Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Letters to My Daughter - My Heart for You


Tonight, as I sat in your bed rocking you to sleep, I started praying for you.  This isn't something I do often enough but I poured out my heart in that quiet, dark, precious moment.  I prayed that you will be an over-comer.  That you will over come the first four years of your life.  That you will over come your rough start in school. Most of all, I prayed that you will over come your mommy's imperfections.  I mess up far more often than I'd like but I know that you are thriving in spite of my mistakes.

I am in awe of you and who you are.  When you fall asleep in my lap or when I check on you at night, I am in amazed that you are sleeping in my house.  That I have been entrusted with your little life.  I can't help but smile when I see your adorable little face in my rear view mirror.  Most of the time, it seems crazy to me that I have this little person in the back seat of my car and that I am responsible for that little person.  And, when you call my name or kiss my cheek, I often tear up because this amazing little person actually loves me and calls me mom.  Some days, I am overwhelmed by the responsibility.  Other days, I am in awe of the privilege that I have been given.

We've been together for a year now and I've seen so many changes in you.  You are talking and communicating so much.  I honestly think I hear a new word from you almost every day.  You are so proud to try out new words, signs, and sounds.  We both get frustrated when I don't understand you but you've come so far.

You have matured so much.  You are calmer and you can take a minute to listen before totally losing it.  Sometimes there are still some less-than-stellar moments but we are working through those together.  You want to do the right thing and you want to be good.  We haven't used the stroller in months.  You even managed to walk through the mall without too much trouble.

You love life.  There are still so many aspects of every day life that are new to you.  You've really enjoyed the snow this winter (until you get wet).  You love going new places and seeing new things.  You've gotten a little less sure about new people but you warm up quickly.

You are learning that you can't have everything.  While this might seem silly to include, it's such a huge thing.  You don't expect me to buy you something when we go to the store.  You can look at something and then put it back.  You don't expect anything from anyone, really.  So, when you get a special treat, you are so very grateful.

You are so determined and a great problem solver.  You want to do things for yourself and you want to help everyone you meet.  Sometimes you're problem solving skills border on manipulation but I know that your determination and creativity will take you so far.

Sara---I am so proud of the little girl that you are becoming.  Sometimes, it breaks my heart to see you growing up so quickly.  You are not the little toddler that I met a year ago.  You are a fiercely independent 5-year-old who doesn't always need her mom.  But, when you're tired, and you ask to be my baby, I will gladly rock you in my lap.  I promise you that I will hold you as long as you let me.  You can be my baby as long as you need because I will always be your mom.

Te Amo Mija,
Your Mom

February 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day - Last Year

Last year, on Valentine's Day, I was in Colombia. (Cause I was pretty much there forever.)  My friend Jason and his daughter Claudia left that afternoon.  They had pretty much been my life-line and my sanity.  They were my escape from the hotel and the hotel food.  They were my connection to home.  And they left me.  (I can't blame them but....)

Susan and her girls were at the hotel at the time but I knew they were just passing through.  They were a lot of fun but I knew that they, too, would be leaving as soon as they possibly could.

Since it was Valentine's Day, Susan and I went to the grocery store and found the closest thing to American candy we could find for the girls and threw a tiny, little party in her room.

Pretty much the cutest Valentine's dates ever!

In the middle of our little party, the hotel owner knocked on the door and told me that I had a phone call.  I knew that it was too late at night for "The Call" (the one saying the adoption decree is ready) so I was interested to see who it was.  (A secret admirer, perhaps?)  I picked up the phone and realized it was my amazing in-country rep.  The hotel owner had called her because she was worried that I was depressed and thought she might need to come cheer me up.
Our amazing in-country rep

Apparently, in their minds, Valentine's Day is a HUGE American holiday and I must have been so sad about missing it.  I had to try really hard not to laugh into the phone.  I was in a funk but it had nothing to do with Valentine's Day and everything to do with my friends leaving.  It took me quite a while to assure her that I was fine and not missing anything at home.

I'm not sure I've ever even celebrated Valentine's Day.  The one year that I was dating someone in February, he was at college in Ohio and I was student teaching in Costa Rica.  I've gone out with groups of girls to "celebrate" but that's about it.  It is certainly not a big holiday to me and I was kind of relieved to be so far away from it for once.

It goes to show, though, how kind and caring Colombians are.  Even if they are a bit misinformed.

This year, I'm spending Valentine's Day with the Love of My Life.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Family Photo Shoot

My family does photos every five years.  It involves quite a bit of whining but we know that every 5 years we are getting them done.  I will admit to being a part of the whining but most of it comes from the male members of the family.  

It's fun to look at the photos because we've added someone to every picture.  We started in 1995.  The boys were so little then.  In 2000, we added my brother Rob.  In 2005, my sister-in-law Amy joined the group.  In 2010, my niece Grace made her first family photo appearance.
Our 2010 picture.  

Since 2010, we have added my niece Kinsley and Sara.  I wanted to do pictures again since they will all be so big in 2015 and there will be at least one more addition to the picture by then.  There were a couple of hold-outs of the male persuasion in the family and I hold no power to convince at least one of them.  So, we decided to do just the women this time around.  (Everyone will be in the 2015 picture.)


Mother and daughters

All the women

Cousins - Take 1

Cousins - Take 2

Cousins - Take 3

Nana and her granddaughters