Monday, July 28, 2014

Five weeks of Maryn!

You smile so freely go to mommy and daddy and your brothers and your sisters with ease yet you shake your head fiercely when others ask to hold you - this is a good thing! say "uh oh" and "hot" and "mama" blow play love for the children to chase you....your giggle continues to make everyone sleep well but when you do awake in the night, you reach for mommy's hand to hold onto until you are back resting again....when you are awake, you are always on the go - climbing up the stairs, walking all around the house, playing with your beloved ABC bear....when you hurt yourself, you poke your bottom lip out and begin to cry softly - it is a pitiful sight! are walking on the grass without shoes on - your face has a "not so sure" kind of look on it but you trek forward as if you are trying to figure out just what grass is!  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Celebrating 5 is a huge deal especially when it is something you have waited an entire year to do!
 One week before her "real" birthday, we gathered some friends and family together to help us celebrate our girl!
 Our artist, daddy, drew a splendid picture of Sofia for a game of pen the amulet on Sofia....
 and we did a cool scavenger hunt followed by opening of gifts!
 Our boys spent the week away in the mountains for their annual Gran and Pop mountain camp.  While they were sliding down sliding rock and driving ATVs around and around, our girls packed up and headed to the American Girl Bistro and store!
 Maddox was so proud to finally own her very own American Girl doll.  She chose the girl of the year, Isabelle.
 Isabelle is a ballerina and Maddox is taken with her!
 She held her and fed her and made sure she minded her manners....
 We posed for a photo after breakfast and shopped around for the perfect item to purchase!  We left with matching pjs for the girls - and Maddox could not wait to go to sleep for the evening!
 The big day!  5 arrived and the kiddos went to work making sure that our girl was treated like a princess!
 Because it was her special day, we did whatever she wanted to do, whenever she wanted to!  
 Maddox and I went on a little date for the afternoon - it was good to be with my girl for a few hours, just me and my newly turned favorite 5 year old!
 We arrived home just in time for make your own pizzas and cake and ice cream....
 one.last.time for the birthday girl!
What a fabulous week we had celebrating our Maddox and her special day!

A Whole Hand

Maddox Ren Drafts
 The one day you have looked forward to all year long has finally arrived - you are FIVE today!  
 At the age of five, you are all about being your own little person - pink boots are always on those little feet!  Pink and purple are your favorite colors and you love to incorporate them into your clothing for each day when possible.  
 You tell us you would like to be a doctor when you grow up, "I want to be a doctor like Ms. Doc Stuffins - a toy doctor, ok?"  Your favorite food is yogurt of any kind - greek, organic, the not-so-organic drinkables, frozen...
Singing is your favorite thing to do - your favorite song to date is "Bears, Bears, We Got No Cares..." The funny thing is that it is a catchy little song and we all chime in to sing with you!  The music from Frozen is a close second!
You are our heart, sweet girl!  Recently we flew to China to bring home your baby sister.  We worried about you - after all, you have been the baby for more than three years and you have enjoyed that place in our family!  However, you have embraced the new big sister title with grace and you cannot get enough of Maryn!  
Recently after we said a prayer thanking your birth mom for giving you life, you chimed in, "Mommy, I wish you were my mommy always...I wish you had me in your tummy."  I hugged you tight and assured you that God's plan was for me to love you forever and for both of us to thank your birth mom always that she chose to give you life!  
You are a gem, a treasure to our souls!  We love you with all of our hearts and we are forever grateful that we were chosen to be the family who will celebrate you forever!
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One Month of Forever

Just one month ago, we were in a government building in the middle of Guangzhou, China, meeting our Maryn Gentry.  Sweet girl walked right out of what she had known all of her life and into a new life and family for forever.  
Thankfully, her heavy spirit on that day has been replaced with a lighter step!  Miss Maryn, you are not the little one we met one month ago - one month ago, we met a little one who was terrified of us and screamed in a desperate attempt to be returned to what she had always known.  Today, you are full of joy!  Today, you light up a room with your contagious, easy smile.  
Today, you have parents who adore you and who take note of all the little things that make you, you!  Like the way you put yourself to sleep by making the cutest little sucking noise and twisting your non-existent hair; the way you play with our hair when we hold you close; we marvel at how quick you are in your step and we fret when you fall; we take note of how observant you are and we laugh when your face makes a new expression - you are so expressive!  
We all love to hear you laugh and we will all do just about anything to make the laughter neverending! Your big brothers cannot wait to hold you each morning when you awake and they are constantly vying for your attention.  Your big sisters are all about teaching you to dance and squeal loudly in delight!  We love to hear you chatter, this you do all day and we never tire of your sweet, soft voice!  
We remain in awe of you little one.  We thank God each day for your life and we feel honored to have been chosen to be your forever family!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This girl turned  7 1/2!  Unbelievable how time is flying!
 These three finished up another successful swim season!
 Lake time - jet skiing is a new favorite activity with all of our guys!
 MK and Jay participated in the city of Columbia's "City Meet" - both are great at this swimming thing!
 Little Maryn got a new ride....
 Bonding continued with the boys - Maryn LOVES them!  
 We got to spend a fun-filled afternoon with a group of our dearest friends, our adoption crew!
 And these three shared their special story - the little guy driving is being hosted by the little guy on the back's family....he has been here for almost a month and because of his stay here, he now has a forever family pursuing his adoption...the little guy with the mask will be his brother when he comes home sometime next year!  Amazing!  Another cool fact...all three will be cousins!
 Ava and Maddox enjoyed their reunion!  
   This pic describes the story of adoption - it is not perfect but its beauty sustains all imperfections!  
So thankful for adoption!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lake Days

This summer has brought on a new love in our lives - the lake.
A huge thank you to my brother and his family for allowing us borrow some time at their house,
kayaking back and forth to the island and the little mom and pop shop for special treats.
The boys are smitten with this little body of water and what it has to offer.  So much so that they spent all day last Saturday in a boating safety class.  They left 8 hours later with their own boating license in hand and they had one thing on their minds - jet skiing!  
Our newest little miss spent her time in the shade playing with grass - mind you she will not even think of standing on the grass and insists on having a blanket down for her to sit on but she had no problem pulling the grass from the ground to examine!  
Maddox has enjoyed her jaunts to the lake as well....she is fearless!
Silly girls!
Our lake days have brought us all many memories and we look forward to creating more in the years to come!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

One Week Home

Oh, the look on this little one's face says it all - she is taking it all in, observing everything, not missing a beat!  She is simply delightful!  
Our first week home and we all dove right in....meetings, doctor appointments, swimming fun, dining with friends, swim meets, shopping, park fun.....
thankfully this little one seems to like our on-the-go style!  She and her carseat do well together!  
The big sisters were never too far away....they have done so well with her! 
In fact, all four bigs are eating her up!  The honeymoon is in full swing with our girl!  
Little Miss was deemed to be one healthy baby girl by our pediatrician this week!  For this, we give THANKS!  
We have spent some time outside and Maryn is not a fan of the grass - thinking she will be a city girl!  Even with her shoes on, she refuses to put her feet down!  
She has southern taste - grits are her thing!  
She is saying "uh-oh" appropriately and she is quick to yell "Bao!" which we are claiming to be "no" in Chinese!  She is giving kisses when asked and she continues to wave goodbye when she wants to.  
I have spent most of our first week home in awe of this child and the little girl she has already become.  Three weeks.  Three weeks ago, she was screaming and she was so scared.  
We have experienced the "mad that my life is changing and I have no control over it" child and we have experienced the "sad, so very sad" child....this baby is our "scared beyond words" child.  To think that three weeks ago she clung to me in fear of any and everything that was around her - the sounds, the people, the sights.  I cannot put into words just how frightened she was.  And she was so quiet.  And to think that she has smiled for new faces this week.  And she giggles almost on demand.  And she smiles when we say her name.  And she babbles nonstop, pointing her little finger as if to tell us the most important facts.  And she dances like nobody's business - her little head bobs back and forth and she just laughs all the while.  And her little feet take her everywhere - she no longer insists on having a hand to hold.  Instead, she walks and walks and walks only to stop when her name is called or when she has reached her destination.  
This child is not who she was three weeks ago.  
She is glowing.
She is free.  
She is LOVED.
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