Friday, June 15, 2012

Balloons and Birthdays

birthday pictures and lots of balloons...

just had to add this one...she wasn't too thrilled with my idea.

things got better after we took a balloon picture break.


I just wanted to update you all on a very important subject....
It only took 11 months and 23 days, for my wait to be over.  Three O'Clock in the morning and I have gone our separate ways!
Yes, you heard that right.  Karis Joy is officially sleeping through the night!
"Thank You, LORD!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Two Out of Four Cookies...

First of all, I take no stock in the messages found inside fortune cookies.  Nonetheless, I thought I'd share the following experience with you.  The other day, we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant.  At the end of our meal, instead of getting our usual "3" cookie allotment; the waitress gave us "4".  Karis was included in the cookie count.  How exciting!  She's getting to be such a big girl that she now gets her own fortune cookie.  I picked up the first one and declared, "This is Karis' fortune cookie."  It said,
Her daddy and I laughed at the appropriateness of the message.  Just the night before, we had tried to feed her a couple of different food items, but were met each time with a distinctly turned head and the adamant response of, "Uh- uh!" (interpretation:  I'm NOT eating that!).  She's a girl who knows what she wants and doesn't want!

Next, came Mommy's cookie.  It said,
This seems to be a recurring theme in my life right now!

Today, I found beauty in~
  • dancing in the living room with my girls,
  • the tiger lillies blooming in my front yard, and
  • Gracie's original artwork consisting of scrap paper, colorful pom poms and mounds of glue. 
What ordinary things were beautiful to you?
Oh, and in case you are wondering~the other two fortune cookies were pretty bizarre-o.  There was a riddle about life and a german proverb about trees not touching the sky.  :)
One more thing~ lest you think that I live in this ideal world, where all is constant happy reflection...On the day I wrote this post, I didn't get dressed til well after noon AND I had to put my big girl in time out shortly after our dance session because she absolutely threw a major fit when I didn't do what she wanted me to do when she wanted me to do it!  Ha Ha!  I love being a MOMMA!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grace Notes

Today is our Gracie Girl's fourth birhtday.
She is that person who was in my heart and mind when I prayed in faith.  Now, she is that "substance" of things hoped for and "evidence" of things not seen. 
Even when I saw her for the first time, she would have been invisible to my naked eye. A tiny little new beginning of life, an embryo.  And yet, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever beheld.  She was marvelous, a mystery, a miracle, and I loved her. 
Lately, when I hear her laugh or sing a funny song, I think...I'm hearing a miracle.
When I run my fingers through her tossled, curly hair, I recall...I'm touching a miracle.
When her arms wrap themselves around my neck and hold on for dear life, I know...I'm being embraced by a miracle.
When we talk about lizards, God, family, heaven, flowers, frogs, and cupcakes, I realize...I'm conversing with a miracle.

When she comes in from outside, "sweaty and stinky" or gets out of a bubble bath tub, "all squeaky clean", I remember...I'm smelling a miracle. 
She is an ordinary {ordinary wonderful} little girl.  She does typical, little girl kind of things. 
She often wants her own way. 
She is independent, creative, intelligent and driven.  
She is helpful, giving, and kind. 
She is a problem solver, a negotiator at times, a thinker~inquisitive. 
When I look at her, I see the fulfillment of answered prayer.  And I am grateful. 
Happy birthday big girl.  We are thankful beyond words that God gave you to us!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ordinary Wonderful

I love my sweet Karis Joy.  She has a smile that can melt any heart.  She is curious, inquisitive, friendly, and determined.  She's just sooooo cute!  Today is her first birthday, and I am waxing sentimental.  I am so very aware of how precious every moment is.  I keep thinking about an old Gloria Gaither song..."We have these moments to hold in our hands and to watch, as they slip through our fingers like sand.  Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have these moments today."  I have so enjoyed watching her little life unfold.  I've loved how she has developed physically.  There's nothing more thrilling to me, than to watch a little one figure out rolling over, sitting up, crawling, crusing, and walking.  It's amazing!  I've loved the continued revelation of her personality.  From day one, she has been a person who 'knows what she wants' and is determined to let you know just what that is!  She is a happy little girlie, unless she is mad.  I pray very often that God will use her passion and fire for His Glory.  I laugh when I say that, but it's really true.  I've loved how she studies everybody and everything.  I've loved how she works to open something that's closed.  How she has developed preferences in blankets, toys, and activities.  I've loved having that 'front row seat' to her cognitive development.  It's still incredible to me how she now responds to our requests.  She'll give kisses, give hugs, and rub noses.  She tells us "Uh- uh" when she doesn't want something.  She squeals when she does.  Each of these developments are so tiny.  Like the pictures I took of her each month, the changes are hard to see when looked at individually.  But when you compare birth day to first birthday~all of those tiny changes together have produced an amazing transformation!

Just born
Mother's Day
Recently, so that we could be with family, and so that I could get a little help during the day, the girls and I spent a week at my parents' house.  Each day, my husband would call to check in with us.  One day when he asked what we'd been doing, I said, "Oh, just ordinary wonderful stuff." It was true.  We weren't doing anything, but we were together.  Karis was making new discoveries, Gracie was creating wonderful make believe scenarios for us.  There were hugs, kisses, giggles, lots of  'Hey Dadda, da, dadda'.  Ever since I made that statement, though, I've looked at my days, my life a little differently. 

I do the ordinary task of laundry:  I sort, go through pockets, treat stains with Advanced Shout (a product I love, btw), load the washer, etc.  It's ordinary but wonderful because the clothes are tiny, the stains consist of markers, watercolors, and various food items.  It's wonderful because most of the clothes I launder are PINK, and they belong to Karis and Gracie.
I sweep the floor- an ordinary task, but it's wonderful because what I sweep usually consists of at least one goldfish cracker!  Tonight, the pile sparkled due to the 'Happy Birthday' confetti that had landed on the floor.  It made me smile.
I put things away...ordinary.  But now wonderful, because I get to put the same item in its place multiple times as it is pulled out almost as quickly as I place it, by tiny little hands.
I watch TV.  An ordinary thing that's done everyday, but wonderful to me because I watch 'Gracie and Karis Shows'.  I know all about Dora, Diego, Little Bear and Olivia~ to name a few.
I brush hair, ordinary stuff, but wonderful because it's this cute little tuft of hair. 
For many years, I dreamed of having children.  I prayed and believed God for children.  I knew God would answer my prayers.  I just didn't know how or when.  And now that those prayers are answered...walking and crawling right in front of me, I just can't help but stand in awe, and try to be intentional about my gratitude to the Living God for making it happen. 

I pray every day that my girls will come to know Him, and that they will be convinced of his love for them at an early age.  I especially pray for Karis, that she will never doubt His love, nor our love for her.    

Happy first birthday baby girl.  We are so glad you are ours!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My 50th Post!

Hello everyone!  I'm excited to welcome you to post #50!   Maybe it won't take as long to reach post #100.  I'm actually attending a Blogging Conference next weekend, for work.  I'm hoping to come back inspired to write, write, write! 

I have been looking forward to catching you up on our neck of the woods.  Karis is doing well.  She is measuring at 16 pounds, 12 ounces.  She's in the 50th percentile for length.  She has had a couple of ear infections since I posted last.  She also cut her first tooth.  That was a month ago.  It's still making it's way out of the gum.  Gracie had a mouth full of teeth at this age, so it's been different to have a toothless baby for such a long time.  

Karis is a very observant child.  In fact, she would prefer to watch and figure things out before attempting new things like going down a slide, climbing on a riding toy, swinging in a swing, etc.  The other night, I introduced her to combs.  I said, "This is a comb, Karis.  We use it to comb our hair."  I showed her how to use it, and she just watched me.  Ten minutes later, she found one of Gracie's many combs on the floor.  She picked it up and started combing her hair.  It was so funny!
She has studied all of us drinking, and has become quite proficient at drinking from a sippy cup and from a regular cup for that matter.  Speaking of drinking, I don't anticipate being able to wean her at 12 months.  She does enjoy nursing and is very persistant at letting me know her wishes!  I'll let you know how that goes.  It's amazing to me that I'm now concerned that she'll never want to stop nursing.  It seems like yesterday when I was worried that we weren't going to be able to make it past 3 months.  Along those same lines, she still isn't sleeping through the night.  The most she has ever slept at one time is 9 hours, and that has only happened twice, maybe three times.  I know what the books say about letting babies 'cry it out', but I don't do that very well.  Also, we are struggling to keep Gracie in her own bed at night, so I have been hesitant to go to the crying it out mode, fearing that she may awaken her sister.  I am open to suggestions or at least hope that it will one day get better, and I will once again sleep through 3 AM.  
Karis Joy loves her baby dolls!
Here are a few of the pictures we had made just before Easter.  It started off being one of the worst photo sessions ever.  I almost grabbed up both of the girls and left.  But we survived, and the photographer ended up getting some really good shots!  I love my sweet girls!!

 On March 31st, Karis got to meet her Shur Shur for the very first time!  It was a happy and glorious reunion for all of us.  Both of my children have met their Shur Shur at Dulles International Airport.  Byron's parents spent a week with us. We hadn't seen each other in almost two years, so it was wonderful to be with our family. 

Gracie getting her teeth brushed...Shur Shur style.  This was funny to me.  They both had more than their fair share of tooth paste on them!  They had a lot of fun with each other. 

Today, my Gracie began a conversation with me about God.  From there, we started talking about heaven.  I told her that we won't cry when we get to heaven.  She said, "What if we get a boo boo?"  I told her that we won't have boo boos in heaven. 
She said, "Are the floors soft in heaven, Mommy?"  She falls on hard floors a lot! 

One more thing before I go, we have friends that are pursuing embryo adoption.  They are looking at a July transfer with the NEDC.  Stephanie has started a blog, and I know she'd love to 'meet' you and have your prayer support as they begin this journey.  Here's a link to their blog.  Baby Brown 
Blessings on you all!!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our 9 month update

Karis Joy- 8 1/2 months old. She loves those little giggling olives. They make her laugh!

I have done a terrible job keeping this blog updated! Life has been moving very quickly around here. Since my last post, I have started working, part time from home. I am very blessed to be working for Home School Legal Defense Association. I am one of their Special Needs Consultants. It has been a blessing to work from home, albeit a little crazy at times!! Picture me sitting on the edge of the bed, nursing Karis, talking to my co-worker on the phone with Gracie hanging on my back begging for a snack!!! One day a week, a dear friend who is home from doing mission work in China, watches the girls for me while I work downstairs. Gracie loves those days. She and Miss Rachel go on all sorts of adventures, all directed by Gracie Beth Winn.

Karis is doing very well. We don't have her 9 month appointment until later in March, but I can tell you this much...She weighs around 16 pounds. She's wearing 9 month clothes. Size 3 diapers. People comment on how petite she is.

She is our "Curious Karis". She is always staring and taking in everything her big sister is doing. She loves to be held, although she's not much of a cuddler. I think she just likes to have a bird's eye view. She's usually very happy, but when she's mad- She's Mad! With Gracie, you could console her with a song, a kiss, or a cuddle. Not so with Karis. If she wants to get out of the car seat, eat, or be held, she's not going to quit telling you about it until she gets what she wants! I am praying that God will use this determination and strength for His glory some day!!
She is quite the mover. She started army crawling back in December, and really began crawling on all fours in late January. Two weeks ago, she started pulling herself up to a standing position. She often sits up on her knees. You'll have to forgive me for being amazed at this, but Gracie didn't do any of those things until much later. Everybody is different!

Karis has this sweet wave that she does to say, "Hi" to everyone. She has started saying, "Uh, Eh" (Her version of "Uh- oh") when she drops things. She does something else, that I think is hilarious! When she wants out of her crib in the mornings, she doesn't just cry. She moves to the corner of the crib, closest to the door of her room and cries. It's like she has figured out that that is her best position to be heard. She does this in the play pen too. She moves to part that's closest to where we are, and cries out to us. I think she may be brilliant! :)

She has become mommy's girl during these past four months. Although, she absolutely lights up when her daddy comes home! She gives people the 'once over' when they visit, because she wants to make sure they're not here to babysit!

She isn't the best sleeper in the world. She typically sleeps for 5 hours max. Up until recently, she was staying up until 10:00 at night. That was about to wipe me out! However, we're starting to get into a much more reasonable groove. She's taking 2-2 1/2 hour naps mid-day, and going down around 8:30-9. Still too late, I think, but better. Two nights ago, she slept from 8:30- 5:30!!!! That was the first time in almost 9 months that I've gotten that much uninterupted sleep! Then, last night she was up at 1:30 and 4! I have no idea what made the difference! Last night was one of those nights where she didn't want to go back to sleep. I can always tell when that is going to happen because she starts hitting her head while she's nursing, as if to wake herself up!!!
I am tired, and I think it's starting to show. The other day, I was fixing my hair. Gracie looked at me and said, "Mommy, you look like an other mother." (In other words, she's not accustomed to seeing me with my hair fixed and with full make up applied.) Oh well!

I leave you with a few more pictures and the promise to update before Karis' first birthday!