Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Never Easy.......

saying goodbye. :)

But that's just what I'm going to do, at least with regards to my blog. This is something I have been considering for quite a few months now; months spent vacillating between feeling its the right time and then again maybe not.

I think part of my indecision has been due to how much I have loved and enjoyed this blog. Never would I have guessed, over 2 and half years ago, when I stumbled through my first tentative post, the joys, challenges, friendships, stories and memories created with each tap of a keystroke and each decision ( sometimes followed by a deep breath) to Publish Post.

More than once I sat down to ruminate over something tugging at my thoughts or wished only to share a bit of happenstance here and ended up with something completely different by post's end. Those were probably my most challenging ones as I always wondered if it was meant to be shared; with only one exception, I always went forward, trusting that if it was important enough to nudge something else from the forefront, then it needed to said. Each time it was received with grace and understanding by so many of you!

Initially my intentions were to use this blog as a forum to share our news and updates (with family and friends ) about our Baby Boy and snippets of the journey along the way. I'm so thankful that it became so much more than that ~ at least for me.

I peek back at photos of my precious kiddos and am surprised anew at the swift passage of time. While I have not always been faithful to keeping scrapbooks updated this time around, this blog has stood in, capturing moments, moods, toothless grins, chubby cheeks, babes in the bath, sibling moments, memories, milestones and lots more.

On occasion it allowed me to advocate for causes I treasure and explore adoption as it relates to our family.

And something else brought me friendships and unique connections. As I look back at some of the first comments (received) I am so humbled to still have so many of those folks in my life; many of whom I have met and some I still have yet to! These were the Mamas who celebrated each little step along the way to Tyler; who collectively helped to hold me together when the path got bumpy and later reached out with patience and compassion during those jet lagged nights in Taiwan when I missed one child dearly, while still getting to know another. These were the Mamas who always remembered to "make" over Lauren too, knowing that , blog title aside, our destination has always been family first.

And I'm equally grateful for the friends who joined us later and laughed along with the toddler chapters and grade school escapades ~ they opened their hearts to our family while letting me get to know and love their own. What a tremendous gift it has been for me!

Some friends preferred to read along silently or send personal emails. I have treasured you all and feel blessed to count each of you among my friends. I have rejoiced in your good news, as so many miracle babies and children found their way home. Blog or no blog, I take those friendships with me and absolutely will be checking in on all of you who continue to share your joys and moments by blog! How could I do otherwise?!?

But for me? It's just time. My sweet & insightful bloggy friend Rachel asked if Face Book was one reason for stopping. In truth it is a factor but this is something I considered long before joining FB. What FB does allow however, is for the connection to remain to so many of you who have come along this journey with me. AND that? ......does make it all the easier to step away from this.

And I know with absolute clarity that I'm going to miss it. Already there are things we have planned or are anticipating this Spring that will be tempting to document through this blog. But I always said that if I couldn't do it justice, or the boundaries got blurred or if I couldn't be assured of relative safety for my family in blogging, then I would step away. Its meant too much to me to only visit monthly or let it languish. I do intend to keep it open for the the time being as I so loved and appreciated exploring blogs of the BTDT before me.

What I have shared is pretty An optimistic realist ( a twice blessed Mama ) who tried always to keep it pretty real, while not always sharing the minutia of every squabble, pet peeve or bad mood. I always kind of figured we all had enough of that stuff in our daily lives that no one needed or wanted to read about it here! LOL

I could say that I did it all for the kids and while I do hope and pray that someday this is a form of keepsake for them both, honestly I think I ultimately wrote for me. Cuz I knew how fast it could go and I wanted to capture small moments of it, forever. All of you were part of that and I'm so lucky and happy that you were! Thank you!

Someday I may decide to blog again but I don't expect to do so on this site again. Two years home now with our Taiwan Treasure and this April we celebrate eight years home with our beautiful Kazakhstan Princess (eight years!!!) ; the time feels right to close this chapter......knowing the journey still continues. Thanks so much friends!!!



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2 Years Of......

absolute blessings with this baby boy!

Today marks two years to the date that our beautiful boy was placed into our arms. I always believe and have remarked to others that the first year home with these precious babies is so poignant, such a time of endless discovery and joyous surprises. Year 2 then is pure sweetness as you tumble further in love, as your family ties strengthen and are reinforced with the bliss of being able to remember back to how your little one reacted at any given holiday the year how your wee one has changed, flourished and in turn how they have changed each one of us!

How tremendous it feels to celebrate two years of this one tiny boy, a son for us, a brother for our Lauren and absolutely our second miracle. He is and will always be my baby.........our family completed. Our prayers answered twice.

Two Years of beautiful baby boy,

Two years of special blessings, both near and far.......

Of more kisses that I can count(!)..........

Of many "firsts".......and how those moments are never truly gone. Growing as a family means always experiencing "firsts" time & again,

Of smiles & moments that light up my world..........

Two years of sweet baby cheeks...............of one kind, :)

and another............... ;)

Two years of (occasional) tears and letting us know if we got it wrong........................

and of witnessing self discovery...............growing independence,

and of not giving up and trying to figure it all out.............

Two years of some surprises............ *smile*

TWO YEARS of being Mama to these 2 darlings.........and delighting in them, of their moments together.............

**One sweet girl who was desperately missed, waking up in the wee hours of the morning to finally hold her long awaited baby brother. In my heart we were not really *home* until I saw them together and could hold them both close ~ forever.

Two years of playing with Big Sis.............learning about each others' worlds,

Two years of her helping hands...............

And getting used to buckets and oodles of La La "kissies".......

Two years of GREAT hair................ :)

Two years of faith and of learning about & folding a third beautiful culture into our own..............of redefining our family again,

Two years of tender moments and more joy than I can express.............then,

and now.............

Two years of being a family of four ( five with Lexi girl!).................

Two years of celebrations, discoveries, day trips, family, friendships, stumbles, challenges, triumphs, boo-boo's, vacations, diapers, potty training, new teeth and lost ones(!).........2 years of easy mornings, hectic weekends, sleepless nights and snuggling close, sniffles, changing family dynamics, responsibilities, leaps of faith, trips to the park & sledding hill, rushed meals and savored over itty bitty moments & of loving...........more than I can possibly share in one post. TWO YEARS (and more!!!) of utter thankfulness.
Two years that began with one moment...................our first glimpse,

Two years and yes that picture makes me cry every time(!)...................and the journey continues.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


And a little bit of this & that too!

Well, I have not been blogging regularly and I suspect that's been the case since late Fall. ( I could look back to check, but I'm too lazy. ) :) Winter crept in and along with it the Holidays, a sinus infection (pre Christmas, but blessedly healed beforehand) a round of the sickies for our Littlest Little :) , an uneventful but joyous ringing in of a new year, excitement and much planning for our upcoming Taiwan Reunion ( and happily RSVP'ing to our much anticipated Kazapalooza!) a birthday tucked in for good measure and more school events (Lauren) , basketball games (Lauren) and birthday parties ( again, Lauren) than I can count! In other as always!

But its also Winter and I joined a family friendly health club. PK ( pre kiddos) I was an avid addict of one of our local gyms but with one thing or another, let that membership go and became a religious walker and full time chaser of small children. :) Through the encouragement of a friend, another returning addict :) I have rejoined, thrown caution to wind and have even been taking several power classes designed to sculpt, tone and shape! ( and kick my bu** for good measure!) All good things, all unique things to this once avowed solo workout creature and honestly all things I need now that I'm just barely on this side of *smirk* AND? I'm loving it! Truly. And sore muscles and newly minted schedules aside, I think its been a necessary and positive change; but did I mention its keeping me busy? There is that. :)

And its Winter. I believe that deserves repeating. We have been fortunate so far this season with fairly mild to moderate snow fall and New Years' Eve day it was actually hovering in the mid 50's. Unheard of around here! And while I know that many parts of the country have been hammered time and again :( those of us nestled here in our little corner of the Midwest are making the most of it! Honestly our family relishes the snow and we make every effort to get out in it as the weather allows. Granted the extra layering can be a hassle and please don't even mention my daily destroyed foyer strewn with snow boots, mittens, hats and all things wet. And perhaps I could do without the slush and muck AND yeah, I'll probably be over it and ready for Spring in a couple of weeks ( Spring won't oblige of course until closer to April) :) but until then..............we have been having some snow-riffic fun and savoring the outside time!

Here's our best girl; no hesitation on her snowboard this year and apparently no time lost. She has conquered both of the larger local hills and now we are scouting for new horizons. I don't know how she manages down those frosty slopes on a slim plastic board, but she does somehow ~ and somehow she stays on most of the time. I sure couldn't do it! And gosh how I love to watch her fly!

And Baby Boy loves to ride the sleds and sample the snow. We taught him early on to avoid the yellow variety. A timeless lesson. ;)

Snow brings out the silly in my snowchicks. Well, most things bring out the silly.......

All the way back now to our first snow in early December. The ground was barely covered but that didn't stop one determined and spunky man from making the most of it. And yes......tasting it once again! LOL

And for some reason they both look so serious.....maybe cuz Mama made them stop for a moment and pose for a shot. See how they suffer for my craft?? LOL Lexi dog adores the snow too and often sports a snow beard romping along behind the kids! And my heart melts at how his little arm is draped around her......pinning her.......ummmm.... *tucking* her close to his side.

And finally, make no mistake......Winter can be long and sometimes a little whimsy is necessary. ( and yes, snow gear IS sporty and fun!) I spotted these coordinating coats last year, stalked them mercilessly until the price dropped a bit and made them mine. You can't put a price tag on finding something "matching" for an 8 year old girl and 2 year old boy and I smile every time I see them sporting those jackets.
Actually I smile just about every time I see them together, unless they are bickering, which ironically happens with greater frequency in the Winter too......hmmmm.......but that's for another post! (and maybe an Advil or 2) :)
Happy Winter everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rock On!

This will actually be a brief post........yes, from me!! :) I really, I promise! *smile*

I am tickled to redirect you all tonight to the Taiwan R.O.C.ks ( Taiwan adoptive families reunion) blog that has been created to keep everyone current and up to date on all the latest and greatest about this First Annual event set to take place August 12 - 14th in Dallas Texas.

And I could say so SO much more and add oodles and oodles of thoughts about the why, the what and why this is going to be so special ~ but I think its already been said on the R.O.C.ks website!

Oh and just in case you are on FaceBook, please drop me a private note ( I just recently joined!!) and I would be thrilled to add you to our reunion related private group where even more information awaits along with relevant chatter and kiddo related threads of interest; plus lots of cool Mamas and Dads too! :)

Please check it out and hope to see you all in sunny Texas this summer!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


our little guy turned 2 and half years old. Next month, to the very day, we will have had him in our arms for 2 years. Never is the swift passage of time more evident than during Holidays, milestones and significant events that mark the contrast from before to the now. Wasn't it just a moment ago he was blowing out candles on his Elmo cake, gleefully holding up 2 fingers and announcing to anyone (and everyone), " I two now". Two indeed, plus 6 months! And though I can recall with instant clarity the long months of waiting for our travel dates and the enormity of our journey to Taiwan, in all ways, both big and small, it feels as if he has been with us forever. Somehow one tiny dimpled man filled a space that we didn't even recognize existed, added a joy and spark, we didn't know we lacked and claimed us for his own ~ and we him. He just fits.....perfectly.

And because I've been a bit *ahem* remiss in my blogging duties of late I dug through my photo archives to share a few photos from late Fall and of course some more recent ones from our Holidays. *sigh* Are those over too? So quickly? I didn't have a spare moment to share, but we loved our time together and Christmas was lovely. Our sniffles cleared up just in time and Santa found us at Mimi & Papa's house, just like always. He spoiled the kids again this year, so I guess they had been pretty well behaved. :)

AND because this blog is as much a journal & scrapbook (for our children) as it is a way to share snippets of our lives with friends and family, I thought it might be nice to share a few thoughts about Tyler as he marches forward, one day closer now to three than to two. When we still marked his age by months I sometimes shared bits about his color, number, shape, etc. mastery but this time I'm going in a slightly different direction. He's solid with all of that or at least when he chooses to be. :) But its the little things, all about what make him......well, SO him, that I don't ever wish to lose or forget. So that is what this Mama wishes to share and I appreciate in advance your indulgence as I do! there are pics at the end if you make it that far! Or you can skip right there......I won't tell anyone, I promise! ;)

Its the way he dashes up, full throttle from behind to wrap his arms around my legs and whispers, " I love you Mama". Sometimes he shouts it too! :)

Its in the way his eyes dance and light up when I walk into a room.........even if I've only been in the next room for an instant.

Its about how he just melts into my body, rarely ever being the first to let go of that hug and pats my back. And when he's on my hip and I need to set him down for a bit, its in the way he clings all the tighter, favoring me with a mischievous grin. This prompted me one day to dub him my baby monkey and now he delights in reminding me of his monkey prowess by makin' those ape like sounds and scritchin' under those arm pits! Ummm....yes, he's clever and a bit dramatic!

Its how he asks if Lah-ren is home yet, so hopefully, every single school day following his nap and tells her she's his best friend. *sniffle* And when Lah-ren was feeling nostalgic for the way he used to call her "La La" and requested he do so again, he told her "sure, but its a one day special." LOL Yes, he keeps us on our toes!

Its sometimes the way he negotiates to have his way, even when Mama or Daddy have said no. First its tonsil city, he might try on a scream(oh yes, he does!), quickly followed by the classic pout. He might fashion a half hearted temper tantrum but can usually be coaxed out of it with a distraction or silly face. AND you might think you've won the battle...... but please don't be fooled as he's merely biding his time, searching for your weakness, all the while keeping an eye out for another susceptible member. And when all else fails? He points to his very own dimple and asks: "how can you say no to this face?" I'm not kidding AND yes I have and do laugh out loud when he does! How could I not? But I still have to say "no" sometimes. :)

Its always in the way he hollers out, "sing the song please", which is the theme song from Kung Fu Panda. And when you (o.k. me) begin warbling out the tune, he folds his hands together, bows deeply from the waist and then begins his karate like hip hop dance, personally choreographed by his sister. And the actual movie? He could care less about! Even better is if he can perform for an audience which he does with no hesitation. Me on the other hand? I could live without the public singing gig. *blush*

It was the moment last Fall when he and I were headed out to our Friday morning Mommy and Me two year old preschool class and he requested to wear his penguin backpack, which he lovingly filled with up with Zhu Zhu hamsters, slung it over his shoulder and wondered aloud if he would get homework like Lah-ren. And later it was how he sat by her, sharing the moments of his morning, listing each one of his friends: "COOlin ( Colin), GAvin, Mac and Delightful" ( translation: and got his own pencil and paper out because he had"math" to do just like his sister.

Its the way he has memorized passages from all 20 of the Mercer Mayer Critter book collection (his favorite!) he inherited from Lauren and brings them to me each morning asking for "cwackers and books, please Mama". And when I say yes, its those little legs dashing around the corner into the kitchen and the sound of the pantry door opening and his running dialogue as he rejects or selects a snack for our morning reading time. AND its about his willingness to share the VERY last iced animal cracker with Lexi dog who sits patiently by, pleading with her eyes. Of course he usually licks it a time or two first! *grin*

Its about continuity in the face of so many changes: still not too fond of meat, though he does eat chicken, but man oh man does this kid still love his fruits, snacks and have a voracious sweet tooth! And lordy, don't get me started on his memory; his recall is scary and we have to be SO careful about what we say, cuz he WILL remember and remind us. With frequency! :)~

It was the way he kept asking, in his sweet, but clear as a bell voice (i.e., so loud we had to take ourselves to the sound proof kid room...LOL) ... to "take walk and go see Baby Jesus" at church on Christmas Eve and when at last, the baby had been placed in the manger near the end of the service, how his tiny hand flew to his mouth and he gasped "oh my gosh, there he is Mama........happy birthday baby". Its also how we have LOTS of work yet to do on church behaviors before Lauren makes her First Communion this Spring. ;) Yikes!

Its how I had forgotten how delightful two year olds are and how they share every moment of their day's activity in a running dialogue all throughout the day. "Look how my legs can reach the coffee table Mama!" "Look Lah-ren, my toothbrush is lectric (electric) just like yours'." "Daddy throws me up high.....more please!" "I got my hair cut ( a month ago) and didn't cry." (shared every single day since, thank you very much!) And how innocent and big hearted they are at this age!

Its how one day he wears his Lightening McQueen undies for the whole day and stays dry and the next tells me that "undieeewares are scratchy and I like my diapers." Because he knows his mind, he CAN be fickle and frankly I'm not in any hurry anyways! (yet) :)

Its in his laughter that fills the house, in chorus with Lauren's, two sounds I might never have heard if not for the miracle of these these children. Its all of this and so much more!

Happy half birthday baby boy ~ the joy you (and your sister) bring to us is indescribable!

Now here's a bit of eye candy if you were patient enough to get this far! XOXO

Joy on Christmas day ~ the two best gifts I will ever receive.

Winding down during our extended family Christmas a few days after Christmas.

Ready for Mass on Christmas Eve; Tyler is practicing his perfect pitch so it carries the farthest during Mass. :)

Loving on Mr. Penguin. I love how sweet his face looks here and how tiny he seems. Also sporting those new Scooby-Doo jammies!
Two big hits from Santa: full size Tiger and yes (!) strawberry gum! How smug does he look? lol

He's funny too............quirky sense of humor. Oh, loves Mr. Potato head and singing greeting cards also.
Cracks himself up too! Not afraid to laugh at his own jokes. :)

Master of the barbecue grill! "Cooks" for me daily and helps me set the table for dinner each night, one napkin at a time.

Never down or in a funk for long...........such a good natured and sharp little guy!

Our Little Man...........

Monday, December 20, 2010

May The Spirit of Christmas.........

bring you peace,
the gladness of Christmas give you hope,
the warmth of Christmas grant you love.

May you always find a smile tucked beneath the tree and a friendly shoulder to lean on,

May childlike innocence & the wonders all around rest in your heart, not just on December 25th, but each day of the year,

May light & peace guide your days,

May the wonders of Christmas never fade, nor its magic cease to amaze,

"It matters not how tall your Christmas tree is ~ to every child it will seem to be 30 feet high,"

May a warm embrace take you by surprise,

May you always make room in your heart for old friends & new,

May you always remember that the best gift around any Christmas tree
is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
~ Burton Hills

Wishing you all a merry, joyous and blessed Christmas Season, from our little slice of the blogosphere to yours. See you all in 2011!!!! :)
As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be,
Christmas is.