happy 11 months

today my baby girl is 11 months old
perhaps by her 13th month, i'll look back and wonder what all this fretting was about.
i'll lean over and kiss her chubby cheeks and give her a squeeze as we head to the park in a frantic rush of peanut butter and jelly, sticky juice cups, sand toys and an array of random stuff thrown in my bag, sure to squash my lingering sunglasses and melty granola bars.
i'll try hard to remember being without her...but the pain i've felt for so many months will be no more.
the void of a child missing will be filled with God's providence.
all of the perfectly folded leggings and tiny mary jane shoes will be scattered and lovely and muddy.

praise the lord for friends who don't mind redundancy. my dear friends came over this morning and we sat (yes, 3 moms sat for over 2 hours - it was a miracle of grand proportion) while the kids played endlessly with an array of bikes and sporting goods and water. oh and recycling bottles. thank the Lord for water and bottles. and we talked of life and school and things. faithful friends who have heard my irritation and laborious stories of waiting many times over. they know the answer before they ask. but they ask. care. seek on her behalf. they will rejoice and call out praises when at long last emery will be one of the tykes biking and watering and ball throwing. oh at long last.

sometimes it feels like life can't start without my little 11 month old emery. but i find something so amazing, even on really stressful days. the hope that God IS caring for us. for her. i don't hope that he "will" because He IS. currently. each day. there's no need to stress about the "will" because the IS takes care of it. amazing. He IS.
thank you Jesus for the way you grafted her together...for exactly who you  made us to be and exactly the way you made her. we are meant to love each other and each day that passes i am grateful to be one day closer, even one hour.


a few favorites from a recent photoshoot.
those buds had the hope of warmth in every petal. made me want to bottle up their promises of spring.
and mr. horse? so photogenic...he kept nuzzling in for a few more frames. made me want to cuddle up and go all "The Black Stallion" on the beach...i even went home and let the boys watch my childhood favorite film, to which they were totally mesmerized! thank you netflix instant play :)

absolutely no time to edit cute easter photos from our day of zillions of eggs and corn hole games and family batting practice and bikes and hoops and laughter. our lovely after-giant-feast-and-all-afternoon-outside deck gathering, fit with with glasses of wine spritzers and the miraculous sounds of my brother's guitar was chased away by a freak rain storm that threw us inside to feel the exhaustion of our beautiful day. as i type, a cool spring breeze blows past my laptop, urging me to get some rest so i can conquer the morning light and get to the gym for the first time in almost 2 weeks. yikes. my jeans are feeling it.
after our lovely day, all i can think of is this...clearly the best easter photo of all time :)


what a day can bring

the morning. 
we've been feeling crummy around these parts with a wave of sickness moving through our house. but, as a bright point, it's kept us home and grounded, which is always a blessing during a time of life that feels like it's pulling me so fast in so many ways...i need and love a reason to step out of the pull.

we dug in the garden for worms to feed the chickens. who slurped them quickly like spaghetti.
we laughed at their tenacity and michael jordan leaps in mid air to be the first to play worm hoops with their beaks. i tried not to grimace as a felt bad for the sweet earth worms, one of our favorite earth dwellers. even the boys put back the baby earth worms because they, too, feel our love for these slimy buggers.
our pj's and shoes were especially muddy.
it was just the way i love mornings to be.
we rode bikes and had snacks and a picnic lunch filled with the randomness i found in the refrigerator.
oh and coffee. life needs coffee. light beige with french vanilla coffee mate, please.

we did lots of bike repair, which eventually led to random parts falling off and my inability to figure out how to reassemble brake lines. thankfully foster figured it out :)

i left my cell inside and let the morning pass at it's own pace.

i left my lawn chair long enough to refil my coffee when i caught a glace at my missed calls. 3 from my hubby. as i reached to call him back, he was calling again.

in a flash, we were in the car and gone for the rest of the afternoon. so fast in fact, rowan was still wearing his bike helmet.
our afternoon was this:

at a red light, my husband's truck (which we have been trying to sell) was rear ended by a large box truck. so hard, in fact, that it jolted his airbags open and pushed his huge truck into a lexus. (of course, it had to be a lexus, right?)
uhg. the truck is sure to be totalled. even just replacing the airbags will chock up the total dangerously close to it's 1996 dodge ram value.
i have a feeling it will end up being a blessing. an annoying, frustrating, whip lash trip to the er, blessing. perhaps the truck would have taken months to sell, or even longer. maybe this is one of God's ways to look out for the well being of our family. in fact, now i know why we didn't buy a car last weekend. because a small, compact, great on gas car would have been really REALLY smashed. clint would have also been really REALLY smashed. praise God He allowed clint to be in his truck.

on the adoption front, i continually feel myself being stretched and taught. it's the most humbling expirience of my life. this precious being who my heart aches for...she's been God's channel for so much change and growth in my life and in our family. my children see the world differently already. they show more compassion. they have a money jar in their room. they call it the clean water jar. they are saving every coin they find to be able to build a well for kids who drink dirty water. they talk about gifts they will bring to sister when she's in surgery.  foster wonders what her favorite color will be. rowan wants to feed her cheese curls. they both want to hold her and talk about how strong they are and how little she will be. several times foster has sat and cried because he misses her. his heart feels heavy for his dear sister. and every single night, we say i love you in chinese. "wo ai ni mommy!" "wo ai ni foster!" "wo ai ni rowan!" "wo ai ni emery!"
it's like the chinese adoption verson of the waltons :) and it's so adorable. melts me everytime.



me vrs. the jedi

we have a situation. the ladies and their jedi made an escape to the garden, where my mom's newly planted seeds reside.

caution: video contains a very angry rooster and me screaming...a LOT


3 hens and a jedi

we entered into some sort of far off chicken galaxy this past weekend. upon apprehending our neighbor's death star, er uh, chicken coop, as well as it's inhabitants, we've had to renew our princess leia hair buns and go head to head with one particular foe. apparently no one ever taught our new rooster how to play nice when his coop comes under new ownership. in fact, even a sideways glance sends him into a full out jedi spin move that would make luke skywalker donn his trusty light saber in a flash.  mr. jedi rooster is quite determined to show us just how much he dislikes our presence in his zone. our 3 quiet hens are his loyal ladies, who herd and scurry and flutter around him. they seem unfazed by his rude and startling aggression. perhaps they are drawn to his turn to the dark side in a darth vadar kind of way. i guess that's how these chicks roll.

 (fyi: this crazy rooster wasn't being kicked. i know it looks like it b/c of these pics...but my dad was actually holding his foot still and up in the air. the rooster did all of this craziness at an unmoving object. after a few questions regarding the rooster getting "kicked" i felt i needed to clarify. no kicking necessary. this bird is wackado all on his own :)


there's a reason black and white photography was invented...

it was invented for days like today. to save us from an impending color clash overload and clothing pattern mayhem...
when little boys choose their own attire.

and somehow crazy clothes days always lead to lots of laughter. they make me more carefree. i let loose and do a crazy dance across the yard as i chase one of two giggling little guys. we tackle and tickle and chase again. we flew our kite higher than i even thought it would go. we chased golf balls that daddy hit 4 acres away. we practiced our basketball dribbling and shot making and trick shooting late into the evening. we rode bikes and pretended to have an ice cream shop with a bike wielding delivery service until the night sky made us realize how late it actually was. sometimes life is better when things are a little out of the ordinary. i love it that way :)


soul warmth

a large convergence of us descended on the gardens today.
13 + at least 20 little scamper-ers
i love the trail of strollers and stragglers. runners and roamers.
we string out and the early lunchers split off. we cross paths with the late lunchers and weave in an out of a beautiful array of smiles.

it was one of those days that begs for photos.
photos that will try, but never quite capture the beauty of the surrounding women and their precious ones.
the scampering herds of little ones who share lunches and strollers and laughs and wrestling moves and dreams

who discuss their future wedding plans in minute detail. we're talking cake design and isle walking techniques.

 today they picked a picturesque castle tree house for their nuptials.

can you tell they all love each other? really and truly love each other.

it's wonderful to have kids who can play together merrily without toys.
that's the measure of a true friend, in my opinion.
life is all the entertainment necessary.
well, life, and an orange football :)

it was one of those days filled with playful banter, heartfelt love and life warming friendships

the kind of friends that you will push your kids to skip naps just for a few more moments of time together
the kind of friends that live life with you...right along side.
warmth fills my soul when these girls are about.


family portrait in blue

foster, rowan & emery on a sunny day. by foster

oh how i adore love.
i love how adored she is.
i love walking into a room and finding our new family...sitting right there on the white board.
sometimes i have a moment when i forget. i get consumed with all of the rest of life, and forget how close we are...how close to packing, flying, meeting, kissing, snuggling. how close to our grand homecoming we actually are.
and then i walk in and see our family on the white board
and i adore love and how adored she is. 


carousel of terror

i'm sitting here thumbing through a few shots from our past week (while i'm supposed to be folding laundry :) and i found this priceless moment from the carousel at the please touch museum. i laughed out loud, nearly waking the sleeping beings in the room next door. it's so rowan to giggle with excitement for a half hour at the thought of getting to go on the carousel, and then collapsing into a horseback riding ball of terror when we actually get on. by the end he was laughing and talked the rest of the day about his spinning horse...but seriously, his hysteria is somehow so endearingly adorable! i swear his horse is doing a double take :)

afternoon with granny

as we drove to lancaster today, my granny was in rare form. i sat there, listening to her teaching old hymns to the boys in the backseat, kicking myself for not having a video camera, or something to capture her precious words. i so want a flip video! it would have been perfect. 20 min into the sing along, i remembered my phone camera. i've been trying to catch her during her moments of excitement. so often she sits and has no idea what's going on around her. conversations pass her by. but then an old song, or memory comes back to her and she'll dance and giggle, and remember years long ago. all of the sudden, we are realizing the granny we have always known isn't coming back. i think we all keep expecting her to be who she was and it's continually surprising when she isn't. it seems like her mind is reverting back to being a little girl again. she loves to sing sunday school songs and bought 2 baby dolls to keep on her bed. she loves to look at the boys' little toy trains and cars and talks endlessly about her childhood. the brain changes and goes back to the beginning and can't find it's way back to the present. i'm so thankful we get to share in this part of her life!


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