Wednesday, September 19, 2012


For four days Brad worked tirelessly at another attempt to grow grass for us.  He envisions the girls running barefoot out front as they play.  He worked REALLY hard.  The grass seed over a couple of acres was laid Monday.  Then we hoped for a little rain so it would germinate.  

On Tuesday it rained.  And rained and rained and rained.  Brad and Cadence watched the ground as it turned into a pool of mud creating rivulets of grass seed washing away.  I knew that they were doing this as I slept and that it would not be a good day for Brad. 

After waking Tuesday afternoon I got Cadence up from her nap. 
I asked her "Did Daddy talk about the grass seed all day?" 
She answered "Yes.  It wash away." 
"Is Daddy sad?"
"Yes" she said "You need to give him hug."

If there is one thing my girl and I know about, it's how to give good hugs!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


And this little piggy went to preschool...  We had debated about whether or not to send Cadence to preschool this year.  She still has two years before kindergarten and considering her speech delay, I was concerned that putting her in a room with 8 or 9 others kids would leave both her and the teacher frustrated.  We were going to hold off until a friend of mine, and former school teacher, said that she wanted to teach a small preschool group in her home.  It sounded like the perfect set-up.

So Cadence, my baby, has started school!  Only two days a week for three hours a day, so I don't feel like she's gone too much, but I'm not going to lie (and I won't get Parent of the Year for saying this) it's nice to have a little breather.  Even better than that, though, she seems to be loving it!  She wakes up on school mornings ready to "go to cool".  By the time we get to Ms. Holly's house she has grown a little more clingy and whines "Don't go, Mommy".  She is easily distracted with the new toys that surround her and I leave without tears.  By the time I get back though, she smiles and says "Mommy, go away!"  The perfect mix of happy to see me but happy enough to stay there and play with toys and friends that she doesn't see everyday.  I think that this will be good!

Hamming it up for the first day

Officially the second day, but my printer had no ink the first day!  And I loved the outfit that she put together!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Family Day, Cadence!

One year ago we waited in a hotel room in Hohhot City, Inner Mongolia. This was the culmination of 2 years of paperwork, much scrutinizing and nail biting, and lots of anxiety filled waiting. The staff brought a crib to the room and I put sheets on and laid stuffed animals on the pillow. And we waited. We still weren't even sure if we would meet her that day. The phone rang and we were told to come to the lobby. There, on a red velvet couch, sat a woman holding a little girl. The little girl had on a new clothes, a pink Minnie Mouse shirt, boys' pants with baseballs on the butt, and brown croc-like shoes. She looked different than she had in the photo. She had teeth and was bigger than I expected. But it was her - my daughter. The woman put her in my arms. I had the same feeling that I had when Sierra and Laurel were born and placed in my arms for the first time. A feeling of wonder and awe... this is our child. I tried so hard to hold back the tears of joy (and a bit of terror!) that threatened to spill. I didn't want to frighten her with my emotions. She cried a bit and I held her, rocked her, willed her to feel my love. Willed her to know that I was her mom and would always take care of her, be there for her, never abandon her. Willed her to feel that she had a place firmly in my heart even though this was the first time we had laid eyes on each other. Willed her to take comfort in the fact that I would dry her tears, kiss her boo-boo's, and overflow with joy at her smiles and laughter. Willed myself to try to not think about any adoption "horror stories" that I had read and to have faith that Cadence would find her place in our family.

After some formalities, lots of Chinese talk, red thumbprints, and photographs, we all went back to the hotel room and took our first family photo. Brad went back to the lobby to finish some things up while Sierra and I managed to elicit some smiles and few giggles from Cadence. We fed her lots of Gerber puffs and looked over the description of her personality and daily schedule that the orphanage had given us - all written in Chinese! We spent the rest of the day and evening crowded around her (overwhelming her I'm sure!) trying to make her happy. Now that I think of it, that's still how we spend the day sometimes!

Another 11 days in China and then we head back home to make Cadence a US citizen and meet her adoring big sister, Laurel. In the next year, Cadence had 2 surgeries, countless doctor appointments, lived in 3 different homes, and has adjusted better than I ever thought was possible! She has fit right into our family. She enjoys rough-housing and loves to make people laugh. If there is an audience around she is more than happy to perform. She is FINALLY starting to talk and has continued to move up on the growth charts and out of her clothes. She loves to cuddle while we read books and gives wonderful kisses and hugs. Everyday she amazes us with a skill she has learned or evidence of how stinkin' smart she is.

I often have people ask me how Cadence has attached to us. She knows that Brad and I are her daddy and mommy. She generally prefers one of us over other people and is easily soothed by us. She is not so terrified of others to prevent us from getting a babysitter or make walking away from her seem like the world is crashing in. She hasn't said it, verbally, but I feel like she does show us that she loves us and knows that we are her peeps! I'm sure that I could scrutinize everything when assessing her attachment and begin to think otherwise. Maybe she doesn't cry when she wakes up in the morning because she doesn't know that we will respond to her needs... or maybe she just likes chillin' a bit when she gets up. Maybe she shows off for others thinking that they might take care of her at some point... or maybe she just likes an audience. But I truly feel in my heart that she knows that she is ours and we are hers. Happy Family Day, Cadence.... we all look forward to so many more and all that your future will bring!

Update for Cadence's second Family Day:  Rereading this post so many of the sentiments are exactly the same!  Although I can say with 100% assurance that Cadence definitely know that we are her mom, dad, and forever family!  She tells all of us that you love us, both with words, hugs, kisses, and actions.  She talks in complete sentence and while we still have difficulty understanding some of it, I do feel certain that one day she will speak clearly.  Girlfriend still loves an audience and prefers Brad and I to sooth and cuddle her.  I continued to be amazed everyday that we have been so blessed with Cadence and Sierra and Laurel.  I don't think that we could be any luckier! 

She is finally in my arms... there were days I never thought it would happen!

My attempt at remaining calm!
Our first family photo! (I had a picture of Laurel in a locket on my necklace)

I'm always amazed to think that this blank, shut down face we saw the first few days now looks like...

... this! Love, love, love!

Family Day 2011
Happy Family Day 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our first double digiter

My baby girl turned 10 this week.  Look at that... it's two digits!  How did this happen?!  This means that teens are right around the corner, college is around the block, marriage and babies are... oh my.  How did this happen?  Ok, I'll move past my shock to focus on the celebration.

Sierra woke up at my parents house to the traditional "Bust into your new year".  Sadly I missed that since I was at work (not to worry, though, Laurel did another one).  I struggled throughout the week trying to decide what, if anything, I would do for a birthday celebration at school.  Now that 5th grade has moved up to middle school a lot of the things that used to be fun now have the potential to be life altering embarrassment for Sierra.  So I tread lightly to balance what the little girl inside of her still hopes for and what the tween to come worries about.  After much deliberation at 3am with my co-workers I settled on taking honeybuns up to the school office and having the secretary deliver them to her homeroom class to distribute to her friends.  It was a big hit and she did appreciate my effort!  Much to my delight, she invited me to lunch next week.

Due to after school activities we had pizza and cinnasticks with candles to make a wish, of course.  The day after her birthday she got her request for chili.  Because what else would you request on an 85 degree day?  Brad and I both being home from work we enjoyed a family birthday dinner with cheesecake to top off the celebration.  (I'm not completely slacking... I will actually bake a cake for her birthday party!)  She opened her gifts and then Laurel coordinated balloon games for the girls and me.  We ran, fell down, bumped into each other, and laughed, then did it all again!  It was a great reminder for me that, although she is double digits and growing up way too fast, Sierra is still a kid who likes to have fun. 

Laurel's "Bust through" set up complete with candy

Here she goes!

Rock girls rule

Cadence agrees... I think!

Shiloh does not

Cheesecake cake, although the kids were more excited about the sugar letters

Make a wish