Friday, June 20, 2014

Long Lost "Sisters"

For those of you who have been following along since the beginning, you may remember this post.  Up until last week I had never met Donita, the dear friend who found me on-line that November night and shared some of our first glimpses of Olivia.  I had also of course never met her precious daughter Cecelia who was Olivia's "sister" for her first 14 months of life.

Last summer, Donita let me know that their family would be traveling to SC for a family wedding.  We were both excited that our girls would be in the same state and have the opportunity to meet once again.  As the weeks drew nearer, I grew a bit anxious about how we would pull this trip off.  The wedding was 3.5 hours from our house.  I contemplated a day trip with Olivia but, wasn't sure how to work out child care for the other two.  I thought about taking all three on my own but, that of course terrified me.  Bringing Brad wasn't an option as we knew he needed to save his vacation time for a family matter later in the summer.  I ran my dilemma by my most adventerous friend Mindy and the problem was solved within minutes.  Girls Trip + 1 (Brooks).

Somehow we loaded five kids, two adults and all the stuff that was required into my SUV and off we went for our road trip.

I realize Brooks looks like he had two black eyes. I assure you he did not.

Kid boot camp.  Planking on the beach.

Don't let this photo fool you.  There was VERY little sleep happening.

            Our "relaxing" breakfast

The other perk of traveling with Mindy is that she is a super talented photographer and offered to take a few shots of Cece and Olivia's reunion.

They look so angelic waiting for Cece to arrive.
And no, we did not plan these amazingly coordinated outfits....great minds just think alike!

I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't been worrying about Brooks collecting bugs and Kyrie hiding because she was shy I would have lost it at this moment.  It was so special to finally meet this family who is so connected to our daughter's past.

In the moment the girls didn't seem to recognize each other but, this photo leads me to believe maybe they did.

Olivia is holding a photo we keeped framed in her room.  It is of she and CeCe and the orphanage with the stuffed animals our families sent for their first birthdays.

Sweet Sisters



I'm pretty sure Kyrie wanted to sneak Cece home with us.

It was a whirlwind of a trip and our time with the Franques family was very short but, I wouldn't have traded it for anything.  When there is very little you know about your child's start to life it's so important to cling to the pieces you have.  Our goodbyes were not for long because we know that one day soon our girls will see each other again.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fit For A Princess

When Olivia first came home she slept in the sitting room of our Master. About three months later she moved into Brooks's room and he got the bonus room. We never decorated her room because we wanted to wait until she was ready for a big girl bed and until she was ready to let us know her likes and dislikes. 

I have been collecting treasures for her room since before she came home. I wasn't sure how it would all come together.  But, I must say I am in love and so is Olivia. 

When we gave her the big reveal she said "Thank you mommy I princess" "This is the best day ever. ". 

She refers to this as her Belle bed. It's the only new furniture in her room. A spray painted Ikea bed. The book shelf was a yard sale find. 

Olivia calls this her "Belle bed".  Belle is her favorite princess. 

This was made by a friend of mine for Olivia's birthday. 


This beautiful verse was given to us by a friend when we were waiting for Olivia. 

The art is actually wrapping paper I bought the Christmas we were waiting for Olivia. It was the color inspiration for the room.

Our girl asked for orange walls.  I couldn't bring myself to grant that wish for her.  But, I am delighted that she is happy and her new room is the perfect accent to her contagiously vibrant personality. 

Monday, June 2, 2014


Over Memorial Day Weekend we got brave and decided to go camping....with....10 kids.....aged 6 and under.  Yes, we are a bit nuts.  Because this was a last minute decision we decided to camp in our backyard rather than scrambling to find a vacant camping spot on a holiday weekend for our large crew.

All I can say is Thank God we just camped in the back yard.

The night started out great.  We cooked out, pitched our tents, played yard games.....

Three little jail babies.  They loved to run against the tent and bounce back like ping pong balls 

Cutest mullet wearing girl I have seen

Then we had a camp fire and roasted s'mores.  That's when it all changed.  Kyrie had a panic attack about foxes eating her and said under no circumstances would she sleep outside.  Another mommy and daughter went home to sleep in their comfy beds.  A daddy who was parenting solo for the weekend decided he didn't wanna brave it with a 6 year old and 2 year old.  Shortly after at 10:30 pm, another mommy left with a rowdy 2 year old.  So...that left just 3 dads and  5 kids.  Until finally, Olivia dropped out at 12:30 am.  Verdict is out if she actually slept outside or was playing possum until that wee hour when her daddy gave up and brought her to me.

Despite little sleep, the memories were grande.  
We have called this our First Annual Memorial Day Camp out.  So....Until Next year!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hello Summer

Brooks has been out of school for a few weeks now and Kyrie had her end of Kindergarten performance on Friday.  I am not a crier but, when it's about my kids, specifically my kids growing up and moving on, I cry.

We started the end of the year festivities with Kyrie's kindergarten music program.  She went in thrilled that she was asked to say a line and she practiced over and over.  When she got up there she said her line beautifully, then she froze.  Poor girl was so disappointed in herself.  We of course felt badly for her but, were just as proud.

I am pretty sure Kyrie's stage fright motivated Brooks to do well during his performance.  He has ALWAYS run off stage crying but, this time he ROCKED it.  We spent the week leading up to the performance praying together for bravery and strength to do something scary.  We wanted this so badly for our sweet boy who struggles with self confidence.  What a wonderful learning experience for our little man to see his prayers answered.

When he walked in calm and not red faced I knew it would all be okay.

Checkin to make sure daddy and big sis are watching

Right about now the tears from momma started and didn't stop.  

A week later we had Kyrie's end of the year Kindergarten performance.  Like, Brooks we talked a lot with Kyrie about her anxiety on stage.  Explaining it's normal.  She assured us she would be okay because it was a smaller performance and in her class room.  

 Mrs. Swigunski has accepted a position as reading specialist therefore, it is her last year teaching Kindergarten.She said a little good bye speech to the parents and students.  She cried through the whole thing explaining what a special bunch our children were.  I lost it and cried through the whole performance.  All the memories of that first day of Kindergarten came flooding back.  What a year of growth it has been for our six year old.

"N is for never we will never forget our fun year"

Her cubby.  Love how Mrs. Swigunski asked them to keep a family photo in their cubby so they would feel more at home.

 Mrs. Misenheimer and Mrs. Swigunski.  Such amazing teachers.

No family photo.  Brooks had a fever and Olivia was melting down as it was way past nap.  Not pretty.

Now on to First grade. 
 I have never been so happy to have all my little babies home for the summer.