & dreams. All differing journeys(some adoptive related, others not), hopes, rationales, personalities, hobbies and perspectives.......but with one common thread: reaching out through blogs. Leaving your imprint in the sand.
Along the way I have also had the pleasure to personally meet several of you or communicate via email or snail mail. My Lauren is pen-pals with darling Anna Grace, the daughter of a bloggy Mama friend, who still awaits baby girl #2. My Tyler received an adorable 1st birthday card from the ever thoughtful & sweet Jen F.(and family) AND miss Lauren considers Simone to be her best est blog buddy EVER. This blog has helped me to reconnect with family all across the country AND 2 very dear old friends!(no, not OLD.....but from my teaching days!) ~ Tracy & Carrie, it was WONDERFUL to see ya both and get caught up once again! Can't wait for the next time! :) How wonderful that it has also allowed me to find several families who like us, had previously adopted from Kazakhstan. What a creative outlet its become for me! And man oh man, you guys are good & I mean good at this bloggy stuff ~ yes, I mean each & every one of you!
And while we were in Taiwan and I sat wide awake in the dark of the night, my blog and the warm, loving comments left by you all, kept me company and helped to ease a bit of homesickness. It also gave us a vital link to our daughter.....cuz being that far away was hard & sometimes phone calls just aren't enough!
Now, almost one year later, I'm still hoping to change out my background LOL but life keeps getting in the way and often its either publish a new post or work on lay-out.......always the post wins! :) Maybe that can be a goal for this next year! One year later, I know I haven't set the world on fire, but I have been myself. I still fall behind from time to time, but y'all know I'll catch up eventually. I LOVE the new faces that stop by and I cherish the buddies who have been with me for so long. I'm excited to see where this next year takes us........AND where the next year takes all of you!
And I thank you. XOXO
Just sign me....... Lisa Mama, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Friend, Optimist and Blogger :) oh okay, you can add, sentimental fool too! *grin*
P.S. Yaya this is for you.....a Friday Fragment: If I had maintained a blog during our journey to Lauren, I would have called it: Rockthekazblog !! :) Oh yeah!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's About Time....

It's about time I posted again AND my lack of posting is about a lack of This is a poignant month for us and I have so many posts swirling in my head, if only I was better able to carve out more time for sharing! Initially I averaged about 2 posts per week, then later about every 7 days; now I feel giddy if I'm able post every 10 days or so! And like so many other things, I actually set out to blog (tonight) about a different subject altogether but thought maybe instead I would give a summary of "Us Lately" and try to catch-up a bit.

This past Sunday marked 6 months to the day that our precious baby boy was placed in our arms in Taiwan. He took our breath away then and now we are simply & completely smitten and in awe of this incredible gift. 6 months ago TODAY, Scott, Tyler and I were soaring high above the clouds~ destination: home, where an amazing daughter and big sis waited with much anticipation & hope. Another family, a friend from my agency board is flying home tonight with her beautiful daughter....flying home to begin their lives as a family of 5. It is incredible to me, this unbreakable cycle of happily ever after for so very many of us, as evident by the new families formed through the miracle of adoption every day. I send wishes and prayers to Lisa R., Michelle, Sarah K., Wanda(China) and their families ~ may the next 6 months(and beyond) bring only sweet transitions and joy.

And just how is our baby dumpling? Barely 13 mos.(as of this past Sunday!) and I guess some would consider him a toddler now. My Mama's heart does a bit of lurch at that, as I still see sweet baby cheeks & hear sweet baby sounds! He is walking now and no matter how many babies a Mama is blessed with, you never forget the awe and amazement of watching those first tentative wee baby steps! Of course we've been watching this progression for many weeks now; watching the sheer surprise & delight on his baby face upon taking those first forward momentum steps to watching him toddle between two sets of eager outstretched arms. Course he still crawls commando style if he's in a hurry, but every day we are seeing more & more steady steps and witnessing his delight growing with his own accomplishment! He's such a funny and happy little guy and we just can hardly remember a time without him in our lives.

And our sweet Miss? I admit it, like a lot of Mamas you sort of mark your child's milestones and changes by the(school) calendar: birthdays, school events, extra curricular activities, etc. What a surprise for me to find my best girl growing and changing in leaps and bounds AND doing so in the summer!? Hey! That's supposed to me my safe time, right? time to exhale and restore for the Fall. LOL She's doing great.....just today she left for a solo visit to Mimi & Papa's house and while I received loads of huggies and kisses, I'm fairly certain that I was the only one holding back a slight sob and knowing how much she will be missed around here. Course rational Mama knows enough to celebrate this transition and celebrate that she feels safe, confident & secure enough to make this trip. It helps too that my folks are fantastic and she's crazy about them! :) She's also discovered that she loves my Ipod, jumping off the diving board at our local water park/pool & tie-dye! No rhyme or reason, but all delightful......except that I'm missing her big time tonight! And poor baby Tyler wondered around all afternoon calling for "La La"??........

O.K. I think that sums it up for now. I'm tucking in a few photos....... just a little sugar. :) Hope you are all well and I'll be peeking in on y'all just as soon as I can!

Wonder & delight, discovering the joys of the sprinkler.
Finding her own space in a house that's getting a bit crowded with TOYS!! lol

Oh, almost forgot...we have a new addition to our family. I'm pleased to introduce "Lightening", Lauren's crown-tailed Beta. Lexi(our furry girl) is so NOT amused!

Mm-hmm....yes, my baby discovers he's got game! Taking a peek at Lauren's DS game system.

I just love this picture.....Tyler is so gleeful and proud and sweet Lauren looks on, smiling indulgently at her baby brother. Much nicer than the alternative which is sassy Lauren clutching the game to her chest while she flees the room, hollering, "MOM, Tyler's touching my DS again"!! *grin* I mean, that's just a hypothetical........ ;)