Wednesday, August 20, 2008

FOUR ... Fabulous Four!

Guess who turned four today?!?! That's right -- my sweet girl is now four years old!

She's grown up so much in the past year, it's really hard to believe all that she's learned, accomplished, discovered and braved. We celebrated pretty low-key today ... actually, REALLY low key.

Our lives have been topsy-turvy this past month. In a matter of one week, I was offered a position with a great company and accepted it, I resigned from my old position, we got a contract on our house, and we signed a contract with a builder on a new house. Yes, we're building and I hope our marriage survives it (just kidding). Actually, Michael and I are celebrating (again, think low-key) our 20th wedding anniversary today!!

So, in the past month, I've had a yard sale, we closed on our house and are in the midst of packing (we'll have to move into rental property while our new home is being built -- ugghh), the boys started school, my youngest changed districts and schools, and all three boys started their soccer seasons, complete with weekend out-of-town tournaments. My head has been spinning, and I told Michael I just didn't think I could handle another change.

Then lo and behold ... Sawyer got his driver's license.

And totaled my 4-Runner just two weeks later.

Miraculously, he walked away from a really bad accident unscathed with the exception of some burns on his arm and places on the inside of his mouth from the airbags. He most definitely had an angel on his shoulder. I chalk it up to inexperience (and most likely, excessive speed), but he was coming home from work on the interstate, was in the passing lane, and the car to his right veered into his lane. Sawyer over-corrected and hit the concrete barrier. He lost control, skidded across three lanes of interstate traffic (without coming into contact with another vehicle), slid off the road, down into a deep ravine, and into a tree. Truly, God spared his life that night and I thank God he is alive.

Subsequently, I had to get a new vehicle, which I just purchased two weeks ago. Then last Tuesday night, while in the Cracker Barrel parking lot, an older gentleman backed into my passenger door. And I still have temporary tags!! Just a small dent, but I took it for estimates and they're going to have to keep it for a couple of days while repairs are being made.

And I couldn't even be upset with the man that hit me. First, it was an accident. And second, he's 85 years old, meanders up to me, and says, "Well, did you ever see such a thing? I try not to do stupid things, but every once in a while, one will sneak up on me." I felt so badly for him. I kept apologizing to him!"

More info that you wanted to know, I'm sure. I haven't had a minute to think, much less blog, and I guess I'm documenting all of my whoas to try to justify to myself why Oakley didn't get a big birthday bash this year.

She was more than content with a few presents and her immediate family joining her this evening for birthday cake (not even ice cream). She got to wear a birthday crown during preschool this morning and I picked her up early today from school.

She joined me on a visit to Sullivan's elementary school this afternoon. A week or so ago, Sullivan's third grade teacher called and asked me to come and talk to the classroom about our travels to China and how our cultures differ. She is devoting this semester to studying the Olympics and all that it encompasses. She asked me to bring photos and anything we picked up in China that might be of interest (chopsticks, Chinese silks, currency, artwork, etc.) As I was gathering things together last night in preparation, Sullivan asked me if we could bring Oakley. I explained to him that she would miss her naptime and that it probably wasn't a great idea because she would then be grumpy on her birthday.

"But Mom, " he implored. "She's the best thing we got in China!"

You can't really argue with logic like that.

So I picked Oakley up after lunch today and she accompanied me to Sullivan's school. This was such a special visit for us all. I think Oakley felt really special as we talked about her homeland, about what a beautiful country China is, and about how warm her people are. She even taught the class how to say hello and thank you in Mandarin. Sullivan was so proud of her and he beamed throughout my entire presentation. I love talking about China and why we love it so much!!

All of Sullivan's classmates kept wishing Oakley a very Happy Birthday, and she practically waltzed out of the classroom when it was time for us to go.

So after soccer (surprise, surprise) this evening, we all gathered in the dining room and celebrated our little girl. After we sang Happy Birthday and she blew out her candles, she opened her gifts. She loved her Mary Poppins movie, her new pajamas, her Ariel bathtime doll and her new Candyland game.

But she was most excited about opening the gift from her best friend Caeleigh!! It's a precious "O" peg rack, and she absolutely loves it! Thank you, Caeleigh. Oakley loves you and misses you so very much!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Oakley, who thanked me this evening as I was tucking her in, for singing Happy Birthday to her and for getting her a cake with green and pink polka dots.

And thank you to her birth mom, whom I know is dreaming tonight of the baby girl she held in her arms four short years ago. Please know that your precious girl is everything you want her to be -- well-loved, cherished, and so very happy.