Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time ~Oswald Chambers

Sunday, February 27, 2011

They're All Smiling... it's a keeper. 


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Looking Up

Things have been looking up again since yesterday's post. 

But whew!  I'm still recovering from that one in some ways.

Tonight I did get a hug before bedtime and I haven't gotten one of those for a long, long time.

And so it step forward, two steps back, one step forward...

So thankful His mercies are new every morning!
And on a lighter note...

...she was in the foyer the other night impressing her sisters with her gymnasitcs skills.  She called me over to take a look and pretty much wowed me with her ability to do the splits while wearing footed pajamas.  (Totally not taking her on in a game of Twister anytime soon...)

Anyway, she looks at me, points to the mat and says "You?  you?"  (I'm sure it was because of my striking resemblance to Mary Lou Retton that made her think it was even a possibility).

I smiled, politely declined, and then went to pop a couple of ibuprofen just at the thought of trying anything crazy like that.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Rough Day...

It started over having to pay $32 for landing on someone else's property in Monopoly.

That's how it started.  But then it progressed.

To pouting.
Then crying.
Then screaming.
Then yelling.

45 minutes of the worst tantrum I've seen yet.

It started with Monopoly but really, I don't think it had anything to do with Monopoly by the time it was over.

I'm not surprised by it.  In fact, I'm more surprised that these episodes haven't occurred more frequently considering all that she's been through.

But that doesn't make it any easier to experience.

When He called us to join Him on this journey, He never once promised that it would be easy.

But He did promise something even better than the easy road.

His presence.

He gave us (and all that follow Him) the assurance that He would always, always, be with us.  And today, through the worst of it,  I know He was present. Pouring out the wisdom, grace, compassion, and nerves of steel that I so desperately needed but severely lacked.

For 45 minutes I prayed without ceasing and for 45 minutes I had inexplicable, indescribable peace.

I'm sure I didn't do everything right.  In fact I know I didn't.

But His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness.

And if in my weakness, she catches a glimpse of the grace that can heal her heart, then weak I will gladly be.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Calcium Conundrum

Just like the other Asian beauty that resides in our house, Lily does not care for milk products.

Thus making a diet "rich in calcium" well.... a bit poor.

We've tried milk in the cereal.  No thanks.
Yogurt with sprinkles.  Mmmm not so much.
Orange juice with calcium.  A sip here.  A sip there.
Cheese.  Blech. 

I was beginning to think that all hope was lost until this weekend.

That's when Lily discovered the 8th natural wonder of the world.

Milkshakes from Cook-Out.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

With almost 40 selections to choose from, we should be more than able to get that calcium intake up.

Her choice on Sunday was strawberry.

Fruit and calcium?  Have mercy.

I think that officially qualifies as a health shake.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Letter to My Daughter {2 years later}

Dear Lia:
It was two years ago today that your Daddy and I left Hong Kong after a short night's sleep following our 16 hour flight from the states.  Two quick plane rides and one frantic van trip later, we entered a hotel meeting room in Guangxi, China, breathless from our travels and eager with nervous excitement of what was about to occur in a few short moments.

Before we had time to even catch our breath, there you were.  One of the most beautiful things we had ever laid eyes on.

You came around the corner in the arms of your ayi with those big brown eyes of yours roaming around the room looking for something, anything, that was familiar but finding nothing.

Within seconds she placed you in my arms and we were left speechless.

Though we were stunned by how beautiful you were and humbled that in God's perfect plan you were to be ours forever, it was obvious that you were so scared at everything that was happening around you and to you.

Your eyes brimmed with tears, your lips formed a perpetual pout, and my heart broke for what yours was going through.  How I wished one word, one hug, one kiss could reassure you and make it alright.  But I knew better.  It would take time and consistency to build that bridge of trust from your heart to ours. 

We would later come to realize that many of your tendencies that afternoon and the days that followed were simply ways you sought to deal with these sudden changes.

The stiffness of your body even when (especially when) being held.  The way you would hold your Cheerios between your fingers but not once make any attempt to eat them or anything else for a short time.  The way your eyes were always staring but never focusing.  The silent tears that were a window to your precious little heart.

You fell asleep that first night with your clothes on, your diaper unchanged, and your dinner uneaten.  But you were finally at rest and those things could just wait until morning.

Days passed.  We returned home, and slowly we began to see more and more of who you really were.  A precious flower was beginning to bloom before our very eyes.

Smiles began to dance across your face.
Toddles turned into steps.
Words came.

And now, two years later, those first few weeks in China seem like an eternity ago.

Each new day is counted as a gift from Him to know you just a little more... the princess of the house wielding your authority effortlessly despite your tiny 25 pound frame. the performer proudly belting out the latest tune you've learned from Barney when asked to (and even when you're asked "pretty please" not to). the busy little mommy bouncing your baby doll on one hip while simultaneously chatting on the phone and whipping up some breakfast for you and your brother in your play kitchen.  I watch and I learn. the snuggler who loves nothing more than curling up with your beloved blankie and baby until you drift off to the place where sweet dreams are made. the adored mei mei of the family who has all 5 olders wrapped around your itty-bitty pinky finger.  Or at least that's how you perceive it to be :)
...and especially as my beautiful little baby girl stumbling into my room each morning in your footed pajamas, hair mussed, eyes squinted shut, curling up in bed for just a  few more snuggles before the day begins.
Each day brings with it the thought that I couldn't possibly love you any more than I do today.

Only to find that every tomorrow proves me wrong.

Happy family day, sweet Lia Kate.  We are so thankful that you are here.

Forever yours,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Lately, I've been hearing some crazy things come out of my mouth.

Things like...

"Yes, dear. You may watch your Barney movie."

"The one you watch every day."

"The one with the same songs that play over and over and over like nails going down a chalkboard."

"The one that someone you love bought you while we were out of the country for 2 weeks.

"The one that can clear a room of your siblings faster than my uttering the words, "I have a few chores I need done..."

"Yes, dear.  You may watch your Barney movie just because I know how much you love it."

"And just because I love you that much."

Love sure makes you do some crazy things, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Surprise, surprise...

Went to Walmart yesterday for the usual stuff.

Got a notion to head down a certain aisle "just to see" what they had.

And there it was.

Right size.

Right color.

Right price.

And we managed to keep it under wraps until this afternoon when we had our "big reveal."

Not sure, but I think she liked it.  :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Milking It

 Yeah.  I think she's taking her role as "baby" of the family to a whole new level.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Official...



Unfortunately, my newest photographic subject is in a "No pichurs" phase so all I can do is sneak around the window (and when I say sneak I mean on my hands and knees) and snap some of her royal cuteness while she's outside.  

What does she think I'm going to do with the pictures anyway?  Post them on my blog for the whole world to see?  

Perhaps it's time to invest in one of those fancy, shmancy zoom lenses.  Looks like that's the only way I'm going to get pictures of anyone around here...

Monday, February 14, 2011


Everything I love about this girl captured in a little over a minute and a half.

Classic Lia.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Little Sunday Afternoon Sweetness...

I'm not sure which is sweeter...

...the little boy who can now ride all the way to the cul de sac and back on his Rad Cat bike complete with Spider Man helmet and bell.  (Bonus:  He rings the bell when he reaches the top of the hill).

...or his big-hearted big sister who goes with him not because Mom or Dad asked her to but just because she wants to...

...or the gentle giant who watches when they leave and stands guard at the edge of the yard until they make it back home safely.

OK, so the dog is an easy third, but I still thought it was a sweet gesture on his part.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Three is a Magic Number"

That's what I learned from Schoolhouse Rock.

And that's what I'm learning from my girls.

My three girls who share one room, that is.

There's a lot of things I'd expect to hear when 3 girls share a room together (oh, cynical one that I am). And from time to time I get some of that (not gonna lie).

But for the most part, when they are all together, dancing, drawing, dressing up...doing those things that they do...

what I hear is laughter,

what I sense is  joy,

and what I see is love.

Again, we are only 2 weeks in and we still have a long, long way to go.  But His grace in this situation (especially in the relationships of the girls) continues to amaze me.

And I just love being amazed by His grace.

To Mommy, From Lily

Got this from my girl today.

Not one. Not two. But three hearts.

If you're counting those kinds of things, that is.

On a scale of 1 to 10...

this is about a 450 in my book.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


There are crumbs all over my kitchen, family room, dining room, and (how I don't know...)bedroom floor.

There are piles of clothes in my laundry room.  Some clean.  Some not.  Which are which I can no longer tell.

There are random toys and other such childhood paraphernalia scattered throughout my living space.

There are papers enveloping my desk to the point where I almost could not find my computer to type this post.

And yes, I will admit it, hot dogs have been served for dinner (to those who would have them) 3 nights this week.

This is not how I want it to be but right now this is how it is.

And just when I start to feel _______________ (insert negative adjective of your choice here...because I'm sure I've felt them all at some point and time these past couple of weeks)...

He shows me this...
...and this...

...and this...

And I remember what really matters in this life.

And I am thankful for the opportunity to experience it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Ya Doin'?

I've been asked that question a lot lately and really overall things are going very, very well. I couldn't have asked for a better transition.

That being said...


Everyday brings something new or more appropriately, something routine to us but new to Lily. Thinking through ways to keep her involved, learning, engaged is challenging. She is such a trooper...trying new foods, participating in new experiences, meeting new people. I marvel at her bravery.  And I fall into bed each night...or early evening as the case may be...wiped out.

The novelty of home has started to wear off a bit but there's a problem with getting out and exploring her brand new world...

She gets carsick. And not just the kind you deal with on long trips.

It's run an errand here...get sick.

Head to an appointment there...get sick.

That makes getting out of the house for some fun...well, not so much fun.

But despite the growing pains that come with adding a new family member, we're having a great time getting to know our newest princess.  She noticed a picture of all 5 of the kids that I took out on our front porch a couple of years ago.  She decided that she wanted her own photo shoot with the same backdrop.  So out she went with my resident photographer (aka Lauren) and donned a few poses.

Her obvious cuteness and the fact that I still have a Christmas wreath hanging on my front door (that I didn't even realized was there until 2 days ago) perfectly sum up the way things have been around here these past 2 weeks.

Cute and crazy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Friday, February 4, 2011

One Week In...

Yes, she really is that cute.

And she really is doing remarkably well after only one week at home.

She gets along great with the kids (especially the girls).  In fact, she said Caroline and Lauren were 2 of her favorite things about being here.  ( I can see that.  They are 2 of my favorite things about being here too...).

She sleeps well, eats well, helps with chores, and is so easy to get along with.  Heck, she even came over to the stove when I was making my first batch of homemade fried rice evah, tasted it, looked me square in the eye and gave me a thumbs up.  Seriously, that is saying something about her easy-going personality.

Yes, it may still be the honeymoon period but I'm going to milk it for all it's worth.

Language remains our biggest obstacle but I'm giving it time and trying to find fun ways to teach her.  Any ideas?  I'm all ears.

And yet even though her transition has been remarkably smooth there are still things that have been challenging as we grow into being a family of eight.

There's my dainty little diva who consistently needs un-divafying.

And my super-cute super-hero who can go from 0-60 in no time and needs to be reminded that though his life has just done a 360, the guard rails are still up.  You can run around like crazy within them but once you cross over them there's gonna be consequences.

And then there's the simple fact that hello I think I can officially say "I have a lot of kids."  That's a lot of organizing, compromising, and strategizing to do to keep things sane around here.

One of the perks of my jet lag is that I can get up at 4 or 5 or 6 in the morning (or all 3) with little difficulty.  It's been great to have so much time to soak in His promises before another exhausting day begins.  Many days this week have left me feeling inadequate for molding so many little hearts.  Impatience, fear, and discouragement have marked my days too often.

What a precious gift to be encouraged of His never-ending love, His perfect wisdom, His matchless strength, and His unwavering control over all the craziness that I now call...