Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two Years Ago Today, I Met My Daughter

Two short years ago, I met my daughter in a Civil Affairs office in Fuzhou, China.

My daughter.

On this day, I celebrate her and her loving, generous, sweet, sweet spirit. There are so many reasons to love this girl -- here are just a few.
  • She sings ALL the time -- everything from Jesus Loves Me to The Killers' Indie Rock & Roll (seriously, word-for-word)

  • When I pick her up from school and ask about her day, I get a detailed account - every friend she played with, every snack consumed, every song sung and every art project completed

  • I get LOTS of artwork - a new work each and every day. And she always puts her name, my name, and Mom on it, lest I get confused for whom she created her masterpiece

  • She was relentless in learning how to snap her fingers and now snaps better than any of her brothers

  • She still tells me daily that she missed me when she was in China

  • She completed a Mother's Day questionnaire at school and told her teacher and all her classmates that I'm 22:)!

  • She asks me every night to carry her like a baby when it's time for bed

  • She loves to have her toenails painted, preferably with a pink flower on her big toe

  • She often completes my sentences for me

  • She's mine
Happy Gotcha Day, Oakley!!

I love you to the moon and back my sweet girl.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day and Mayfest

Yesterday I awoke to the sound of sweet voices wishing me a Happy Mother's Day. I ventured downstairs to find a BEAUTIFUL hand-rubbed teak bench in our foyer (thank you Michael - I LOVE IT). It was a complete surprise, although he knows I've wanted one since we moved in. I've been searching for one for a while, but hadn't found the perfect fit. He did.

On the bench was a display of some very special handmade cards. Sullivan's actually brought me to tears as he declared me "The Best Mom Ever" for the following reasons:
  • You make the best chocolate chip cookies
  • You take me to the zoo
  • You take me to the pool
  • You stay home with me when I'm sick
  • You love Easter and Christmas
  • You love and care for me
How sweet is that?!?

In the afternoon, while Michael worked in the yard and the boys played outside, Oakley and I attended Mayfest -- a local arts festival in a historic park and on the campus of one of our universities. It's a beautiful setting and the weather was perfect.

She got her face painted, and together we danced the Maypole and snacked on kettle corn amidst artists, fountains, flowers, strolling performers and gypsy dancers.

They even had a small petting zoo this year and Oakley loved feeding the sheep, although she was more than ready to wash the slobber off when she was finished.

She kept saying, "This is so much fun, Mommy. Just me and you and you and me."

It was a perfect day in every way. Happy Mother's Day to you all!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Garden Girl Rock Star

Oakley and I stayed home the Monday after Easter. She complained of a sore throat and told me she "might not feel good, and that she might need to stay home".

We spent the day in our pajamas -- coloring, reading, and watching movies. At one point she went up to her room to get her baby doll and came back down like this.

"Look, Mommy! I'm a garden girl rock star!" she exclaimed happily.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Highlights

He is risen!! And what a glorious day we had celebrating with family and friends. Sullivan actually set his alarm and woke us up at 7am. After a little convincing, he agreed to go back to bed until 7:30. At 7:30am on the dot, he rallied his siblings and they bounded down the steps to see what the Easter Bunny had left them. Well, some of them bounded down. Sawyer actually dragged himself up the steps, but he was a good sport about rising early.

Mike's Dad is in the hospital recovering from hip surgery, so he took the boys to visit him early in the day and Oakley and I stayed home. We watched Mary Poppins and prepared food for an early evening cookout. Oakley LOVES to help out in the kitchen! We made an Asian Salad, a salad with Mandarin Oranges and Carmelized Almonds, a Strawberry-Pretzel Salad (more like a dessert), Broccoli Casserole and Corn Pudding. When coupled with the steaks we grilled (not your traditional Easter fare), we had ourselves a little feast!

Nicole and her family joined us mid-afternoon for an egg hunt (several hunts, actually) and the boys spent the afternoon playing frisbee and flying kites. We LOVE their beautiful girls (and Mom and Dad) and I'm so glad we got to spend some time with them yesterday.

Some of my family joined us later for the cookout -- the first of many we hope to host in our new home. We spent the evening watching The Masters, catching up with family and friends, and enjoying the day together.

Life is good!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Typical Kentucky Spring

Today it snowed. SNOWED?!?! We awoke to freezing temperatures, great big flakes, and the ground blanketed in white powder. It's April 7 .... just a typical Kentucky spring. My Mom has always told me never, never, never put out plants prior to Derby Day. And she's right, although I do recall a white Derby in my past, too. It may be 70 degrees one day and 20 degrees the next. And although those 70 degree days tempt us into believing it's spring, we all know better.

Not that we don't take advantage of those warm days!! Last week the kids were out of school on Spring Break and Wednesday was beautiful. I took the day off and before I even woke up, Sullivan had already researched the forecast, printed it off the computer, and had it waiting for me on the kitchen counter. Sunny skies, warm temps ... a perfect day for the zoo.

So Hagan, Sullivan, Oakley and I loaded up and headed north toward the Cincinnati Zoo. We tried to coax Sawyer out of bed to go with us, but he chose to sleep in.

We were pleasantly surprised to find no crowds and because it was such a nice day, most of the animals were really active - ready to welcome the warmer days.

The gardens were beautiful, and the tulips, my very favorite flower, were in full bloom.

The boys were a little disappointed that some of the animals hadn't been moved yet to their outdoor habitats because the weather was still a little cool for them. We'd much rather see the monkeys hanging from trees than behind glass cages. I understand the importance of zoos but it's always been a little depressing for me too.

We spent the longest time at the Gorilla exhibit. They are SO AMAZING to me. Last year we were enthralled with the Momma Gorilla and her new baby, but this year, it was this large male that drew us in. He stood up and walked around like a man ... for a long time. Incredible!

Regardless, we all had a great time and it was the highlight of our week!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

Look who's back!! Will wonders never cease .....

It's been so long since I posted that I don't even know where to begin. I'd like to say that I'll catch up on the past several months (which would be really helpful to me when I scrapbook my photos), but I seriously doubt that will happen.

We're doing great, but have just been really busy. Starting a new job and simultaneously building a house can be all-consuming and I just haven't had the energy to devote to my blog. But hopefully, we'll be settled in our new home sometime next month, and I'm going to do my best to post more often.

So I'll start off the New Year with an Oakley story! Last weekend the family went out to dinner, and Oakley, in her true fashion, sang all the way there and all the way through dinner. Seriously, she may someday be an Idol contender. She sings ALL THE TIME and we've pretty much learned to tune it out and carry on a conversation despite her melodic voice. But this night, something caught our ears and we all stopped mid-conversation.

Here's her rendition of Old McDonald Had a Farm .....

"Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a -- Please press an animal to continue singing -- PIG!! E-I-E-I-O."

What?!?! Please press an animal to continue singing? Sullivan just shook his head in dismay.

"She thinks that's part of the song," he said. "We need to take the V-Tech away."