day 122 - off to the beach

We are leaving for a week at the beach for our annual China travel group reunion. We are all so excited and can't wait to see everyone and have some fun and relax in the sun at Siesta Key Beach, Florida. Here is Eleanor's take on it....silly girl!


day 119 - 10 years

10 years ago, I married this smart, funny, handsome, kind, loving man. Our life together has had high and lows, peaks and valleys, but through it all, our love and respect for each other has sustained us. We wanted to start a family and although it may not be what we had in mind, it is far greater than either of us could have ever imagined. I am grateful to God for bringing this man into my life at the perfect time, for creating our family and for how our life together is unfolding. I am blessed. Happy Anniversary boo!


day 118 - getaway

Jonathan and I are in Hilton Head for a couple of days to celebrate our anniversary. We so needed some time away together...it's been too long! The weather is gorgeous and the hotel right on the beach - what more could you ask for?


day 117 - the babies are here!

In the past day or two, our eggs have hatched! We've been watching the nest carefully, although it's too high up to get a good look, but today, we saw the little heads peeking out (we think there are five). We are so excited to watch them grow! I managed to get some shots where you can just see some heads with wide-open mouths.

 Mom guarding her babies, with Dad close-by

Can you see the baby birds?


day 116 - adoption friends

Sweet kids

 Some friends and I are working on getting a local adoption support group started and today we had our first meeting at a local park. There were kids from China and Bulgaria, and more to come home soon from the Congo, Rwanda and China.
It was Mackenzie's Gotcha Day Anniversary, so her mom, Carol, brought cupcakes for all the kids

It was wonderful to meet everyone and share a little of our stories. Our families are all different, but the common thread is adoption and that creates a special bond. We will plan another meeting again soon, so if you are interested, please let me know!


day 114 - happy birthday gran

We had a party for Jonathan's mom (aka Gran) today. She turned 60! A milestone like that deserves a party. We had a dessert reception after church and invited all her family and a few close friends. I was so busy running around making sure everything was going smoothly, that I didn't get to take any pics, and then when I finally picked up my camera, it decided to stop working....so the pic here is from my phone.

Happy Birthday Peggy aka Betty aka Gran...we love you!


day 111 - house guests

We have been watching a female house finch for the past few weeks as she built a nest, laid her eggs and is now is sitting on them, almost continuously, while she waits for them to hatch. The nest is just outside our front door, under the covered entry. Today, we saw the male make an appearance, feeding the female and keeping her company. I think we are very close to having hatchlings! The girls love looking out and seeing the nest there and so do I.  I managed to grab a few pics today, through the door panes. Stay tuned for baby birds!


day 110 - baby alea

The following post was not written by me, but my good friend Andrea, mentioned below, has been working fervently to bring this sweet child to the United States for her life-saving surgery. As I write this, phone calls are being made, letters are being written, donations are being taken, prayers are being said, all in an effort to save this child's life. Every child deserves a chance and it's thrilling to see what happens when people step up and say they will help, and when God steps in and brings it all together, in a beautiful, miraculous plan.

I'd like you to meet Alea.

Alea was born in China on September 28, 2011 and abandoned three months later, on December 28th, at the local bank. The police were called but were unable to locate Alea's parents. She was taken to the local orphanage. There was a note with her telling of her medical condition. The orphanage realized they would not be able to provide the care (including surgery) that Alea would need, so they contacted New Day Foster Home, asking if they would be willing to try to help save her. Alea arrived at New Day on February 22, 2012.

Alea was born with severe  biliary atresia, and she needs a liver transplant to survive. On April 9th, I received this "Knee Time" prayer e-mail from New Day explaining that organs for transplants are virtually non-existant in China. Without a miracle, Alea would not survive. I don't know about you, but I read that and I think, that IS NOT okay. There has to be a way. I e-mailed Karen, the director at New Day, and asked her if the orphanage would allow Alea to come to the states for surgery if we found a hospital and doctors who were willing to do it pro bono. She said that they would allow that. 

The next day, I posted a simple request on Facebook: who has a high-level contact at a children's hospital in the US that might be able to help little Alea? Several people contacted me, and they all went to work contacting their contacts. Meanwhile, we prayed and waited to see what God would do. And God did what God does: 
He showed up and He moved mountains (a whole mountain range, in fact).

I cannot give any details yet, however there is a major children's hospital here in the US that is in the FINAL stages of approving Alea's liver transplant surgery, thanks to the contacts, persistence and hard work of another New Day mom, advocate for orphans, and friend of mine, Andrea.

This hospital is awaiting just one final approval from a woman who is on vacation this week and will return next week. We anticipate their final decision next week. In addition, Andrea also made some calls and found an organization to cover the cost of Alea's medical visa, transportation to the States, and her passport. (Yeah, Andrea is no joke I tell ya, and she's got connections.)

WOW. And I thought that it might be hard. Not with God, it's not.

There is a thing or two that is not covered, and we will get to that....but for now, I wanted you to fall in love with little Alea, to print out her picture, stick it on your fridge, and for you to PRAY without ceasing for her.

 that all the final approvals will come through and we will get the green light to bring her to the states for the surgery to save her life.
 that the sea of red tape will part to make it possible for Alea to get here sooner than later.
 for Alea to remain healthy and strong while she waits and prepares for surgery.
...and thank God for His provision for Alea, and ask Him to continue to continue to move mountains for Alea, because there are many more to come!

For those of you who will ask me, "How can I help?".....stay tuned! There are a few things that Alea still needs, so 
if you would like to be a part of a miracle, then you will have an opportunity to very, very soon! 

Meanwhile, just look at her little face and dream about what God can do in and through her little life....because He has already started!


day 109 - from the archives

We have all been suffering with colds and today was a low-key, movie-watching, game-playing kind of day. I didn't take any pictures - heck, the girls and I didn't even get dressed until 3 p.m, so, I decided to pull something from the archives. I found this video and pics from this day in 2010, of LilyKate and Daddy blowing bubbles, that were just so darn cute! Hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane.


day 108 - dress up days

My girls are in the habit of waking up and going straight for the dress up clothes. They come downstairs with tutus and high heels, magic wands, gloves - you name it.

The combinations are endless and quite interesting at times....as evidenced below:

LilyKate with a headband, swimsuit, tutu, backpack, Halloween socks and 
ballet slippers.

Eleanor in Hello Kitty pajamas, tutu and high heels.

These are the most coveted shoes in the house. 
Several arguments have broken out over these lovelies. 
Mommy has tried and failed to find another pair.


day 106 - butterfly obession

LilyKate's love of butterflies shows no signs of waning anytime soon.


day 105 - teachers

I walked in and found the girls in the guest room, "teaching" some stuffed animals. I am not sure what the lesson was about, but it sure was cute!



day 103 - an (extra)ordinary day

Yesterday, the girls and I were in the kitchen. They were eating at the counter, as they often do, and I was cleaning up. Eleanor suddenly asked me, "Mom, does Jesus really live in my heart?" I told her that He does if you ask Him, and after the three of us talked for a few minutes about what that means, I asked them, "Girls, do you want to say a little prayer and ask Jesus to come live inside you?" They enthusiastically said "Yes", but then got a little shy and self-conscious, so I said, "How about I pray and you say the words after me?" And that's just what we did. In the kitchen, at the counter, with plates of food and sticky fingers and faces. We prayed together and my heart was so full of love for these precious girls and my God. I told them that He was always there for them, whenever they needed or wanted to talk to Him, and that they would never be alone.

Thinking about it later, I was floored by the sweetness and innocence of their hearts and their willingness to trust God. I know they don't really get it, but they will and I pray that they hold fast to Him throughout their lives, and that they never for a second forget that He is for them.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Note: These pictures are actually from today. I didn't dare tarnish the moment by grabbing my camera and snapping them yesterday.


day 100 - happy easter

We had a truly lovely Easter day. We started off with a church breakfast, followed by a beautiful service. Every year, our church has a living cross and it's the perfect backdrop for family pictures. 

After church, we had lunch with my family and then relaxed until it was time for Jonathan and I to head back to church to sing in the Easter cantata. It was an amazing end to a gorgeous day. 

Our family

The girls with their godparents, Andy and Lisa

LilyKate and Eleanor with Great Aunt Eleanor

Daddy and his beautiful girls

My sweethearts

Gran, Isabelle, LilyKate and Eleanor

My beautiful sister-in-law Shelby and her sweet Isabelle

The Loves




My best attempt at a group shot


day 99 - egg hunt

Our church holds an annual Easter egg hunt and it was a perfect day for it. The actual egg hunt took about 3 minutes and I couldn't move fast enough to get pictures, but did manage to grab a couple before and after. And yes, we do hold our egg hunt in the church cemetery...doesn't everyone?

Cousin Isabelle
Eleanor, Isabelle and LilyKate

Cousin Lizzie

Cousin Matt found the prize egg

The girls with the Easter bunny