she's mine {i still can't believe it}

i spent the evening following this lady around...trying desperately to capture an ounce of her spunk. her savvyness. her clever antics. her silly sweetness. if only it was possible. she is so breathtaking it's hard to even describe her.

she gets cuter and sweeter with each passing moment that i spend with her.

she's growing and learning so fast. sometimes i try and trick her by asking her something new and silly...she always surprises my with her reactions and responses. this girl is a quick study.

tonight at bedtime, i was sitting beside her crib (at eye level with her) and i was singing our usual bedtime song. her big eyes gaze at me...she soaks in every word. so i sing to her about how much she is loved. how beautiful she was created. how thankful i am that she's ours. how much we adore her. and we hold hands. i kiss her toes when she sticks them through the crib rungs. she giggles with delight.

tonight, the foot kisses made her laugh more than usual. so much so that she did one of those full out roaring body laughs...the kind that throw your head back and take your breath away. her laugh made me laugh, which made her laugh all the more.

her laugh is one of my very favorite things. when she came home, she didn't know how to laugh. we would tickle her and she would smile a bit, but no laugh. after a few weeks, she would giggle, but it was silent. and then, one day, it came out...full and deep and loud and giggly...it's the best thing i've ever heard.

she laughed a lot tonight. in her crazy pj's with her great-grandma's pearls dangling around her neck.

she is the most beautiful thing i've ever seen.
i still can't believe she's mine.


emery's speech {our non-verbal world}

there are some things you only notice when someone else makes you aware of them.
last week, i had a moment of awareness.

it was during a conversation with a lady at the park. she was very curious and sweetly asked questions about emery, her story, future surgeries, etc. she marveled at how well emery understood everything that was said to her and even got to see some of the silly miss emery we see all the time. (she doesn't let her guard down around many people. our silly, spunky girl usually plays shy when we are in public).

emery chattered and talked and had a whole conversation with the park lady.
and then the lady said, "so, is she deaf??"
the question rung in the air.

after i recovered for a moment, i told the lady about emery's new lips and how much reconditioning it takes for her to relearn sounds.
(i didn't want to make the lady feel bad, so i didn't even mention her palate surgery and nasal reconstruction and the extreme hard work it takes for a child post surgery to configure her tongue and lips and roof of her mouth to produce the correct sounds. not to mention the fistula (hole) that is naturally still inside her mouth on her gum line which won't be repaired until she is 8 or 10 years old and is bone grafted together. there is a lot more to speech than meets the eye.)

it wasn't the question that stunned me. i have no problem with deafness. in fact, it was one of the needs we were open to when we adopted.
i was stunned by the realization that other people don't understand what she's saying.

to us, it's as if she is speaking, clear as day.
what might sound mumbled is very clearly telling me nearly everything i need to know. it's not her words...it's her expressions, hands, tone, body language, eye contact...and a knowing of her needs that feels verbal even though it isn't.

i'm not saying i understand 100% of what she wants 100% of the time...there are plenty of times i know she is frustrated, but i don't understand why. or times i know she is fuming mad but we can't talk it out because her words don't yet overpower her trigger to scream.

but what we do know? it's astounding to sit and document. last week, she told me that she prefers me to sit by her bed and sing to her, instead of holding her because she likes to hold my hand through the bars of her crib as she falls asleep. every night, she asks me to leave the door open and turn on her fan. she tells me which blanket is her favorite and that she wants to drink out of a straw instead of a sippy cup. she tells me which shoes she wants to wear and which dresses freak her out because she doesn't like the feel of the fabric. she tells me it's time for her bottle, when she's cold, that the wind is blowing her hair or there is a kitty outside the window. she hears an airplane and tells me right away because she wants us to do the "airplane" sound together. she tells me when someone has stolen her toy or when the dog is licking her hands. she tells me when she doesn't want to take another bite, even though i have asked her to. i know when she asks for "help" in a certain way she needs help, but when she asks "help" in another way it's because she wants to be the helper.

she is specific...oh so specific.
and yet, she has only 7 or 8 verbal words that an outsider could understand.

mama, bye-bye, hiya, meow, night-night, gu-gu (chinese for brother), ball, more

(FYI: we work closely with a speech therapist each week and emery knows tons of sign language, but we are working to use sign language minimally so her verbal ability will grow)

all week i've been hearing her sounds, her thoughtful chatter, and hearing that lady's remark in my head.
and i've decided: words are overrated.

maybe her words are just a bit shy like her silliness...they aren't quite ready for the world to experience them...
we get to cherish them just for ourselves for a bit longer.

.99 cent garden planters {& other such things}

i've been hunting for ways to make some fast improvements without buying new things.
while buying new can feel easier, i've been finding that using up and making do is often much more fulfilling.
buying this foreclosure feels a bit like someone somewhere is inventing things to us to fix and spend money on...but this weekend, we made "almost" free our newest vocabulary word.

starting with these...

my husband gives me slack every time i save a glass spaghetti jar, pickle jar, salsa, dip, peanut butter, etc. but i always end up using them for vases or bottling goodies or crafty items. i just can't throw away a jar.
now i've found my newest reason for saving them :)

i've been seeing similar ideas in magazines, but these knock offs couldn't have been easier.
after taking the labels off, i made wire handles, added some rocks (from the $1 store) so rain water can drain, and a discount flat of annuals from home depot (.99 cents for 12!!!)

i'm loving them!

my brother found these free palates for us a few weeks ago when we found out the boys bunk beds wouldn't fit in their new 3rd floor bedroom.

i instantly knew palate beds would look awesome and be a big hit, but the problem with our 3rd floor is it's ultra skinny stairwell. we couldn't even fit a tiny ikea dresser.

insert my husband and the skinny-mini 3rd floor windows.
just when I thought he was strong, he hoists a palate over his head, dead lifts it up a ladder 3 stories high with one arm and fishes it through a 6 inch window opening...and then does it 3 more times. he's mr. incredible living incognito among us. legends are made of this man

thankfully we had 3 helpers to assist mr. incredible during the palate bed construction. :)

(might be one of my favorite photos ever of these three silly ones.)

we have lots of ideas for our little yard. most fall lower on the to do list than other more pressing projects, so i'm improvising and starting with the largest eye sores. this properly wasn't lived in for over a year before we purchased it. let your imagination decide what a yard looks like after a year of being uninhabited. there are creatures and spiders and trash and strange shrubs at every turn.
this shrub saw it's last day yesterday.

i decided a mini garden (and the lopped off ends of our palates) would be a perfect fit.

although my arms feel like they will literally drop off at any moment and the puppy seems to enjoy using the overturned dirt as a toilet, it's a vast improvement from the crazy shrub.

and then there's these...

found at the little antique dealer down the street from our house...listed for $65 but purchased for $10. the owner loved seeing how much emery loved them and marked them down on the spot. they might be my favorite find of all time. perfect for little fingers, especially those of a really cute & tiny tea drinker i know :)

dreamy {with a side of wishful thinking}

so, i'm not a sweepstakes person.
but i just took a gander at this and anything surrounding the nikon d800 perks me right up
i can't help but do a little wishful thinking...
wouldn't it be dreamy??

if you want some wishful thinking too, enter here!!
maybe one of us will win!!


running water & mr. adventure

this boy would spend all day doing this...

from morning until late in the evening, he will run and jump and splash and laugh and doing it all again.
he varrys his beach day by building giant ball tunnel projects with daddy...
they are boys of project. they love a good challenge and anything involving working together.

and they both love giant waves.

we raced on the beach together...our favorite thing. camera in hand, he laughed when waves caught me by surprise and asked me if we can keep running. and running and running.

oh how i adore him.
he's growing up in an instant. tall and brave and smart.
and yet, he runs to me when he gets hurt and sinks deep into my arms when he is dissapointed.
he knows many things, but most of all, he knows he is loved deeply by his creator and it shows as he loves his friends and siblings deeply.
oh how i adore him.


obx beaches {& my full soul}

i'm not quite sure how, but we survived a very long and exhausting weekend of moving, followed by a long week of unpacking. i am now convinced...i'm never, ever, EVER moving again. staying put. planting deep roots. my sanity and life cycle cannot tolerate another move. no way, no how. i'll keep my cute little open floor plan twin house...with my dog going nutso eating everything in sight (grrr, crazy puppy)...in exchange for the thankfulness of being in a place to call our own. a place we can feel time together without transition looming ahead. i walk around our little house feeling vast thankfulness. that, in itself, is worth the exhaustion inducing coma of the past few weeks.

and now, thanks to the awesome generosity of friends, we are in the OBX enjoying a friend filled week of nothing but sun and sand. whew. i've never need a vacation quite so much. in fact, i had no idea just how exhausted i was until i allowed myself to rest.

and this girl?

in LOVE with the sand and water. in LOVE with the tiny clams that burrow. in LOVE with shovels and buckets and chasing big brothers. she is all about OBX.

my soul feels full, knowing the move is behind us. knowing surgery is far away from us. knowing God is pulling our family into Himself after so much transition. seeing my girl's pure joy and having to remind myself where we were a year ago because it feels so far away...make me rejoice to remember we are approaching one year of emery in july. it's glorious to see her so seamless. to watch her silliness and capture those little moments i love so much...the ones i don't ever want to forget. it's in those little moments...when we walk and snuggle and laugh...i treasure her. deeper than i can express. there is something about this tiny one. she's captured me. captured all of us.

and my blog. my poor little lost blog.
it has recently become replaced with instagram snippits.
i had a grand plan to write every evening while at the beach. to edit long overdue photos and catchup on so many blogs that i love to read but haven't found time to peruse in weeks. i had a plan to finally sort and order photos to print and put in books.
yeah, none of those things are going to happen.

if you want to spy on our daily happenings, join us on instagram.
it's the new blog world.


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