Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Lunch & The Bash!

First I want to thank you all for the sweet wishes for our best girl! It was a special birthday for her in many respects and I have been anxious to share the rest of the was a big big weekend. :)

On Saturday my Mom, Lauren & I boarded the train and ventured to downtown Chicago for our day at the American Girl Store. Its in a new location right on the Miracle Mile and of course its as gorgeous as ever! Lauren has been dreaming of her look alike "big doll" for years now & has long cherished her Bitty Baby. I know in part she worried about sweet Bitty being relegated to "second favorite doll" status, but finally my tenderhearted girl was ready for her doll. It was a magical day and we felt so lucky to have my Mom with us for this celebration. It was the ultimate girly day! AND we even bumped into another JOH Mama(Kerry M. ) and her daughter Grace ~ they too were celebrating a special milestone!

And because our family apparently likes really BIG weekends :)~ we also hosted her family party the very next day on Sunday. Another wonderful day and Lauren received so many glorious & thoughtful presents. I could absolutely share endless details, but just this once(or twice?) I'm going to let our photos tell a bit of the story. Here goes nothing......

Lauren on the train ride downtown; I love how excited( and somehow tiny) she looks!!
Did you know you can send your doll to the salon? Lauren's look-a-like now has pierced ears just like her! If you peek really close, you can see Lauren's ear sparkle too! It also melted my heart just a bit when L inquired if she could hold her doll's hand during the procedure ~ she didn't want her doll to be scared!

Lookie lookie what we found! This soccer uniform matches Lauren's uniform almost perfectly! It was a must have!

Our lunch was full of sweet treats and yes, Lauren changed her doll TWICE during our stay at American Girl. lol

Are the rest of you wishing you had stock in American Girl right about now? Me too!! Well, its hard to resist a matching ensemble for the girls........I'm weak were cuteness is concerned, but at least I'm self-aware. ;0) The girls all dressed for the party!

Even Miss Lilly(doll) got a present or two at the party! Every well heeled doll simply must have a set of stylish wheels. Right? Right? And yes I do realize that if I ever had any male (blog) readers they are probably long gone now.Screaming about burning eyes and all..... Sorry fellas! *grin*

Lauren and Alyssa showcasing the long awaited and desperately desired bed tent!

Yup, she got new wheels too!(remember lots of family giving gifts too!) It was time for the 20 inch heart lurched a bit; it seems like only yesterday she was struggling to reach the pedals on her tricycle.

And last but not least, our little cupcake......who helped himself to quite a bit of chocolate cupcake at the party. :) AND who had an awfully grand time at the party and all weekend long! I promise more pics of our chocolate bandit soon! Do you think he looks a bit "caught in the act?" giggle.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to Our Sweet Little Miss!!

Gosh, fabulous 7 seems to be a recurring theme in my recent blog posts! :) Today is no exception as our best girl is turning 7 years old on the 17th........yes, that's today!! You could even say that we are in 7th heaven! *corny, but too good to pass up!* **chortle**

The baby is tucked into napland, and I have been so anxious to share a bit about her special day. AND its a crazy, jam packed day too! We started our day with birthday hugs galore...special birthday breakfast requested by the birthday girl and then Tyler & I ferried her off to school, lugging along with us 30 double frosted Pop Star cupcakes. ( we needed loads of extras for the office staff and the Art, Music & Gym teachers) It wasn't easy darting around all the cars and balancing that ginormous tray on Tyler's wheels, but today its all about what Lauren wants......and those cupcakes were calling her name! :) Her classmates were soooo excited about those cupcakes .......but the little girls could only swarm around our Miss & ogle the baby. And Lauren was only too delighted to share lots of tidbits about her brother and prance around the room pushing his pram de jour! ;0) I also spotted a paper crown awaiting our birthday princess and know she's going to be over the moon when the classroom coronation takes place later today. lol

The only fly in the ointment ( there's only one, right?) is that her Daddy has to to coach a game tonight and her school planned its Open House for this evening. Ack! Soooooooo some careful planning preceded the day and we girls slipped away last Sunday for lunch at her favorite place AND a trip to the ear piercing salon!! Yes, our girl is sporting bling now in those tiny lobes and since she's been talking it about for the past year, suffice to say it was a grand day.

To round out the birthday week, we have another all girls special event planned for this coming Saturday ( pictures & details to follow next time!) and a family party on Sunday. Phew....I'm tired just thinking about it all........giggle.....oh wait, I'm the one who planned it all AND will be doing the hosting, cooking, prep and cleaning! All worth it too.......

On this day 7 years ago an angel dropped down from heaven and 1 VERY lucky Mama & Daddy were blessed to become her parents. Its been a BIG year for Lauren with so many changes. I am so proud of the young lady she is and am in awe of her big generous & open heart. She's everything I could have hoped for.......more than I had the right to wish for......... and then she's even a bit more!! But you guys already know that since I wear my feelings right on my proverbial blog sleeve! * Its also a day that my thoughts drift to another, one a world away........ knowing that she too is remembering 7 years ago. May she find peace & somehow know that Lauren lives a loving life and is cherished always.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!! Love you always!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Seven months ago, this amazing little guy was placed into our arms. Those of you that have been following along with us (and I thank and appreciate you all!) know that I have shared some of the milestones along the month home, 3 months home & more! Today marks another milestone as well; Tyler has now been with us for as long as he spent in Taiwan. 7 months in Taiwan & 7 months in our arms, though it would be 2 additional days before coming home to America.

I remember clearly when we reached this milestone with our Lauren and its just as significant with our son. Tyler's time in Taiwan was marked with skilled nurturing care, love & I believe happiness. It was also a time that tested him with drastic transitions. The first occurred when he was placed into his Foster home at the age of 3 months. I have expressed before our gratitude & debt to this beautiful woman who showered him with her loving ministrations for 4 months, but still I understand what a tremendous transition that must have been for someone so small & vulnerable. The second & 3rd transitions occurred on February 9th, our blessed Family Day & then again as we flew home to begin our lives as a family of 4. What stands out in my mind is how well Tyler handled each of these fundamental shifts in his reality......these losses, in his short life........... & as the keeper(not owner) of his precious history I am always seeking ways to document(preserve) the steps and the building blocks of his past that have made him the sweet & courageous baby boy he is today.

Often we are asked if we believe Tyler remembers any of his time in Taiwan. Sometimes we are told that such memories would be impossible. Knowing our son as I do, I know with a deep certainty that he does remember and was shaped by the time he spent in his beautiful birth country. I intuited this as a Mama, but its been reinforced time and again. Some of you may recall his delight and joy upon hearing " I love you" in Mandarin. That was a humbling moment for me, a lesson not to forget. I have also witnessed his earnest curiosity and keen interest in our Asian friends and Asian families we see in our day to day adventures. Tyler remembers and its specific. He spots lots of folks with black or dark hair, but only women of Asian ancestry draw his most penetrating gaze. This was more pronounced in the first few months home and of course he is generally cautious around strangers in public........but I KNEW he was seeing something akin to "home"........someone who resembled the sweet face he loved in Taiwan and grieved for once home with us. I know he remembers and I believe he is who he is because of his time in Taiwan.......not in spite of it.

I have also been asked, mostly by close friends/family, if I mourned the loss of spending those first months with him.......with both of our babies. Over the years my answer has changed. Always I felt that it wasn't right or fair to grieve those "lost" months; how could I complain having been so blessed? That would seem ungrateful, maybe even selfish. But time & experience shapes most realities & now allows me to honestly answer, "yes"....."of course". Of course I wish I could have seen them take their first tremulous breath......witness their first case of baby hiccups.......see that first radiant, toothless grin.....first roll over........of course I wish I could have folded them into my arms as they cried or fussed in the night & soothed them after the first round of baby immunizations. Of course I wish I could have spared them the loss and confusion of each transition. BUT, in answer to that question, my response now will always be baby centered. Taking myself out of it, more than anything I wish that both of my treasures could have been showered with the love, adoration and the magic that most newborns experience, even peripherally, from day one. Please don't misunderstand.....I KNOW they were loved.....deeply. Their lives are testaments to that fact. But I also know that there must have been crushing sadness and even grief ; not because of the baby (beautiful, innocent,pure), but because of the situation; a situation that many of us reading this would find unthinkable. Once upon a time I used to watch A Baby Story on TLC, but at some point found that I no longer could. Not because I envied the parents or begrudged the babies their spotlight.......but because I knew in those first hours, days, weeks, months there were no balloons, flowers, breathless phone calls to friends & loved ones for my new parents gazing in rapture at these tiny miracles, hovering nearby so as not to miss a single newborn moment. Perhaps no celebration. That did happen just took 7 months. :) And in some ways, even that answer is unsatisfactory to me; its not my place to tamper with HIS will or with history as it unfolded. Every lost or missed moment became a cherished moment for us ......but just a little bit later. And because of it, I know better than to take a single moment for granted.( Which is not to say that we don't have our grumpy I am mindful that our family was shaped from all of the above and know its both my charge & privilege to show our children unconditional love each & every day. To celebrate who they are, where they came from and where they may go. And God give me the strength to give them wings one day, to find their own way....their own destiny.

*deep breath* Changing gears......

AND Tyler is 14 months old TODAY!! My intention was to share 14 juicy tidbits about our little guy, but this post sort of ran itself tonight. Who knew I was gonna wax philosophical?? LOL Just please know that its been a glorious 7 months and we can't wait to see what the next 7 months bring!

Below are some pictures from our recent days at home, just Tyler & Mama. We've been outside a lot and water has been the general theme. LOL When I look into his face I so clearly see the echo of Taiwan and its gracious people. He has laughing eyes and a zest for life that I find irresistible! :) Happy 7 months home baby boy!! Thank you for choosing us!!

"Peace and love to you all."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Black & White Wednesday

My babies embracing at the end of a long school day.......together again!