Happy Birthday, Lucy!

I am exactly a month late – but, better late than never, right?

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Lucy turned 8 on May 1 this year.  As we do on all the girls’ birthdays, we reflected back on Lucy’s birth.  She came into this world giving us quite a scare.  With much gratefulness and humility, we rejoice in the fact that God chose to breathe life into Lucy when it seemed she may not.

Lucy is full of life – highs and lows!  She is full of so much love and passion for not only her family and friends, but also anyone she meets.  She hears of someone is need, and she wants to give all she has to help them.   A couple of weeks ago, Norah and Lucy took the 5 Love Languages quiz.  We were not surprised to see that Lucy’s top love language is physical touch.  Lucy is always hugging us, sitting on our laps, hanging on us, etc.  Every question on the quiz that asked about a hug, Lucy would respond with, “I LOVE HUGS!”

This was a huge year of school for Lucy.  She matured a lot and it was very noticeable in every subject.  We spent much of her school year encouraging her to read and read and read.  She claimed all year that she didn’t like to read or that it was too hard for her.  However, as I listened to her read, I knew she was a great reader who simply lacked the confidence to do it alone.  Finally, after our last day of school this year, Lucy picked up a chapter book on her own (without encouragement from me) and started reading.  She didn’t put the book down until she finished it.  From that moment on, she has been reading like crazy!  All of the sudden it clicked!

Lucy just finished her 2nd year of Lifelight Creative Drama.  As I watched her perform in Songs & Scenes from Beauty and the Beast, I thought back to 3 years ago when she REFUSED to go to drama class.  She cried and cried and cried.  I finally decided just to take her out of the class (she never actually went to a single class – but we were there every week for Norah).  Last year, she was ready to try it and now 2 years later, she LOVES it!  She was so cute and animated on stage last night as she performed as a narrator and villager.  It was really fun to see her do something that she LOVES!

We had a great day celebrating Lucy this year.  We took the girls on a trolley tour of St. Louis.  The girls loved it!  It was extra fun this year because of the 250th Anniversary of St. Louis.  The girls were able to spot quite a few cakes from Cakeway to the West.  We ended the day with Lucy’s choice – Steak ‘n Shake.

Here is a photo dump of the last year:

 

Beauty and the Beast - Mrs. Potts and Narrator 2.

Beauty and the Beast – Mrs. Potts and Narrator 2.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Riding the trolley in downtown St. Louis

Riding the trolley in downtown St. Louis

 

Lucy loves piano!

Lucy loves piano!

Lucy's first official run!  St. Patrick's Day run in Cottleville.

Lucy’s first official run! St. Patrick’s Day run in Cottleville.

our little basketball star

our little basketball star

Heading to Disney!

Heading to Disney!

Look alikes :)

Look alikes 🙂

 

 

Double Digits!

’nuff said.

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Oh, alright, I will add a little more than just a picture.  Ten sounds old.  Grown-up.  It seems like Norah was born, then we blinked, and she turned 10.  From the time I started babysitting, the preschool/toddler was my favorite.  I was an early ed major and LOVED teaching preschool.  Norah was a precious, sweet, inquisitive toddler and preschooler.  I really thought those were my favorite years – until this year.  Norah at 9 was absolutely my favorite.  Norah is growing into a delightful young lady.

I love that we can actually have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around princess, unicorns, ice castles, and lala land (however, I do enjoy those things, too).  I love that she has opinions on things she likes to wear and do.

Norah still loves to read.  I mean, she loves it.  She always has a book in her hand.  She seems to love most genre but some of her favorites right now include: The Cupcake Club series and The Babysitter’s Club books.

Norah is taking ballet, tap and jazz this year, and she is loving all of it!  Her dance studio is working on their recital dances and she is really excited about all the dances and her costume.  It seems like most kids have found “their thing” by age 10 and I definitely think dance is it for Norah.  She is a natural and very comfortable and confident in her dancing.  She loves a lot of other things but dance seems to be her favorite.

Norah is definitely a typical first-born in many situations.  She tends to be a perfectionist (but really not extreme – seems to have a good amount of perfectionism going on, but not enough to make us all crazy).  She is a rule-follower.  We actually laugh about it sometimes – she will argue with us until she is blue in the face, but she RARELY breaks a rule (all of this happens as her sisters go ahead and break the rules – ha!).

Norah is such a sweetie and a joy to watch grow.  We are so very thankful for her precious life and are excited to watch her grow in her love for Jesus over the next year.  We are confident that God has great plans perfect for her little life, and we are thankful that we get to see it all unfold.

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Boredom Busters!

This winter has been crazy!  We have had so much snow and such cold temperatures that everyone is going stir crazy.  We decided to do something different to bust through the boredom AND try something totally new (inspired by the Olympics).  We took the girls skiing/snowboarding yesterday.  Everyone had a great time and did WAY better than I expected.  Kevin and I ski-ed but we gave the girls the option of skiing or snowboarding.  Norah and Lucy chose to snowboard and Daphne chose to ski.

If you have never been and are not an expert yourself, I would definitely recommend signing your kids up for a class.  It was well worth it.  The classes were 2 hours each – the girls learned so much more than if we had let them attempt to do anything on their own!  However, if you are going on a weekend, try to sign up ahead of time.  The classes fill up quickly!

Norah and Lucy took a snowboarding class at 10:30 and by the time we had everyone suited up and ready to go, it was about 10:30.  They were done at 12:30 – had something to eat and then had the rest of the afternoon to snowboard.  The 10:30 ski class for Daphne’s age group was full so we signed her up for a class at 1:30.  In the end, this was probably best because she probably would have been tired/whiny for us by that time of day, but for someone else, she would be fine.  She ski-ed with us for a couple of hours while Norah and Lucy were in their class.  She had lunch and then went to her class.  While Daphne was in her class, Norah and Lucy snowboarded with us (while we ski-ed).  Timing wise, everything worked out great.  The temperature was perfect – no one was really ever cold.

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Olympics 2022, here we come!

Waiting and Wondering

In the last week, we have had quite a few people ask if we have heard anything or if anything new has happened.  Adoption related – the most “entertaining” thing is that my fingerprints that were sent to the FBI were not readable (never mind the fact that they have been read about 3 times in the last year with no problem).   Luckily, we don’t need this immediately, but we certainly want that background check to be done and ready well before we actually need it.  Otherwise, our I800 approval (this is the approval that come from the US immigration office) was sent to the National Visa Center.   The NVC sends this approval to the US Embassy.  There are several steps that happen after that and before our case actually goes to court, but those are the next couple of steps for now.

Unfortunately, there are some interesting, political things going on in-country right now.  We are not far enough along, yet, for those issues to cause a delay for us.  However, if the judge(s) who is causing the issues don’t get it together, this could potentially cause a delay.  We are praying for the families who are just waiting now – they are ready for their case to go to court, but are not for political reasons.  They are all anxious to get their kids home!

In other news, Norah and Lucy are playing Upward basketball right now.  They are doing a great job!  They both went into it really not knowing anything about basketball.  They have really picked up so much in the last few weeks.  We laugh because their personalities are so different and it really show during the game.  Lucy is much more laid back.  For the first few weeks, she would run on the opposite side of court.  .  . as far from the ball as possible.  She would only touch the ball if she was throwing it in or if her coach wanted someone else to throw it in to her.  She would dribble to mid-court and then throw it as soon as she saw someone even turn toward her.  Her throw – straight over everyone’s heads and I think she just hoped someone on her team would catch it.  Last week and this week, she was more aggressive in the sense that she would try to get the ball closer to the basket and actually shoot it.  She made 2 baskets today – so she was thrilled.  We were laughing today because Lucy stops to cheer every time either teams makes a basket – never mind the fact that the game is still going on around her.

Norah is naturally a little more aggressive and she is really competitive with herself.  She works hard to get better each week – she is definitely succeeding.  The first couple of weeks, Norah wanted in on the action, but was afraid of the ball hitting her in the head and afraid of hurting someone’s feelings.  She wasn’t about to take the ball from someone else or even try to rebound.  She was, however, instantly a great defender.  The girl she is defending rarely gets a shot – regardless of the fact that Norah has been shorter than most of them.  Last week, she took her intensity to a new level.  Multiple times, she stole the ball from the other team without even hesitating.  Today, she also made a basket.  Her team has by far shown more improvement than the other teams in that division.  They went from losing by 30 something to losing by 8 today.  They are working hard and having fun together – even though they aren’t winning.

Daphne is going to Mom’s Day Out this year and loving it.  It helps that she has AMAZING teachers.  She is enjoying her time away with friends – while the big girls get schoolwork completed.  Quite a few of the girls in Daphne’s class also are in her Sunday school class.  This makes going to church on Sunday more fun for her.

The girls are all loving watching the Olympics right now.  We are doing a whole unit study of the Olympics – it is really fun.  I think I am learning as much as the girls!  Each day they learn a little something about the ancient Olympic games, a well-known Olympic athlete, a participating country, and a sport.  So far, Norah wants to be an Olympic snowboarder and Lucy wants to be an Olympic figure skater.  Norah thinks she could be in the 2022 Olympics – ummm, she has never been on a snowboard, though, so she better get going! Ha!

Adoption Trip #1 Recap

We have officially been home for almost 4 weeks – celebrating birthdays and trying to get back into a normal routine.  We are glad to be home – we definitely missed the girls a lot – but it was very hard to leave Levi there.  The visits continued to go well all week.  As the week went on, we noticed a huge difference in how Levi acted with us.  On Monday, he was very much like a rag doll – he seemed lifeless and blah.  He had a glazed look on his face and just sort of sat there and stared.  We worked really hard to get him to smile and/or laugh – he only gave us a few of each, but each smile was very sweet.  The more time we spent with him, the more Levi seemed to initiate interaction with us.  He started touching our faces, grabbing my hair, and even reaching for us by the end of the week.  We are so anxious to get him home – into a loving environment – and, hopefully, see him thrive!

We only had one visit with Levi on Friday – it ended up being a longer visit than most of our morning visits.  Knowing it was the last one, we were fine with it until we realized the orphanage staff forgot to bring him lunch.  Hmmmm.   Levi seemed a little uncomfortable – never really cried – but we could tell he was really hungry and tired.  By the time Levi finished eating, he was really tired.  This made the goodbye somewhat easier because we knew he was really ready for bed.

It really is . . . bizarre.  We spent several hours a day with this little guy for whom we have prayed for several months – and then after a week, we just leave.  After holding him and interacting with him, we both definitely felt a connection with Levi.  I didn’t know if it would feel forced or awkward – but it really wasn’t either of those things.   Now, we wait.  All of our paperwork is basically done on our part.  We are waiting on a few things to come back to us so we can get it all to our agency.

We have definitely seen God’s hand at work – from travel to our time with Levi to the friends we made while we were there to the safety/health of the girls while we were gone.  We appreciate all the prayers that have been and will be said as we continue on in this journey.

As a side note:  My friend, Kasey, has organized a fundraiser for our adoption.  If you have ever thought about trying essential oils, you can do so in the month of February and a portion of the proceeds will go toward our adoption.  YL fundraiser

Adoption Fundraiser

I have plans to post an Adoption Trip #1 recap – but we arrived home on the 11th, my birthday was the 12th, we jumped back into school on the 13th, and then Daphne had a birthday on the 17th.  Lots of fun and craziness!  I will still get to that post, but for now, I want to share a fundraiser that is going on right now.  

We were contacted by Todd from Sidney Street Sales in St. Louis.  Todd and his wife sell mid-century furniture and each month they donate 10% of their proceeds to an adopting family.  Our friend, Katie Mohr, had given them our information so we are blessed to be that family for January!  

If you are on facebook, their page is https://www.facebook.com/sidneystreetsales/

They are having their big sale tomorrow!  Check it out if you have a chance!  They have a lot of really cool stuff!

Happy 5th Birthday, Daphne Jane!

Gasp.  Does that say 5th?  Ummm,  I think she was just born – there is no way that was 5 years ago!IMG_8451

Here is the link to my first post of Daphne.  Here is the link to one of my first posts about life with 3 kids.  Looking back at some of these posts is cracking me up!  I do NOT remember those first few weeks of have 3 kids!IMG_0730

We have watched Daphne grow up over the last year.  She is definitely queen of her own little world.  She loves all things princess and mermaid – typically, pretending to be one or the other (or both) most days.   Specifically, right now she is a little obsessed with Ariel and Elsa.  She is trying to mold those 2 princesses into 1 so she can be a mermaid and an ice princess.  Ha!  She is the most creative in her play and actually loves to play by herself.  She will gladly play with her sisters or friends, but she doesn’t need others to stay entertained.  She loves to sing, dance, and dress-up!  She rarely wears normal clothes – unless we are leaving the house, she is almost always wearing dress-up clothes.

She is still a mama’s girl and tends to be hesitant in new situations.  She is still pretty quiet at Mom’s Day Out, dance, Sunday school, etc, but at home, she rarely stops talking.  She has lots of questions about things going on around her and she is definitely thinking abouthow things work.  

Finally, after about 3 years of not sleeping well, she is back into a good habit.  I thought for sure when we broke her of her finger sucking habit, that we would be back to not sleeping well.  Thankfully, that is not the case.  She is usually super snuggly in the mornings and likes to have a little bit of time alone with one parent or the other before her sisters wake up for the day.

Here is a photo dump of pics from the last year!!!  Enjoy!

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