Friday, July 31, 2009

I know your excited...another haircut...haha & school shopping

I gave Hillary Ashton the weekend to really think about whether or not she really wanted a haircut (I was thinking she just thought the haircut place looked like fun). She went back and forth and finally decided...haircut. I was hoping for no haircut! It took THREE years for that baby to grow any hair! Three LONG years :o) So we got to the place and she smiled pretty much the entire time she was getting her hair done. When she got done, she seemed to really like it :o) We paid and walked to the car. As she was buckling her seatbelt, tears starting flowing...and then the sobbing. She said she wanted to go back to the haircut place and get her hair back :o( After a few minutes of cuddling, she felt much better and decided that her new hair cut was pretty cool. Thank goodness! It has been a couple days now and she LOVES it!

On the way home, the song "Friend, don't take her she's all I got" came on the radio. Obviously, I don't know the actual name of the song :o) Hillary Ashton told me that was really sad and that the man should just go the store and by some more stuff. Haha!

We are about three week away from KINDERGARTEN!!! AHHHHHH! We are trying to work down our long list of things to do/get before school starts. My favorite item is a trip to Destin next week!!! I can't wait. On a much less exciting note, Hill's new school shoes came in the mail this week. Her foot is pretty wide and we usually have a hard time finding shoes for her, but I discovered ZAPPOS! No trip to the mall with three kiddos to shoe happy mama :o) The school she will attend has a uniform policy. I LOVE shopping for little girls' clothes, but not uniforms! We looked at several stores for uniforms, but they all seemed kinda boyish. Luckily I had some gymbucks so I ordered the basics from Gymboree. They arrived in the mail a couple days ago. I just love the cut of their clothes so much better! Much more girly :o) Hillary Ashton put on quite a fashion show for us :o) She is looking like such a big girl! I am so happy that she is excited about school. She did tons of math and writing worksheets this afternoon "to get ready for kindergarten!"

Next on the While the little girls napped, Hillary Ashton & I went shopping of her school supplies. It sure is a lot of work getting ready for school! You know you go to Wal-Mart way too much when two workers (at separate times) tell Hillary Ashton they like her new haircut and another worker asks where the other girls are. After two stores, we got everything on the list :o) I still can't believe we are shopping for SCHOOL! Now I have to find the time to write her name on EVERY crayon, pencil, colored pencil, marker, etc. Seriously, every individual piece! Ugg! Why don't they just pile everything together? I am so not ready for school! I am so glad Sophie Le has a fall birthday so she won't be starting until she is almost six...yea!!!


Pre-haircut shot...sweet girl has sensitive eyes just like her mama!
So happy to see The Bee Movie was playing!
For some reason she has been fascinated by taxis and Paris lately. The hairstylist asked her if she wanted to sit in one of the car seats or a big girl seat. She quickly answered "big girl seat" and ran straight for the Taxi seat :o) I love this girl and her innocence!
After...with her school supplies!
She know refers to her hair as "my new sassy hair"
A picture is worth a thousand words! This picture sums up so much about the girls' individual personalities. Hillary Ashton is so excitable and ready for anything and Sophie Le is much more cautious and suspicious of things out of the ordinary. They are watching a delivery truck dump the rocks beside the playset.
The girls loved helping us spread out the rocks (notice the dirt all over Le's face!)
Daddy & Sophie Le
My poser!


I can't wait!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A bunch of random pics...

and that's about it :o) It's been a long day, but I didn't want to skip a day blogging!

Most of the pics are of our child that likes the camera the most :o)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Orphan & our home is "open" again!!!

Warner Brothers' new horror movie Orphan proclaims that it must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own. Let me tell you about how an orphan changed my life...

There are two specific former orphans that have obviously impacted our family and changed our lives for the better, Thiet and Fanose.

Thiet - January 2007, Vietnam

Fanose - February 2009, Ethiopia

Each of these sweet baby girls have brought so much joy, laughter, love and awareness to our family. It is easy to live in our comfortable, landscaped side of town in the middle of our privileged country and forget about how other people live their lives everyday.

To no fault of their own and for various reasons, each of these babies found themselves without a family at a very young age. Thiet at birth and Fanose at four months old. Left without a family, most children in Vietnam and Ethiopia will live a very hard, sad life. Young girls in Vietnam are many times forced into prostitution and/or rummaging through dumpsters for their next meals. Pretty much the same story in Ethiopia. Did you know that one in ten children in Ethiopia die before their first birthday? Or that three out of four children in Ethiopia do not have access to clean drinking water?

Thiet was one of more than two million orphans in Vietnam. Fanose was one of more than five million orphans in Ethiopia (all of these ophans in a country only twice the size of Texas!).

Not anymore! Thiet is now our precious daughter, Sophie Le Thiet and Fanose is forever our loving daughter, Julianne Fanose. Two less orphans in the world.

I usually don't like to focus too much on the stats or the fact that orphans need us and that we are called to care for them (Psalms 68:5). I mostly like to focus on my sweet, beautiful daughters and their bows, accessories and funny antics. However, there are times when the former needs to be brought to light.

Orphans are children just like any other child. They like to cuddle, kiss, hug, laugh, argue, whine, play chase, ride their bike, etc. They want to be loved. They want to be in a family. They want attention. Pretty basic needs, huh?

Sophie Le and Julianne have enriched our lives in ways I never knew possible. Because of these two angels, I love deeper. I care more. My eyes have been opened. These babies complete our family...not that I am saying our family is complete yet :o) We believe God made these children for our family just as he made Hillary Ashton for our family. God knew while these babies were still being woven in their birthmother's womb, they were destined to be our daughters.

That is why it is a shame that Warner Brothers made the decision to depict orphans in a negative light. Orphans have all of the odds stacked against them. The last thing they need is a movie shining a bad light on adoption. Adoption is wonderful. Adoption is amazing. Adoption has changed my life. I am honored to be an adoptive mom. There is a need and anyone who answers the call will be blessed beyond measure.

Sophie Le enjoying her little boat!

And I am happy to report that we officially "re-opened" our house today :o) If you remember, we had to send our foster kiddos to another home back in April so Julianne's adoption wouldn't be delayed. We are so excited! We are getting our feet wet tomorrow with a little respite care :o) Baby boy is coming tomorrow afternoon and will stay until Sunday. I am trying to decide how we will blog about our foster care experience this time around. I loved sharing all of the information via the passworded blog before, but I think I will try to find a good balance and share here this time around. For those of you that followed Little Man and Little Lady on our other blog, Little Man's social worker told me that he is suppose to leave foster care this week and be placed with his godmother. I was hoping that if he couldn't be reunified with his mom, he could come back to our family :o( I know God has a plan for this remarkable little guy!

While not technically orphans, I can tell you that these two little kiddos impacted my life in great ways!

Hillary Ashton, Sophie Le, Little Man (our first foster son) and Little Lady (our first foster daughter) - Easter 2009

So, please join me! Tom Davis, a long-time advocate for orphans around the world, has asked people to blog about how orphans have touched your life as a way to help deflect the negative connotations implied in the new movie, Orphan. Hence, the above blog post :o)

Here is what he wrote on his blog:

I want to challenge my readers and friends to write 500 positive blog posts about how an orphan has impacted and changed your life. Post this on your own blog so that when people search for the movie, they are flooded with positive messages about adoption and orphan care.

Just finish this sentence: "Warner Bros. new horror movie Orphan proclaims that it must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own. Let me tell you about how an orphan changed my life..."

This is the heart of defending orphans. Help push back the darkness and deceit here by holding up as an example the powerful love that adoption and orphan care can unleash.

Here's how you can defend the orphan:

1. Write a "positive protest post" on your blog that references the movie, Orphan.
2. Focus on your orphan care or adoption story that is positive, redeeming, and full of love.
3. Link your post here via a trackback or comment.
4. Send out an e-mail, Facebook message, or tweet to get others to do the same on their blogs.

If you don't have a blog, post your store on the Christian Alliance for Orphans Site.

Make sure you link back or comment here so we can keep track of the 500 posts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For my friends not on facebook...

you should be :o) Just kidding...kinda. I posted this picture of the girls a few days ago on facebook and I wanted to share it here too :o) We bought these sweet dresses while we were in Ethiopia. For Gladney families, Sophie Le's dress came from the Gladney store. The items sold at the Gladney store are made by the girls living at the orphanage. We bought each of the girls a dress from that store and a dress from another shop we visited. Have I mentioned how hard it is to get these three girls to look at the the same time? I think I took about a hundred pictures to get this one!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Big sister is FIVE and little sister is ONE!!!

We had so much fun celebrating the girls birthdays! Since we missed Julianne's birthday by a couple days and Hillary Ashton's birthday was a couple days after we got home from Ethiopia, we decided to have a small, family party for both of the girls.

How in the world is Hillary Ashton already FIVE?!?! She's my baby! I wasn't crazy about her turning four, but at least she was still a preschooler. FIVE...that is a little longer a baby! I have been telling her to stop growing for several years now, but it is not working!
Hillary Ashton as a baby! She was such a good, sweet baby! I remember taking this picture, it seems like just yesterday!
Hillary Ashton Arnold
She brings so much joy to our family!
Sweet Julianne...she has been home for less than a month and has already carved her place in the family. I can't imagine our family without her! She has such a precious, loving personality!
Hillary Ashton is a nut for chocolate. She wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing!
Sophie Le was feeling very tempted by the cake :o)
This is Hill with her cousin Ashley...don't you just love her little piggies?
Each of the birthday girls making their signature faces...Hillary Ashton's super cheese and Julianne's nose scrunch.
I think the temptation was too much for Le...look at her lips :o)

Hill blowing our her five candles...with a little help from little sister.
She wasn't very happy about the help
It IS her birthday so she got another blow!
Julianne had no interest in blowing out the candles or in the cake!
Mama tried, but she just wasn't into it!
This picture was taken after she knocked her cake off of her highchair and her cousin Matt caught it!
She traded her cake in for some crackers!
Hill rockin' Beat It with guitar hero

Happy Birthday Hillary Ashton & Julianne!!! We love you sweet girls!

**For those of you that have followed our blog for awhile...yes, we did FIVE small birthday "parties" for Hillary Ashton this year :o) It was hard cramming them in this year, but we did it :o)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lake fun...

Thank you for your support of my dream :o) Neil is leaning towards a suburban, but has been checking out vans on e-bay this afternoon :o) Haha. I have to admit that after reading your comments I got a funny feeling that you guys are saying it wouldn't be crazy now, but once I got it you would make fun of me :o) That's not nice :o) I will keep you all posted on our vehicle hunt :o) I could probably make a couple extra bucks a week by parking outside the arrival terminal at the aiport, so that's a definite plus :o)

This girl LOVES to drive with her daddy
I wasn't sure what Julianne would think about riding on the boat, but she LOVED it! She kept looking at me with a "wow, this is really cool" look. Yea!
Hill just finished swim camp and they gave them all a cap...she thought she was soooo cool :o) I kinda think she is too :o)
This sequence of pictures cracks me up...
"What?!?! You want me to take a picture with Hillary Ashton? No way!"
"What's that, Sophie Le? We get treats for good pictures? Sweet!"
"What's that Hillary Ashton? Mommy gives extra treats for kissing pictures? I'm in!"
"Okay. Now where are the treats?"
These two start smiling when I get my camera out of the bag :o)
I'm not really fond of swimming in the lake...the thought of what I can't see below the water drives me crazy! Seaweed sends me into a panic! I try to spend as much time on the boat taking pictures before I am guilted into the water.
Everybody wants to hold on to "baby Julianne"
This picture is from last week...pre-haircut.
This picture is from yesterday...with her new summer do :o)
It is a lot of work getting three kids to look at the same time!
This one likes to drive too.
I can't believe we have been a family for a whole month already! What a sweetie!