Thursday, October 23, 2014

Answered Prayers

Maddox Ren asked for a baby sister many times.  She longed to hold her and sing to her and dance with her.  She prayed for her and dreamt of what their life would be like together, all of the things they would do together.
Behind the scenes, I worried.  Maddox fit so well into the baby-of-the-family role.  She relished in being the center of attention.  Being held was her preferred method of transportation with being pushed in a stroller a close second.  She  was (is) a mommy's girl in every sense of the word.
The day came when we held Maryn for the first time.  Maddox was so taken with her, she was quick to offer her anything that would possibly make her happy, she would not leave her side...she adored Maryn and her new big sister role.  
Not long after we arrived home, Maddox began to regress.  She was never ugly to Maryn and never said anything hurtful about her but she struggled.  She struggled with the fact that Maryn wanted and needed to be held by Mommy.  She struggled with the fact that the boys were smitten with their newest little sister.  She struggled with the fact that MK was such a caretaker in Maryn's life.  There were tears.  And thankfully, my patience won and I prayed fervently for both of their hearts to open up to their new family.
Early this week, Maryn awoke and Maddox came bouncing into her room.  Maddox jumped onto Maryn's bed exclaiming, "You are so adorable, aren't you? Mommy, she is so beautiful!"  And then she began to whisper into Maryn's ear.  Maryn giggled.  Maddox looked at me and asked, "Do you know what I just told her?"  I told her I didn't.  She replied, "I told her that I am so glad that she is the baby sister!  I wanted to be the baby but I am so happy she is the baby sister and I am the big sister now!"
Answered prayers are the best when they speak directly to your hearts desires!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Florida 2014

Two or more years ago, my niece, Emma, wrote a letter to our family stating that she was planning her 10th birthday party and would like to invite us to attend.  We were thrilled that she chose Disney as her venue to celebrate her big day.  One thing - at the time, she had just turned 8!  
 My, how time flies!  In what seemed like no time at all, Emma grew up and Disney was our destination for a quick family getaway to celebrate our special 10 year old!  Our first stop, Sea World Orlando.  (Note - I did not take my big camera along for this trip so we solely depended on our phones for photos!  Definitely a wise decision in a packing sense.)  
 We jetted from show to show and we were all amazed at the sites we took in....the dolphins flying through the air, the killer whales splashing the audience and gliding through their tanks, the baby alligators, the acrobats, and especially the rescue animals that performed in Pets Ahoy!  Maryn spent the majority of the day with her eyes as big as saucers and saying, "ohhhh....ahhhh!"  
 After a fabulous dinner at our beloved Cheesecake Factory and a restful little nighttime slumber, we awoke and made our way over to the Magic Kingdom for a magical day.  
 We dashed from Peter Pan to It's A Small World to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to Buzz Lightyear....
 to Dumbo to Space Mountain to the Haunted Mansion....and so forth.  There was no slowing us down!  We literally went from sun-up to sun-down and we loved every minute of it!
 Some of us were a bit competitive during a few rides:)
 While others just took it all in!
 And this crew was the best!  We laughed and laughed some more as we darted from ride to ride.  
 Our sweet Maddox found Tweetle Dee and Tweetle Dum and cozied up with them for a quick photo-op between her roller coaster rides.  She was in heaven our entire trip!  
 Dinner at Rainforest is always a treat....and waiting to be seated provided a few moments of entertainment!  
 This is such a telling sort of picture! 
 So thankful for this time we were able to spend with our little family!  My kiddos are my world and I love every moment that I am given with them!  It isn't always perfect....
 but I would say it is pretty darn close!  So thankful for each of them and the joy they bring!
 This sweet girl was a trooper!  She went with the best of us and smiled the whole way through...
 We were all sad to see it end.  But, alas, all good things must end and our Florida trip was no exception....
we all woke up Monday morning mumbling about how we wished we were standing in line to ride some incredible ride at Disney.....and there was one certain 5 year old who mumbled quite loudly about her plans to spend her 6th birthday at Disney!  Oh dear!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Seabrook Island

Maryn was all ready for the beach....
 Before we left to go to the beach, I asked Maddox to go get some shoes to wear for our trip.  She came back begging to take her pink pink boots it was for this one!  She really is one of a kind and we adore her fun personality!
 Ready, set, GO!!!!  Though it was October and though the temps were not the warmest ever, our kiddos weren't going to miss out on an opportunity to take on the ocean with their boogie boards.
 Meanwhile, on shore, Maryn spent some time with the sand buckets and the water inside...
 Maryn was really never at a loss for something to do whether it was playing with a sibling or just taking it all in by herself....
 Our handsome Pryce....12 years and counting!
 I believe every.single.sand.toy imaginable was spread across the shoreline and our kiddos were busy for hours....
 Watching this little one explore and enjoy her first time at the beach was such a gift!  
 My face hurt from smiling and laughing so much as I watched her take it all in! I kept thinking, three months ago today we were stuck in an airport making our way home from China.  And she was so very MAD! Raging mad.  
Today, she was all smiles.  Nothing but smiles.  So happy.  So LOVED!
 MK decided to dance a bit....and her goal was to make her hair swing out as far as possible! 
 Maddox was in her element just creating and singing all day....
 Maryn was a bit surprised when she decided to pour her cup of water over her head....
 What a joy it is to have this baby girl home forever!  
So thankful for this weekend with our family of seven!  This was Maryn's first time at the beach and our family's first time away for a mini-vacation....we needed these moments together biking, exploring, laughing, loving....I adore my family and I am so very thankful for each of them and the immense joy they bring into my life each day!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Maryn's First Seabrook Island Adventure

So many things to celebrate this weekend.  Friday, October 3, was my birthday.  This time last year, we were early on in our wait to find our baby girl.  And I was turning 40 - gasp.  One year later, we are at the beach celebrating Miss Maryn, celebrating the fact that she is home, and, celebrating my young age of 41.  Not to mention, October 3 also marks three months home for our little one!  
 For several months now, I have mentioned a few times that I would love to rent bikes at Seabrook and bike all over the island as a family.  We arrived at the beach Thursday night and all five of my kiddos were giddy to find bikes waiting on us at our house!  In true Maddox fashion, she jumped out of the car and quickly proclaimed she was going to ride on the back of a bike driven by her daddy and she was going to pretend she was on a motorcycle!  
 With all of us on the appropriate bikes and helmets in tact, we took off on our first bike outing to North Beach.  I decided mid-trip that maybe this biking adventure should have occurred after a few trips to the gym to get into shape - my 41 years are showing, not to mention I was toting an additional 30lbs:0.  
We arrived at the beach, and we promptly took Maryn's shoes off to put her toes in the sand.  Her reaction was much like I thought it would be - NO WAY was she putting her feet down into the soft, scratchy sand.  She had the same reaction to grass when we first arrived home.  
 We went to plan B and strapped her shoes back on and off.she.went.
 The bigs were so excited to show her everything from the sand to the sand dollars to the jelly fish to the horseshoe crabs....
 and, of course, the water.  We all knew she would love the water!
 In no time, she took off her shoes and cautiously stood at the tip of the shore, feet waving in the air.  
 And as soon as she decided maybe the wet sand wasn't so bad on her feet, she promptly knelt down to get her fingers wet - she was mesmerized.
 And then she was introduced to sea creatures....she even held a conch shell with a baby crab inside.  
 Meanwhile, the bigs were taking it all in. 
 P is our happy-go-lucky kiddo - he just loves everything in the moment whether it is playing his favorite sport or spending time walking on the beach with his family.  
 C - well, he was not in the mood for pictures and protested against a face shot.  However, I snapped it just to document that I did try to get a picture of his perfect 14 year old face.  
 MK and her baby conch shell.  She was searching and searching for one without a crab so she could take it home and share with her friends.  
 And back to this little one....watching her all morning was delightful.  Her expressions as she tromped through the water went from happy....
 to insulted when she fell....
 and then back to happy!
What a joy it was to spend the day watching this sweet girl take in her first day at the beach!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sky Top Apple Orchard 2014
With our wagon packed and our camera in tow, we headed out into the fields to find the largest, roundest apples available.....
these tough guys spent their time exploring among the orchard - they may have been found climbing a tree or getting lost in the bamboo usual, whatever they were up to was full of fun!
Meanwhile, our big girls - friend SK and MK - spent a moment in the fields making bracelets out of wildflowers....
our littlest ones share a few of their apples....
and they humored us with a posed wagon pic :)
Our friend, Andi-Grace, has been home since February with her family!  We love that our families have connected and we treasure the time that we get to spend with them!
Maddox says, "Look mom, no hands!"  Never.a.dull.moment.
Little Maryn was taken with the challenge of eating her very own apple....
Maddox enjoyed this challenge too, with a bit of help from her mom!
We found a shaded spot and let the girls just hang out while the boys found a great spot for football!
A great day of fun picking our favorite fruit!
Until next season.....

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