Monday, August 31, 2009

Pedicures, More Walking & Baby G's Special Day

Hillary Ashton got a new bottle of pink nail polish and happily painted all of the girls' nails and toes...Daddy was offered, but he declined. She did a great job! She has improved sooo much since she last painted Sophie Le's toes...haha! I am actually glad to know she can paint toes so well...that will save me lots of time :o)

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Yesterday, we went to McDonalds for Baby G's special day lunch. The girls had so much fun! I felt a few eyes studying our family :o) I guess we do have a wide range of little ones :o) I wouldn't have it any other way!
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This little sweetie is just about ready to start walking full-time. I can't believe it!
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I think I may be changing her name from "Sweet Sophie Le" to "Sassy Sophie Le!"
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Here's little mommy!
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This one may quite possibly be the world's best baby!
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Hope you had a fun day Baby G!
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Last night, Hillary Ashton came to "big church" with us. Honestly, she was not thrilled with the decision :o) She loves church, but not "big church." She did a great job sitting quitely beside me coloring a sheet. However, I didn't think she was paying attention to Pastor Gary which is fine because sitting still in church is really all we are going for at this point. Anways, we have been studying the book of Hebrews on Sunday nights for awhile and at one point the pastor said something like "for those of you that are new to our study of Hebrews..." Hillary Ashton perked up and said, "hey, that's me! I'm new to this study!" Haha! At another point he was talking about an artist and she said, "is he talking about me? I'm an artist." Haha!

We had an incident today and I am afraid I may have to start homeschooling Hillary Ashton. She told me a boy kept trying to kiss her at school today! Oh no! Luckily she thought it was "soooo gross!" That's my girl :o)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

These are the Days...

The girls are at such fun ages! I wish I could freeze time! We had a great day today. We played outside, went to a birthday party, played outside some more and finished the day with ice-cream with friends (Thanks Feller Family) :o) What a perfect day!

Sophie Le
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Hillary Ashton
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I just cannot get enough of this sweet little face!
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All my girls!
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In Hillary Ashton's world, there is nothing better than catching a frog :o)
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I need some advise! Hill & I have tried in vain to catch lizards over the last couple months...they are just so darn FAST! Any tips?
Getting ready to release today's frog into the creek :o)
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There he goes!
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Daddy and all his girls :o) What a good daddy!
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Right after I took the picture above, sweet Daddy was stung by one of these little monsters! Mean ole' bug! It's called a cow-killer ant...waaaay bigger than a regular ant.

If Hillary Ashton has a spare minute in the day, she is drawing. She could literally draw and color all day! Her new thing is to have Daddy scan her pictures so she can see them on the computer :o) Oh the life of a child born in the 2000s! Since I don't really have much use for them once they are on the computer, I have decided to start sharing them with you :o) For your viewing pleasure, here is Sleeping Beauty and her castle (complete with stairs...haha!).
Hannah's Birthday Card
Tomorrow will be Baby G's first day at church. I pray she does okay when we drop her off! If my trip out to the driveway without her this afternoon is any indication of what tomorrow holds, we are in trouble!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our Crawling Days are Numbered & Baby G's Doctor Visit...

Julianne's balance is getting better everyday and I am afraid my baby will be walking full-time before we know it! I am all for babies learning to walk, but once they do...they want to do it all of the time! It definitely cuts down on my cuddle time. The trade off is the expression on Julianne's face when she takes steps...it so sweet!!! She is so proud when she walks :o)

I love, love, love this little face!
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The doctor's visit this morning took FOREVER! Our appointment was at 9:15 and we got there 15 minutes early. We didn't get called back until 11:30!!! That is ridiculous!! Once we got to the little room, it didn't get much better. Baby G was waaaaaaaay behind on her shots :o( She had to get seven shots (four pokes) and blood drawn :o( I felt so bad for her. To say she was ready to get the heck out of the doctor's office is an understatement!

It was so fascinating to watch Baby G in the waiting room this morning (maybe not fascinating for the entire 2 1/2 hours...haha). When we first got to the waiting room, she really enjoyed playing with the toys. After she got bored with that, she started walking around looking at people. I wondered if she thought her parents might be there. I have NO IDEA what is going on in that sweet little head. Several times, she climbed up into an empty chair next to a mom and put her little hand on their shoulder and smiled. I am not sure if these ladies looked like her mom or if she was just being friendly or if she was shopping for a new caregiver. I haven't known her long enough to know her personality. Luckily, when I picked her up and brought her back to "our area" to play, she was content to return with me :o) I will admit, I was really nervous to pick her up the first time. I totally envisioned a huge fit...luckily she didn't sense my fear...haha! It is a crazy feeling not knowing how "your child" will react in certain situations. It truly amazes me that the foster kids we have had are so accepting of their new situation. I am trying to figure out what she likes to do, what foods she likes, how she likes to be comforted, etc. Another thing that has surprised me is how the kids choose to call us mama and dada....ON THEIR OWN and usually within a few hours of meeting us. I never tell them to call me mama...I always have thought that would be too confusing to them. It seems like the term "mama" is just assigned to the person taking care of them, not just to their actual mom. It makes me think that maybe they haven't had one consistent mom...maybe many different people taking care of them, like aunts, grandmas, neighbors. Mama is probably just an easy word they assign to a caregiver. It really makes me sad that they don't understand the word mama like most kids do.

Anyways, here is baby G with all of her boo-boos from this morning...poor baby!! I was so relieved she didn't seem to blame me for the shots :o)
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Remember the passenger van I posted a month or so ago? Well that baby would have come in VERY handy today...we got a call about an infant baby needing a home. Unfortunately, my suv won't hold anymore kids, will yours? Hint, Hint :o) If you live in Arkansas, check out this website :o)

On a different note, I am sooooooooooo excited that tomorrow is not a school day!!! I really thought that once I graduated college, my excitement over "no school days" were over :o) I have a whole new perspective now :o)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pants, Playing Outside & Day Two with Baby G!

Each night before the girls go to bed, I pick out their clothes for the next day. Hillary Ashton's outfits have been pretty easy lately since she wears uniforms. Tonight for her outfit, I picked out a pair of khaki pants from Gymboree, a light blue polo shirt and a pink sparkle belt (hope those are allowed...lol). When I showed her the outfit, she looked at me like I was crazy. She said, "Mom! I'm not wearing pants to school!" Goodness, when did pants become soooo horrible?!? She said, "Mama, you know I only like to wear jumpers !" Wow, I didn't realize I was so out of touch...haha!

Here are a couple pics of the older girls playing outside after supper tonight:

This little face just melts my heart!
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So does this one!
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I was so proud of Sophie Le tonight...she went down the slide all by herself...many times :o) She usually will only go down if we catch her at the bottom. My baby is growing up!
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Baby G LOVED playing outside. She was NOT a happy camper when we told her it was time to come in :o)
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Foster Care update: Baby G slept GREAT last night :o) She is a real sweetheart and has been pretty easy so far. It just breaks my heart that she doesn't seem to miss anyone and seems very content with her new surroundings. She went to daycare today (I work a couple days a week at our church) and they said she had a good day. Neil went to pick her up this afternoon and he said that she smiled and ran toward him when he walked in :o) Baby G is going to the same place we took Little Lady and Little Man for daycare. Hillary Ashton & Sophie Le have it in their little heads that Little Lady and Little Man went to live at this place after they left our house. They each make comments several times a week about wanting to stop at this place to go visit Little Lady and Little Man. This morning when we pulled into the parking lot to drop off Baby G, Sophie Le begged me to take her in to see Little Man :o( They both miss Little Man so much...so do I! That is probably one of the hardest things about foster care...when the kids leave your house...you don't get to see them anymore. I am taking Baby G to the hospital in the morning for required testing. Please pray things go well. It is one thing to take your own child for testing, but it is another to take a child you've only know for a couple days that hasn't learned to trust you yet. I just can't imagine what goes through these little kid's minds!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A New Kindergarten, Peeping Julianne and A New Baby Girl...

Hillary Ashton had her second "first" day of Kindergarten last Friday. I am so happy to report...she LOVES her new school. We liked the old school, but the new one just works out better for our family. She was bouncing off the walls her first day. She was really excited about starting the new school because her "best friends" go to the new school. The only problem is that my baby is in school ALL day :o( It seems like an eternity waiting on 3:00 each afternoon! I almost couldn't believe my ears when I picked her up from school the first day. Her teacher told me that Hillary Ashton CRIED! Can you believe it? I was shocked! Since she is in school all day, they have a nap time. Hillary Ashton hasn't had a "nap time" in years. Apparently there were two issues...mama didn't send her a pillow and blanket (only a nap mat with cover) and she couldn't take off her shoes. The first problem was easily fixed...I made her a brand new pillow and blanket. I wasn't sure we would be able to solve the next problem. There is a rule in the class that you can't take off your shoes during nap time unless you can tie a shoe. It doesn't matter if your shoe has strings or not, you have to be able to tie to take off your shoes. Man, the life of a kindergartner! When she came home Friday afternoon, she was determined to learn to tie her shoes :o) And I am happy to report, she passed the test Monday and can now take off her shoes during nap time ;o) We went to parent's night this week and I was so proud of the little shoe cutout hanging by her name.

Hillary Ashton on her first day at the new school...
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We have had two other "issues" this week. After school Monday, she pulled down her bottom lip and said, "Look Mama, I have vampire teeth!" She said a little boy at her table told her that. Apparently the little boy delivered the news in a very positive way because Hillary Ashton was very proud :o) Haha! I am not sure if either of them even know what a vampire is :o)

Yesterday when she came home, she told me that a little boy on the playground pushed her down (AGGGGG!!!) and continued to push her down when she tried to get up (AGGGG!!!). She told me that her little friend tried to help her by telling the teacher :o) Hillary Ashton wasn't sure if the teacher said anything to the boy. I told her to be sure and stay away from this kid and her daddy told her to try some "Kung Fu Panda" on him :o) So today when I picked her up, I asked her if the boy bothered her today. She said, that she was standing under a shade tree and he walked over to her and said, "I'm sorry for pushing you down yesterday." I am not sure if a teacher told him to apologize or if he did it on his own. Anyways, I asked her what she said to him and she said, "I told him "shade tree." I said, "that was a funny reply." And she said, "oh, I guess I should have said you're welcome." Hummm... I asked her what else she could have said and she thought for a minute and said "I should have said I forgive you, but you better not do it again." Haha!

Julianne...she took 15 steps last night. Her feet haven't touched the floor much today :o) Haha! Since moving to our new house, we spend a lot of time outside. When Julianne wakes up from her afternoon nap, she lets us know by peeking out and waving to us! It is so funny! I finally remembered to take a pic!
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And some more big news :o) A sweet little one year old (she will be two very soon) girl was placed in our home tonight (foster care). She is a cutie pie! She likes to run around and squeal...she fits right in :o) I am praying she sleeps through the night :o)
Here's baby G...
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Sophie Le's adoption was "Meant to Be"



Adoption & Orphancare. There aren't many more words that make me as happy as these two :o) Btw, Orphancare, International is an AWESOME program through Sophie Le's adoption agency that "serves thousands of at risk children each year. . . children living in orphanages, on the street, impoverished families and children living in foster care." Around the time we received Sophie Le's referral in 2007, we stated sponsoring a sweet little girl from her orphanage in Ninh Thuan, Vietnam through this program. We were so blessed to be able to meet the little girl when we picked up Le Le. We asked about adopting her, but she was not available for adoption. That is the "problem" with the orphan crisis. There are 143 million orphans in the world, but most of them are not legally available for adoption. The result is millions and millions of orphans without any hope of a forever family that still need shelter and food. Where does money for that come from? Organizations like OrphanCare :o) Anyways...where was I?

Several months ago, a fellow adoptive mom sent me an email and told me about this AWESOME book that she was putting together with another Dillon mom. The book is filled with inspiring stories of international adoption. Stories of families overcoming great odds and/or obstacles that lead them straight to the child God hand-picked for their family. This will come at no surprise to you, but I think adoption is an wonderful way to build a family :o) I just love hearing about how God's hand print is all over stories of adoption. I have been so amazed at how perfect God's plan has been for our family. I cannot imagine our family without Sophie Le or Julianne. I firmly believe these two little girls were destined to be a part of our family just as Hillary Ashton was meant for our family. God knew before they were even conceived that they would be available for adoption. God knew before Neil or I filled out one piece of paperwork that little Thiet and Fanose would be our daughters. So amazing! I could have never imagined (even five years ago) that our family would include two beautiful daughters from from the other side of the world. Although I always wished to adopt internationally, I just didn't think WE could do it...and WE couldn't...but HE could....that is the cool thing about the King we serve. My wildest dreams wouldn't be as good as HIS plans :o) His plans are ALWAYS so much better than we could EVER imagine!

So as wonderful as the book idea was, these two compassionate women decided to donate ALL of the profits of the book to Orphancare, International! I can't tell you how full my heart was when I found out about this wonderful venture! International adoption AND helping orphans...seriously, could there BE a more perfect project?

So, the two ladies that edited the book are so interesting they could have written a whole book about their stories alone! Dianna has two beautiful bio daughters and adopted a precious little girl from Vietnam named Phoebe. Meredith, who is one of the most resilient women I have ever "met." Meredith (along with her hubby) were in the process to adopt a baby girl from Vietnam for over two years. For reasons completely out of their control, they lost the referral of not one, but TWO babies girls from Vietnam. Both of the babies were from Sophie Le's orphanage so the tragic stories really hit close to home. Each of these ladies stories, along with 16 other families (including ours) are included in the book, Meant To Be.

So if you like stories about adoption and you want to help orphans from around the world (including Ethiopia and Vietnam)attend school and not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from...then order this book!!! I just got mine in the mail last week and I am enjoying it so much and I think you will too :o)

Of course, my two big girls were SUPER excited to see their picture in the book...haha! Btw, we were in process for Julianne when the book was edited so her story is not included...maybe in the sequel :o)

And just because...
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

A few more of my beach babies...

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It's Gymboree "Circle of Friends" Time...

When you combine the "Circle of Friends" discount with Gymbuck time, you can't lose :o) Use code "Gymclub" to receive 30% off your order AND earn $25 gymbucks for every $50 you spend...AND free shipping with a $100 purchase! The stars have alligned...haha! Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Searching for Dolphins and finding much more!

While in Florida, we took a dolphin cruise in the Gulf of Mexico.

Waiting to board...
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Le Le passing the time reading a tourist magazine...
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Our family...
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Julianne has been "teething" for a couple weeks. She wants to put everything in her mouth, her nose runs, loose poopies (is that TMI?), a little cranky...all of the symptoms...the only problem...there is no sign of any teeth coming through. Hummm... On this particular afternoon, she was heavy on the cranky :o) BUT, she sure looked beautiful!
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We just loved the marina area!! Right up our alley. So cool! There was a storm moving in so the temperature was PERFECT!
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Getting three girls to all smile at the camera has proven to be a very tough job...but I am up for it! I will persevere :o) For every one picture I post here, I take probably 50 to 60 more :o) Lately in group pics, Sophie Le has been my toughest subjects.
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When the boat pulled out, a loud horn blew. I couldn't get my camera out quick enough to get both girls with their fingers in their ears, but my Le Le is cautious and waited to make sure there wouldn't be another horn.
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There is a little island right off of the mainland that appeared to be a hotspot. There were lots of people swimming. Next time we go to Destin, we want to rent a boat and check out the island...I think it may be called Crab Island...anyone know?
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I am telling you, this is one of my happy places :o) Another one happens to be in Vietnam. The town Sophie Le is from is BEAUTIFUL!!! It is right on the South China Sea and there are mountains everywhere. I can't wait to go back one day!
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This is one of my favorite pics of Julianne. I know I'm her mama, but isn't she breathtaking?
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This guy is the first mate on the boat. He has lived in Destin since he was born...86 years ago. He told us about living there as a child. The only source of groceries was a ship that came to Destin once a week. Things sure have changed in his lifetime! I just love listening to him!
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Hillary Ashton saw this boat and was shocked someone stole our boat...haha!
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Two of my cuties!
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Dolphins ain't got nothing on the snack bag!
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This rock wall reminded me our the rock wall we have in front of our house...without the water :o)
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I think Daddy was a little jealous that he didn't get to drive the boat!
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As soon as we deboarded the boat, it started POURING. We all got drenched...it may be one of my favorite memories of the trip :o)

We decided to go back the next day to walk around the marina some more. We saw lots of very "interesting" things.
Exhibit 1...shark!
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I'm telling you, this girl may grow up to be a model...or at least a girl that has a millon pictures of her childhood. She loves to work the camera :o)
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Me and my three girls :o)Julianne went to sleep right after this pic...sweet baby!
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Even Hill Ash didn't want to have her pic made in front of this! Ewwww!
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A pelican!
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Oh, by the way...didn't see many dolphins. We saw a couple of their behinds splash back into water...nothing too exciting...oh well, still had fun :o)

Two little funnies from Hillary Ashton this week:

Each night before bed, we read the girls a bible story. For the last few days, Hillary Ashton has wanted to read the story to us. She is in kindergarten, you know! Haha! I really LOVE when she reads to us :o) Well last night, she was reading about the angel visiting Mary and telling her that she was going to have a baby. Hillary Ashton said, "Mary, you will have a baby boy and you need to name him Jesus. I want you to know that it is okay you are not married. That is why your name is Mary because one day you will be mary to Joseph."

While Hillary Ashton was watching a show about cheetahs, she said, "hey, look daddy...it's a cheeto." Do you think that is what she thinks we are eating when we eat the long, orange chips? Haha!

I am just loving learning about the world through her eyes!