Monday, November 17, 2014

{His} smile......

Jude had his lip repaired on October 29th.

Look at his wonderful "new" smile!!!

I'm amazed.

I'm thankful.

It's beautiful.


I do miss his "first" smile.

Pure joy!

His big wide, adorable smile.


And you know what?

I must confess, I was nervous, afraid of his "first" smile.

I worried about his "first" smile for months before I met him.

I didn't know what to expect.  I didn't want people to, I don't know.....

I just don't know.....
What in the world was I so afraid of?????


And EVERYTHING changed.
No fear.
Only love!

Those first - tentative "first" smiles.....while we were in China.....

Oh my!

Be still my heart!


He has THIS smile....

A sweet "new" smile.

A smile I can hardly resist.

That "first" melted my heart.

This "new" smile?
Melts my heart FOREVER!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of School

Yep, it's another 'first day of school'......

I'm filled with all kinds of emotions.


*Wow, summer is over????  Wait, how did that happen?

*Finally. School has started.  

*I'm going to miss our lazy, unscheduled days of just doing whatever, whenever.

*The girls really need some structure. (I really need some structure!)


My little girlies are growing up on me.

They didn't even want to have their backpacks in their "first day of school" picture.
What is this world coming to?
I love their backpacks!

Shea is in 4th grade this year.
She scampered off to her class and didn't even need me to help her......with anything! For shame!
At least she let me take a picture of her.
As you can tell she wasn't thrilled with the idea.

Avery is in third grade.
She gladly accepted my help!
Made this momma happy.

My second round of kiddos seems to be growing up on me.  (How does that keep happening???)
I really missed them today.

Good thing I have "round three" to keep my days filled.
My grandson and my youngest son.
2 two year olds.
They keep me hopping.
And I love it!

By the way, these two little bubbas are NOT growing up.
Just saying....

Sunday, July 20, 2014

These Two!

These Two.... Oh, the joy they bring me!

It's the simple things.....
Like their "after lunch Lolli-pops".  Or as Archer calls them: Suckuuuurs.

My grand-baby, Archer and my sweet baby boy, Jude.....

Uncle and nephew.
Fearsome Twosome.

Friends forever!

This Mommy/Mimi thinks These Two are priceless!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A little swim time.....

*Forgot to post this.  Lately, that is how I roll.  Our "swim time" happened in June.  Since then, it has been literally too cold to go swimming.

It was finally warm enough *kinda* to visit our local swimming pool.

We like to go after dinner, the crowd usually thins out at this time of the day.

We pretty much get the whole pool to ourselves!

Jude LOVES to take a bath so I was hoping he would enjoy the big ole "bathtub" outside.

And yep.  He certainly enjoyed himself.

Then he got cold!

Time to wrap up and get warm....

Love my little penguin!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Playing at the Mall

We went to the mall the other day.

Faith (my oldest daughter) and Archer (her son).
Shea, Avery, Jude and me.

Just did a little shopping.....a little eating.....and a little playing!

Our mall has a small play area.  Faith suggested that we let the kids, mainly boys play there for a bit.
I wasn't so sure.....  Jude had only been home a few weeks......

What the heck.  Let's have a go at it.

This was the first time that Archer and Jude would actually "play" together, hmmmmm???

And y'all know that Jude is only a few months older than my grandson, right?
Jude is Archer's uncle.
Interesting to say the least.  ;)

Archer is a whirlwind.  He is fast on his feet.  He is confident.  He is so stinking cute!

Jude (for now) is very tentative.  Kinda wobbles when he walks.  He is cautious and careful.  He, too, is so stinking cute!

And off they went!

Fearless Archer followed by shaky Jude.

This may have been Jude's first time going down a slide.

C'mon Dude, I'll wait for you.....

But only for a second.....

Left in the dust again.

It was so much fun watching these two run, climb, and play!

I think Jude had a ball!

I am one blessed Mommy/Mimi!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A day of 'firsts"

Jude had his first clinic appointment with Cleft Lip/Palate team last week Friday.
This is where he sees about five specialists and then they determine the best course of action for him.

The appointment went fine.  He was a trooper.  The doctors, nurses, social worker, and speech pathologist were all wonderful.

The surgeon feels it is best to repair his palate first, then his lip.  I wasn't expecting that recommendation.  Repairing the palate first will give Jude the ability to talk.  As of now, he really can't form any words.  His surgeon doesn't want Jude to fall behind any further than he already has concerning his speech.  We are planning for surgery this month.  Then in about three months he will be re-evaluated by the speech pathologist.  And she will determine if our next course of action.

Jude is trying to talk.  He really is.  I see that he is beginning to get frustrated when we don't understand him.  We have started to learn sign language at our house.  It is really fun, and Jude is responding well to it.  But man, if he can actually begin to talk after his palate repair that would be wonderful!

Our clinic appointment wrapped up around noon.
It is about a two hour drive to get home.
Shea and Avery were so good and patient during Jude's morning of appointments so we thought we would take the kids to the area's local FREE zoo.

Why not?
Another first for Jude.

The afternoon was perfect.
Pleasant temperature.
Good moods all the way around.

The zoo was very nice.  It's small, but has a lot of the animals that kids (and adults) love to see.

We saw.....
A Rhino
A Lion
A Tiger
A Peacock

Then IT happened.
The one thing I knew would eventually happen....
The one thing that I dreaded.
The one thing that I wasn't sure I could handle well or properly or with grace....

While we were exiting  the Primate house....
A boy who was about 9 years old.....
Made a horrifying face....
At my sweet Jude.

My heart stopped.

It was so crowed.
It happened so quickly.
The girls saw what this boy was doing.

I had to say something.

I asked the boy to stop pointing.
I told him that my baby simply had a cleft lip.
No biggie.
And please stop making that face.

And swoosh, we were out of that Primate House.
The boy's face lingered in my mind.....

My husband was waiting for us on a bench.
I told him what happened and what I said.
The end.

I know the boy probably has never seen an un-repaired cleft lip before....but THAT.FACE.HE.MADE.????


Time to go home.

Then IT happened AGAIN.

As we were walking to our car, we passed a group of school kiddos who seemed to be either kindergarteners or first graders.

One little boy came rushing up to the stroller....

He wanted to know if Jude got hurt.
Why was his lip like that?
What was wrong with his lip?
This boy was truly concerned.

My heart softened.....

I told the boy there was nothing wrong with Jude's lip.
I explained that Jude's lip was just different.
He will have surgery to repair his lip.

The boy still seemed confused and concerned.

The boy looked at his teacher and asked her why was Jude's lip different?
The teacher reiterated what I had just said with compassion and love.
She gently put her arm around the boy and told him that Jude is just fine.

The other teacher can right up to Jude and told him he was darling and "oh, so cute".

His teachers were angels!
Truly wonderful.

We continued to walk to our car.
We were all processing what had just occurred.

My Shea, my sweet out spoken matter of fact ain't no body gonna say anything about my baby brother, daughter was so ANGRY!!!

She said with her arms folded across her chest:
Why can't people think before they speak??
This is ridiculous!

She too is cleft affected.
Her lip was repaired while she was in China, but she has had quite a few surgeries to repair her palate and has quite a few surgeries coming up.
When she was younger, kids had asked her why her lip looks different.
She boldly told them why.
However, she is older now.
She is very self-conscious of her lip and nose.
She just wants to blend in and not talk about her 'different' lip and nose.


All three kids fell asleep in the car as we traveled home.

Dave and I talked about what happened.
It does hurt.
I just want to protect my kids.
Jude doesn't have a clue.
Shea and Avery do.

God in His wisdom is teaching us so much through Jude.
Jude is precious.
He is simply perfect.
He is God's amazing child.
He is sweet and gently and happy.

We are all learning FIRST HAND that what God has created IS majestic, wonderful, and perfect.
That appearances are not what makes us who we are.

It is HOW we are....
It is HOW we live our lives.
It is our HEARTS and LOVE for others that define us.

Our family can see beyond Jude's lip.
He is so much more than that little lip.
He is already teaching us so much.

And isn't it interesting that our surgeon will be repairing his palate first?
Here we thought it was going to be his lip.
We wanted his lip to be repaired ASAP.
We thought that would be best for him.

Funny how things work out......

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 11 {consulate appointment}


Today marks the day that all our adoption paperwork is complete!

We went to the American Embassy to submit paper work for Jude's visa.  This allows him to come into the USA!  We also took an oath that all the paperwork we have done and submitted is truthful and honest to the best of our ability and knowledge.   Jude will acquire US citizenship when we land on US soil.....that will be in Chicago!!!  Woot-woot to the Windy City!

Later, we went to Shamian Island for lunch and shopping.

We stopped at the famous Lucy's.  It is still good as ever!
The hamburgers and french fries were amazing!

We shopped at Jenny's and A Gift from a few others local shops.

We bought all the typical things:
Squeaky Shoes (oh, yes I did!)
Traditional Chinese Outfits

We had some coffee and dessert at Starbucks with our wonderful travel group.

Lisa really wanted to take a picture of Jude with the statue kids.....


Shamian Island is such a lovely place.
I really miss spending time here.

Our bus was waiting for us.....pretty nice, huh?

Back to the hotel room.
Jude really needed a nap.

This will be our last night here in Guangzhou.
(so many mixed emotions......I will be writing a blog post about this in the near future.)
We will travel to Hong Kong as soon as our guide, Aron, arrives with Jude's passport and visa.
It will take about three hours by van.

On Thursday morning, we will be boarding our flight to Chicago at 11:40AM!!!  Woo-hoo!!!

I can NOT wait to see my family.  I miss them so much.  I also can not wait for them to meet Jude!!!

It's been an amazing 14 days, but this momma is ready to be home and begin living our new normal.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Jude Is Coming Home ~ Day 10, part 2 {Pearl River Cruise}

This is our third adoption, and my first time going on the "well-known" Pearl River Cruise.  This is something most adoptive parents do sometime during their second week in China.

It was a fun evening.

Here are Jude and Linnea as we wait to board the boat.

Sweet Linnea is the daughter of our friends Dave and Rhonda.  He is our pediatrician.  How cool is that???

Lisa, Jude, and I getting ready to eat.....

The food wasn't too bad at all.

I had noodles and rice and steam buns.....

My friend Lori's husband had this!!!!
For real!

Lisa heard that there was shrimp at the buffet.
She brought some of these back to our table.

And whisker-y things??


After dinner, we went outside on the deck of the boat.

The scenery was very pretty.

And we got to hang out with some of our new friends.

The night ended with a very unique kind of a show.....
A lady juggling balls and knives to songs by Ricky Martin.
She was very energetic and entertaining to watch!

Then she went around the room letting most of the kids spin a ball on their finger.
Jude got a turn!

It was a fun show!
It was a fun night!