Monday, February 16, 2015

2015..February already

Whew...It is crazy to me that we are already over 6 weeks into the new year!  Before we know it, I'll blink and it will be July and we will have been home for a year.  I already find it so hard to believe that my girl has been my girl for 8 MONTHS! wow. just. wow

I know I have not updated for quite some time.  As in, months...almost 4 months, but life has been constant and I have been spending my time keeping up with the busy, busy, bundle that is my daughter!  We had a very busy few months with a move, illness, holidays, vacation, more illness, more holiday and lots of living life in between.  I think we've settled into a good routine after the past couple of months (adjusting to the move, holiday, illness, vacation, etc.) and hopefully I will do a better job of giving at least a monthly update of how amazing the darling girl is doing.  The last post was mid-November, so here is a little catch up of the past few months...


We finished the month with a little Thanksgiving celebrating.  Including a school feast, (yep, I got to go eat a Thanksgiving lunch with my girl at school.  I love being a Mom!) a little church 'Thank-you Meal' choir program and our family gathering to enjoy some good old turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  Josie also decided that it would be good timing to come down with croup and miss a week of school prior to Thanksgiving break.  This girl and her little airways and low tone mixed with bronchial illness are just not a good combo.  Thankfully we have quite a stash of albuterol on hand and our lovely pink 'Claudia the Cat' nebulizer and an amazing pediatrician who will fit us in asap to determine if a stronger treatment is needed or not.  Can I just state for the record that I HATE croup!!  But the girlie is a rock star and after days of breathing treatments, steroids and some good old, TLC, she was back to her silly, bubbly, self.  The positive of being sick...someone took her first few steps while on a steroid high!  What a moment that was! I knew she was close but watching her toddle two, then three, then four steps from one place to another made my heart skip a few beats.  She is so determined...I love that will of hers.


We took a little vacation, before 'school' vacation, and flew back to Chicago for a week.  It was possibly the best little vacation ever.  I got to spend a week, taking my daughter to all of the places and doing all of the activities that I did as a girl.  We went to Marshall Field's (yeah, I am aware that it's Macy's now, but it will also be Marshall Fields in my mind.) and ate under the giant tree in the Walnut room.  We were visited by the fairies during our meal, ate delicious pot pie and hot cider and left with souvenir Santa Bear mugs and LOTS of glitter.  Josie met Santa and LOVED him (and he, was a mutual bonding).  We walked around in the cold downtown, visit American Girl, ate more delicious food and did more site seeing.  I will try to write a post about our trip later.  It was a pretty great week making lots of lasting memories.  We also enjoyed a couple of weeks out of school, which meant TONS of Mama and Josie time.  The best time ever!  Josie also experienced her first Christmas...and WOW! What a Christmas it was.  Just about every aspect that could have been excellent, was.  She loved the tree

(including finding one and cutting it down!), the lights, the music, the stories, the crafts and on and on.  We did Advent activities to add to our tree and decorations, she learned about the real meaning behind the holiday and still sings (signs) 'Away in a Manger', even weeks after the holiday.  She also learned about Santa and will sometimes still 'Ho,ho,ho' if she sees something that she thinks looks like Santa.  I may need another post on our first Christmas home experience as well.  It was truly magical.  One of the big highlights of our extra time together was...walking. Yep, the initial couple of steps turned more into 10 or so at a time...she's pretty amazing!

We finished up our school vacation and started a fresh new year.  Someone took a few days to transition from our weeks of 'vacationing' and extra Mama and Josie time, but she eventually got back into routine and was gladly showing off her new walking skills at school.  Josie is now walking!!  She still needs to build up stamina and does still stumble a bit, but holy moly this girl is on the move!  She has also decided that she can climb on everything and discovered that standing on tiptoes gives her an extra inch to reach a little higher.  The edge of just about EVERY surface in the house is now off limits.  Paper sitting at the edge of the dining room table, reachable.  Cup sitting on the edge of the kitchen counter, reachable.  Books at the edge of the 3rd shelf on the bookcase, reachable.  Thankfully she hasn't actually discovered that she can really reach things in some places, but once she realizes it...all bets are off!  We had a few warm winter days and spent time at the park, doing her favorite thing...swinging!  She also took her first trip to the library and loved it.  We have been back quite a few times to return and borrow new books.  I love that she loves to read!  J also got invited to a couple of birthday parties.  Her first since being home.  (She actually got to attend her first birthday party for her friend Sophie while we were still in Colombia!  You can read about that here.)  Josie's friend Stiles turned 5 and had a party at a gymnastics center....which included lots of bouncy houses, spring mats and foam pits.  The girlie LOVED her time
 there and we will absolutely be looking into tumbling in the future.  We also got to hang out at her friend Walker's 3rd birthday party and play sports outside with friends.  It's so fun to watch her socialize and hang out with friends, just like every other kid.  I cherish those moments.  It makes my heart so happy to see her blossoming. 

That brings us to February and my attempt to hopefully stay caught up.  We have few pretty big events coming up, including a first birthday home (how can she be turning FOUR already!) and a happy to be getting that done in our current church before we move!  Oh yeah, at that, a move (which isn't actually happening until the end of the school year, but involves quite a bit of planning!)

I will try my best to stay up to date from here on out.  There are certainly always things to blog about...just need to keep track of the time to write!!!





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

World Adoption Day (a few days late!)

This post is a few days late.  I know it shouldn't be this difficult to stay on top of daily posts, but some days really are harder then others.  Sure, I can find the time but as I sit here typing I'm also thinking of the 512 other things that I could or should be doing. (Even if one post does only need to take 10 does cleaning the bathroom...)

November is National Adoption month and the 9th was World Adoption Day.  The first one ever!  To celebrate, there was a photo op going around of adoptive families taking pics with smiley face drawn on the palm of their hands.  I loved seeing all of the pics and if my own sweet girl had not been lovingly tucked into her bed and already snoring away by the time I realized this photo op was trending, we would have been on time. But, as it goes, our pic was a day late.  It's still ridiculously adorable though. 
                                         I mean who couldn't love this little squishy hand!!

I must tell you I got scolded at first, for writing on my own hand and then a very silly face as she looked back and forth from her hand to mine with smiles faces on them both.
I wasn't even going to try to attempt getting our smiley faced palms AND our faces all in a pictures. That's an insane thought in this house! The girlie loved looking at her hand in her mirror and spent a good 15 minutes 'talking' to the reflection of her smiley hand! (Sorry, no pictures. I was too busy staring at my adorable daughter enjoying her little moment of joy!)  I am so blessed that this little girl is a part of my life and I am especially thankful that I get to hold that squishy little hand, every day!
 I'm not going into great detail about adoption month in this post, just letting you enjoy a smiley little hand! 

                                         I will share something else though....this handsome boy...


who would love for someone to bring him home, so next year, he could have a smiley face on his hand and enjoy the silliness of his smiley faced palm reflecting in a mirror.  Don't you want to hold him in your lap and draw a smile on his squishy little palm next November?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Family Dinners

   As a kid, we sat at the table and had dinner on a very regular basis.  Talked about our days, joked, laughed and enjoyed the company of our family.  Sometimes there were faces at the 'yucky' food we had to at least try, most often the meals were delicious and seconds were often enjoyed.  Sometimes we got to choose a meal.  Mom would let us pick our favorite dish, sides and dessert.  It seemed like such a big deal to get to choose dinner!  There were certainly nights that one parent had a meeting or one child had an event or it was just simply a 'lazy' night and we had sandwiches or cereal.  (Which were also fun and kind of like 'treat' nights.)   We also enjoyed a meal out on occasion or a carry in from a local restaurant.  Pizza and movie nights were accompanied with handmade milkshakes (and most often the pizza was probably made at home as well!) 
    I have fond memories of sitting at the dining room table with my family.  It's a tradition that I wanted to share with my daughter.  Actually sitting at the table and enjoying meals together as family.  We do sometimes have to eat 'on the run' so to say.  There are also evenings that we eat at church or I am working and the girl is  eating at Grandma and Grandpa's.  But every Sunday, we all make time to enjoy a meal as a family. 
     My mom enjoys setting up the table, we sometimes eat on my Grandma's nice dishes just because.  There is usually a tablecloth and the table has seasonal decor.  There are places set for everyone.  Food comes to the table in serving dishes and is passed around for everyone to get a helping.  There are conversations, laughter, jokes, memories.
   Every once and a while, the meals happen at a restaurant or get moved a bit due to occasional obligations.  But it is a tradition that my daughter is learning about.  A tradition that she'll hopefully remember into adulthood.  And maybe even carry on to her own family one day...
   I'm very thankful for the memories created around the dining table.  I'm thankful for the delicious food we have to put on our table.  And I'm especially thankful that my daughter has a family to be able to enjoy a family dinner with.
Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cows and cupcakes

   I missed yesterday's post.  I didn't have to work, had the girlie home sick still and took advantage of getting to just be Mama all day.  (Which was great, by the way!)  Josie is seeming much better.  We're still on breathing treatments and the poor nose is pretty stuffy, but she's got more energy and I'm seeing more of 'my girl'.  We got out yesterday for a little walk, hoping some fresh air would be good, and got to enjoy a through-the-fence view of a local airshow.  She thoroughly enjoyed the walk and all of the planes and had more energy after our walk then she's had all week!

"Cow" complete with Mooing
   We've had tickets to the local Historic Ritz theater to see "Click, Clack, Moo - Cows that type" for a few weeks! And even though the girlie has not been 100%, I thought she was well enough to sit in the theater for an hour (and no, she's not contagious now!)  It was a children's musical based on the book by Doreen Cronin "Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type".  Which we own and Josie loves, because, well, it's all about cows.  She wore part of her Halloween costume and had to bring "cow baby" with.  I think she's obsessed.  She was SO good during the performance.  She sat, mostly in my lap, enthralled by the actors on stage.  Dancing, singing, cows (and a chicken and a duck and a farmer) could not get any better!   She stared wide eyed at the stage with a big grin on her face, sometimes almost in a trance and sometimes with a look of disbelief.  I would LOVE to know what her little mind must have been thinking.  We met the cast afterward, out of their costumes and she was a little confused.  Pretty sure she just wanted to see the cows!!!  I'm so thankful that we have an arts and theater program to present this opportunity.  Thankful that Grandma thought to buy tickets to something she was pretty sure Josie would love (and boy was she right!!)  Thankful that Josie was feeling well enough to attend.  And thankful that she was able to enjoy watching the 'animals' that she is in love with, live, on stage, singing and dancing. 

We stopped at Smallcakes, a local cupcake bakery with the most delicious (and HUGE) cupcakes, on our way home.  My girl is not the biggest 'sweets' eater but LOVES her cupcakes!! (and cake and icecream!)  She only got a part of the giant treat (I can't even eat a whole one on my own!) but Mmmm...did she enjoy every morsel. She was covered, literally, in chocolate but it didn't matter.  She enjoyed every bite of that treat.  I'm so thankful that she is able to express her likes and dislikes.  Thankful that she has such joy in such little things and shares her happy emotions with exuberance!!  And very thankful that I get to be on the receiving end of that sharing.
Thursday, November 6, 2014


You probably thought this was going to be some deep thought filled post about reflecting on the past, the future, life in general.  Nope, sorry. (Maybe next time?) Today, I'm being literal.  
I am thankful for actual reflections. Two specific reflections.  

This one....
I am so thankful every time I look into my rear view mirror and see this reflection. 
That little face peeking back at me, melts my heart every time! 

And this one....

She LOVES herself in the mirror. Smiles, kisses, laughs, makes faces.  
This is the reaction to ANY mirror that she catches herself in.  Or any surface that might give her a reflection...elevator doors, stainless steel appliances, glass doors in restaurants or grocery stores...if there is a reflection, she needs to give some love to that little girl on the other side.  This is our mirror at home.  (Which she loves extra because she can also climb in/through it!)  She pulls toys over to the mirror or watches herself read.  She stands up and sits, squats and spins.  Her mirror is great therapy without her even realizing it!!  And I love how happy she is making faces to herself and see the smile reflect back.  
I'm so thankful for something so simple that makes her so happy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hallmark Channel

I have always been one of those people who really loves Christmas BUT also enjoys Thanksgiving and usually don't want to miss out on the Thanksgiving decorations and festivities to get straight to Christmas.  This year is a little different.  I am still looking forward to Thanksgiving.  We do have a 'Thankful Pumpkin' in the center of the table and the walls will continue to be covered with turkeys, Indian corn and pilgrims.  Hand prints and Foot prints will be turned into feathers and turkey bodies.  And the meal itself will be thoroughly enjoyed by all.          However, I've officially been sucked into the Hallmark channel Christmas movie marathon "Countdown to Christmas".  I will also admit to playing Christmas music in my car today.  I'd try to blame it on my daughter and in a way I can and will, this is her first Christmas and I want her to get a good experience of holiday tunes!  But the truth is, I turned on the Hallmark channel this weekend, while the girl was napping and caught a glimpse of 'Hitched for the Holidays'.  I know, it sounds as cheesy as it really was.  BUT it was full of Christmas spirit, music, people being neighborly, Santa and all of the magic that comes with the Christmas season.  I do know the real reason for the season and my daughter will learn all about Jesus' birthday, but I also am fine with letting imaginations stretch and allowing Santa to come visit on Christmas eve.  I love the feeling of Christmas, how people just genuinely seem to be happier, share more, give more and smile more.  Watching the cheesy, full of make believe, Hallmark countdown to Christmas movies, just gives me a little extra happiness while waiting for Thanksgiving to get it's day, before Christmas can entirely take over!!! 
      So today, I am thankful for my TV....thankful for cable and especially thankful for Christmas movies.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bath time (Day 4)

My girl is not feeling so great right now, and it kind of stinks!  Scratch that, it stinks A LOT! She's in a steroid crazed/sleep deprived/coughing is for the birds kind of mood. She is still trying to play and be happy, but is obviously not feeling good at the same time. It's heartbreaking for this Mama to have to go to work and leave her....even though I know she is in good hands and having as much 'fun' as possible, with "Bamma".

The one thing that is making her the happiest right now is the bathtub! She loves her time in the water. I'm convinced she thinks she's part fish, or maybe mermaid?  She's fearless in the water. Splashes like it should be an Olympic sport, flips, rolls, kicks, scoots.  She has no problem with her face/head getting fully submerged to blow bubbles or simply because she thinks it's funny to stick her face in the water! She loves to put her head under the running faucet and best of all...turning on the shower while she's sitting in the water!   She loves to sit under the spray of the shower, some times head tipped up letting it rain down right onto her face! Pure joy!


I'm SO thankful today for the fact that we have clean, warm, running water so my sick, sweet girl can enjoy some happy play time in the tub! Or really, more like, three happy play times in the tub!