Monday, December 29, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Ours was in every way.

Sorry to be MIA. I have lots of pics to load but my parents internet has been on the blink. OH DESPAIR! ;0) I am using our mobile card but it's pretty slow.

Anyway! More coming soon. Enjoy every moment. Hugs, Angel

Monday, December 22, 2008

What do moms DO anyway??

My friend Sara sent this to me and it made me laugh so I had to share.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Christmas Gift For You!!

Dear Blogger Buddies... I have a present for you. This is my gift to each of you who care enough to be reading this right now. It's my 3rd annual blogger buddy present!

My first year there weren't all that many of you out there. LOL! The blog world was a much lonelier place. ;0) I actually didn't have very many blogs to choose from at all. Most of the pictures from other families were sent to me by e-mail.

Last year was a different story. Suddenly the blog world had become a hoppin place and I had so many new faces to add in. This year... well I don't know where to begin. This year it took 12 hours to make the gift and worth every second!! I have been honored to get to know SO MANY amazing people who are making this world a better place because of who they are.

I am certain that I missed some of you- I am sorry. I tried very hard but I have lost a 4th of my brain function with each child. That means I am only running on 1/4th brain power!! I'm surprised I could even figure that out! Please know that each and every one of you matter to me. I hope you enjoy this video.

If you see someone you know in the video would you please help me by letting them know? If I try to track down everyone in the video to tell them it'll take me another 12 hours. LOL! I really don't want anyone to miss it though!

Please feel free to post the video if you want. It is YOUR gift.

(I use only pictures from public blogs or with permission to respect the privacy of the families)

I have listed all three years of my blogger buddy Christmas present for your viewing enjoyment. It's fun to look back and see how our families have grown.Can you imagine what it will look like in ten years? :0)

THIS YEAR'S VIDEO!!! 2008 Blogger Buddy Christmas Present! I would like to send a special hug to all of you still waiting this year- for all of you who have lost someone this year. My love to you.

Last year's blogger buddy Christmas present 2007!

2 years ago- Blogger buddy Christmas present 2006!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with joy. Let's spend 2009 doing something that matters. Love God, love people.. that is the definition of success. Love, Angel

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And THAT is what Christmas is all about...

and it's not so much about this.... thank goodness...

It's almost Christmas. Let's soak it in and enjoy it. Have a great week. :0) Angel

Monday, December 15, 2008

In honor of Josi

Josi was supposed to be home from Guatemala in just a week or so to be with her forever family. Tragically she was murdered along with her foster family in their home. Her family is grieving deeply for her loss. Here is a beautiful slide show that someone has made them to honor her. Josi, sweetie, we are so grateful that you are safe and loved and free. You are missed so very much. We will hug you soon.

Photo and video editing at

Would you please drop by their blog and leave them some love today. They need us right now.

Love, Angel

Friday, December 12, 2008


It's time to CELEBRATE! Kaiya's cast finally came off on Monday!!!

They also had to take these out of her elbow. :0(

When she saw me taking pictures of the pins Kaiya pointed to the pins and said, "This Owie."

Then she pointed to her elbow and said, "Owie, Owie."

Sweet girl!! She is so brave. She has been very tough.

She had to have the cast on two extra weeks because we COULD NOT get the hospital in Florida to transfer the records through the longest time. No doctor would remove it without the records.

It was SO FRUSTRATING! I was seriously considering driving her back to Orlando so I could get it OFF!

Still though... we got it off and now we are DANCIN!


Life is good!!!

Tantruming Kaiya Style

So here's what happens when you walk into the kitchen and catch Kaiya sneaking Junior Mints from the pantry!

That is NOT Junior Mint drool on my chin! You can't prove ANYTHING!

AAARRRGHHHH!!! You just make me SO MAD!

They are MINE! GO! GO! GO! GO AWAY!

You just don't get it! I NEED chocolate!

WHY? WHY? WHYYYYY did you have to walk IN HERE???

I want THOSE Junior Mints!

Sometimes this makes me feel better.

What is going on here?

Are you taking pictures of me?? Well... this is awkward...

Ummmm Sorry.....

Friends, Panera and Beth Moore

Last night I had such a wonderful night with friends I don't get to hang out with NEARLY enough. We all went to Panera... yummm... Then it was off to hear Beth Moore teach! What a great night. I am so blessed to have this life and such cool friends in my life. Love ya girls!!! Angel

Monday, December 08, 2008

What if we didn't buy so much junk for Christmas?

....So I like gifts just as much as the next gal. My kids really like gifts. This Christmas my kiddos will wake up to some nice things. I have nothing against buying gifts. Yet consider this: America spends an average of $450 billion a year every Christmas.

Thinking back there are many times when I have not just bought things that my children truly wanted. I actually bought things they didn't even think about simply because I could or thought it was fun. Would they really miss that extra shirt I bought cause it was on sale? Did they NEED another Barbie just cause it was only $5? Did I HAVE to spend the extra $15 on stocking stuffer gifts that broke or got lost the first day?

There are also so many times we are buying gifts out of obligation because it's what we think we are supposed to do... Is it really?

What if this year we consider buying ONE LESS GIFT for Christmas. Just one. Sounds insignificant... but if all of us took that step to buy one less thing and then give that money to someone who truly needed a gift.. it would make a huge difference.

This year some of my friends chatted about this very subject. We all decided that none of us- and none of our kids- needed more stuff. We are already doing the fun gift thing with our families. So instead of buying each other more stuff we will be giving that money away to people who actually need it. How much cooler is that than a Starbucks gift card??

Take a look at this video... consider joining The Advent Conspiracy..

Saturday, December 06, 2008

6 months ago my life was turned upside down...

6 months ago today our family changed forever...

6 months ago our precious China doll finally had a family.

( Kaiya 11 months old)

It's hard to fathom how our life has changed. It all started in Oct 2007 when I saw this little picture. A little girl with a repaired cleft lip and unrepaired cleft palate who had waited for 3 months on a list for a family....The minute I saw her everything in me knew this one was MINE! As you can imagine I see many waiting children. Many pull my heart strings. I pray for them, advocate for them, send money to help them... but not all of them are mine. Shauntie (as she was nick named) was mine. This was a complete shock and not in the plan. I was sure Russ would say I was crazy but he didn't. I called him at work and told him I wanted to send him a picture of his daughter. He said call them and tell them we want her.... to read the WHOLE story click here.

(Kaiya 15 months old)

I IMMEDIATELY started the paperwork. We sent off for pre-approval (from China) to adopt her right away. Since I had done this whole thing before I had gotten pretty good at it! I had the whole dossier except for the homestudy done in just a few weeks. My social worker is awesome and had our homestudy to us within about 4 weeks I think.... We got our immigration approval from the US within like 3 weeks after that!!! Unbelievable...

(Kaiya 20 months)

Inside I was calm- happy as a clam. It was a complete turn around from my first adoption process. I had given up control and was COMPLETELY chilled about the whole thing. When things went wrong I didn't freak out. It was an erie calm that I couldn't explain.

(Kaiya 22 months)

The process continued to go smoothly- the complete opposite of Zoe's adoption. In only 7 months from when we started it was time to get on plane and go get her! I could hardly believe it! I was beyond thrilled and a LITTLE bit nervous. I knew life was about to change.

So my mom and I went across the world to China! It was the trip of a lifetime. Unbelievable.... I never expected to fall in love with China the way I did. Still, how could I not love China for the gift she gave me?

From the moment I held my little waif of a girl I was in love.

With the first cuddle I was a goner...

She had me at hello... from that moment a miracle began..

(night 1 in China- just turned 2 yrs old)

Sometimes miracles don't happen in the blink of an eye. Sometimes they start with a malnourished little girl China.... and then slowly everything changes.

week 1 in China

Week 2 in China

On our way home!

1 month home

2 months home

3 months home

4 months home

5 months home

6 months home

and there you have it... a miracle

careful now... I said MIRACLE... not fairy tale- It's two very different concepts...

Kaiya coming home was not a fairy tale. She was malnourished, scared, feisty, undisciplined and looked a TEENY bit like an adorable version of golumn when she attempted to walk. ;0)

When we got Kaiya she was so tiny... about 20 pounds. She was HUNGRY all the time but didn't know how to eat. Her tongue still had that reflex babies have to push food out of her mouth because she had not eaten much solid food. At first she could only eat about two grains of rice at a time.

From morning till bedtime she was obsessed with eating. Even after she fell asleep it seemed to still be on her mind! LOL! ;0)

She had no idea how to play with toys. She was a NIGHTMARE in restaurants. She had no concept of gravity or danger or family.

She had ZERO muscle control due to being confined to a crib for 2 years. She was a walking ER visit just waiting to happen. (She still is) Only a few days after we got home we were already having stitches in her forehead...

..... black eyes, surgeries, bruises and scrapes... our little walking disaster..

Nope, no fairy tales or happy endings here. Just a precious little girl becoming part of a family. A miracle.

When we first got home people asked a lot how she was adjusting. The truth was she was adjusting wonderfully!! She was learning and growing at the speed of light. However, I wasn't doing quite as well as her. I felt like my life was falling apart. I was in love with this little girl but I had NO IDEA how to do this. Everything had changed. I had forgotten how hard it was to have a toddler..and I was totally blown away by how hard it was having three children and homeschooling. I was on easy street before with a 9 and 5 year old and now everything that used to be fun was really, really hard.

The ugly truth is that I am very selfish. I liked my life, my comfort, my plan. I wanted the miracles God had for my life but I didn't want to give up my life. Oops.. apparently it doesn't work that way.

Although I have been in love with Kaiya Rain Zhen from the moment I saw her...

It took me months to adjust to this new life that was so different from my life before. Not worse- just different. I just wasn't wanting to change. Selfish, selfish, selfish...

After 5 months I finally got it. I know- I'm a slow learner. I finally figured out that I can do this. I can juggle it. I can change. I can give up what my life was for a season and dive into this season. And there is the second miracle- the change in me. Learning to love beyond myself and what is comfortable. Our children change us and if we let them- they make us what we should be.

I adore this child. I love her FEARLESS and spunky personality. I love how smart and funny she is. I love her wild cuteness.

I love that perfect little dimple in her cheek and the funny ways she walks. I love the way she says everyone's name with a very certain tone that seems to express their personality.

I adore her courage to love passionately even though she has faced so much pain in her 2 little years. I love her wet slobbery kisses and the way she says, "Mamma, I uv eww."

How could this be that abandoned child in an orphanage? How is it possible? This funny, smart,glowing, giggling, chubby little cherub running with all her might towards her sisters... what could have been is over. What is now is the miracle.

This miracle is larger still. How could I picture life without her? How much has she changed us and helped us grow? What would my life be without her fiesty little heart in my life? I don't want to consider it. She has given me so much and changed who I am.

This little angel has taken me places I never dreamed I would go. From Hong Disney...

to the ER getting surgery at Disney World... she is always full of surprises!!
Without Kaiya we'd be missing ten little fingers and ten little toes. Heaven forbid...

Without Kaiya life would have been simpler, less complicated, more about ME... and I would never have this picture.

My children have not come to me in average ways. Each of their stories are different. In my heart I know that God brought each of them to me. To change them??? Well, yes- perhaps. To change me- most certainly. Their little footprints on my heart are my saving grace.

I love you Kaiya Rain Zhen. Thank you for saving me from myself.

Without you it just wouldn't really be our family. Love, Mommy