Mason-Kate

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tuesday evening these guys played a great game, neck to neck, against each other - they are the best of friends and it is good to see them having fun together even if they are on opposing teams!  
 The girls LOVE to teach Maryn and Maryn loves to try to do everything they do!  The big news for Maryn is that she was evaluated by our school district earlier in the month - I went for the results meeting and Maryn didn't qualify for any services!  It really wasn't a huge surprise to us but it was good to hear professionals confirm what we were suspecting.  They said, "We think you have one smart little girl and we do not see any evidence of a development delay."  Amen.  
 Ah, to be "home" again!  
Our former neighborhood graciously invited us to swim for them this summer and they have welcomed us with open arms!  
 We have four swimming this year - Maddox has joined the troops with full force and she is one strong swimmer!  We are so excited for her and we know that she will do well this season!  
 The boys will have a few extra muscles after the summer - they call their practices "mini boot camps."  Our coach also coaches year round swimming and our high school team.  She has them crunching, running, sit-upping, treading water for 10 minutes with their hands above their heads....hard core but such a good workout for them!
 And what everyone loves about swim team - the social part.  The children have enjoyed seeing their friends and spending time with them each morning during and after practice.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Seabrook

Oh, Seabrook, how we love thee!
 After the ups and downs of life this past year, a week at Seabrook was just what the doctor ordered to collect our thoughts and replenish our souls.
 It took Maryn a moment, but she soon realized that sand is not the worst thing to walk on.....she went to bed each night saying, "Mommy, mommy, we go to beach....sand....swim?" and as I assured her that we would do all of the above on the next day, she drifted off to sleep.  
 Our bigs enjoyed walks on the beach....
 and jelly fish catching???  
 A highlight was having our friends, the Butchers, with us for the week!  It was great fun to have some friends to enjoy our happy place with us!
 The children spent some time concocting their own "living room" complete with recliner chairs! 
 I am pretty sure this guy could have relaxed there all day had the tide not eventually come in!
 Maddox was the designated crab catcher....
 and Pryce taught our littlest bit all about the joys of catching minnows!
 So glad for this time with our family!  
 This baby girl.....she changes daily and is the sweetest little heart ever!  I love watching her grow....this image is the perfect shot....she is twirling her hair, something she does when she is tired or just relaxing!  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Mommy, I don't want to be from China."

Tonight, as I came in late from a meeting, I was met at the door by a little girl who calmly asked, "Mommy, can I speak to you in your room?"  There was a toddler at my feet so excited to see me, two boys wanting my ears to tell me about the baseball game, one little girl who, at 9:00pm still had not eaten dinner, and one little girl who clearly needed me more at that moment than the other four combined.  We stepped away from the chaos and into my room we went.
Immediately, the tears flowed.  Feeling as though she needed this moment, I let her cry and then asked what was wrong.  She looked at me and through sobs she said, "Mommy, I don't want to be from China.  I don't want to talk about my lip."
And I sat dumbfounded. I wanted to scoop her up and protect her from everything and everyone who was to ever question her adoption and her cleft lip and palate.  I wanted to tell her over and over how beautiful she is but in that moment, I was speechless.  Here was my baby, crying real tears, sobs, because a little girl, a stranger, had asked, "what is WRONG with your lip?"
Instead, I let her cry and I held her as tight as I possibly could and I tried to come up with just the right words in my head to make it all better for her.  And I prayed that God would give me the right words to comfort her tender little heart.
I am so thankful she came to me, she needed me to hold her and love her in her sorrow.  She is so tender and so shy.  We recounted together the evening and the encounter with the child who asked about her lip.  I told her she did the right thing by walking away.  I assured her that walking away from someone who is making her uncomfortable is ALWAYS the right thing to do and she has our blessing in doing so.....we also talked about how, although being kind is always best, if someone asks a question regarding adoption, her story, her lip or anything of the sort, she can tell them politely that it is none of their business.
Most importantly, we talked about her - her beauty, both inside and out; her love for her sisters, her ability to lead, her gift at being able to do anything she tries well - she is a fabulous dancer, swimmer, and artist!  I told her that she must always hold her head high, knowing that her cleft is NOT at all what defines her but, instead, it is a mere part of who she is.
And then we looked at pictures of our beautiful girl, young and old.  And we researched cleft lip and palate so she knows exactly what she was born with and what has been repaired.
This girl has taught and continues to teach me so much.  Please join me in praying that my girls will always embrace their heritage, their stories, and their lives.  All three of them are precious in His sight!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Atlanta

We had the opportunity to spend a few day in Atlanta.....and the girls were all on board with riding on the luggage cart and indoor swimming!  The boys were all about having their own room - adjoined to ours, of course - and having unlimited TV and electronics for a weekend....as teens, this is their utmost thrill.
 All five kiddos have been begging to go to the World of Coke so we obliged....
 there was a little something for everyone....
 Colin thought the whole idea of a museum dedicated to Coke was awesome.....
 MK found this pic of China and immediately gave a huge smile.....
 Trips to Atlanta always consist of a meal at our favorite Cheesecake Factory....
 Maryn had no trouble buttering her bread....reminiscing on how things used to be, I would have never given Colin a butter knife and an entire thing of butter at the age of 2.  Five children later, I could not give it to her fast enough!  What better way to occupy her time while we waited on our food!
 The American Girl doll store is always a sight to see too.....thankfully, no one melted down when we said there would not be any purchases!
 This little miss got a new float for the pool and she was all ready to go swimming!  She loves the water!
 The unfortunate part of this trip was when we all piled in the van to go see the laser show at Stone Mountain - NO AC!  Eek!  Totally gone. 
So, we did as any other family of 7 would do, we made it an adventure, rolled down the windows and carried on with our trip!  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Random May Happenings

May 3, Pryce awoke to a surprise filled home to celebrate his birthday.  He didn't ask for much in the present category but the one thing he did ask for was a lottery ticket.  Of course, we don't play the lottery but since it was his birthday and all, we obliged.  
 The story behind the tickets is that when I went in to purchase them, I told the attendant I had no idea how to play or what to purchase.....she kindly asked what I wanted to spend and then happily began tearing off tickets.  She told me the amount that I owed and when I went to give her my debit card, she smiled and said I had to pay cash.  I never have cash and, as luck would have it, I didn't have cash then either. A lady behind me offered to pay for the tickets and said to tell Pryce she hoped he had a wonderful birthday!  
 Pryce's 13th birthday was special in so many ways.  He had grandparents spend the night, friends spend the night, kayaking on the canal with friends, and then, the surprise part - grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles!  Just the way he likes it - a day surrounded by the people he cherishes most!
 Our Cinderella.....
 never, ever a dull moment with this cutie.....
 every night just before bed, she is allowed to watch Barney episode on the "Ipap" in our bed.....apparently it works best to do this with sunglasses - upside down!
 Our co-op field day took place to kick-off summer vacation....
 our little Miss Monkey-See-Monkey-Do was right in the middle of it all!  
 There were teams - red, blue, orange, green and yellow.....one of the things I love about this group are the relationships that are formed with all ages.....
 Maddox and one of her favorites spent the day bouncing around....can't say that they participated much in the games as much as they participated in creating their own games for fun!
 And through it all, Maryn congregated with the young and old and made her way from game to game!
 There is a reason we just love this baby girl - she keeps us on our toes!  Her guilty face is just too cute!  
 Little miss loves to have her fingernails and toenails painted!  On this particular evening, she took it upon herself to do the painting:)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pryce Hartley

My sweet, sweet Pryce.....
 I named him before we even knew we were having another child....as I sat out on the beach, I wrote his name with an "i" and a "y" to see which one was the perfect spelling for our child....and then I walked into the beach house and announced I had the perfect name!
 This little guy showed up on the scene in two hours flat from start to finish.....true to his personality today, when he makes up his mind on something, he is full speed ahead!
 He is the child that slept from day one, has always gone with the flow, the people pleaser and the one who just wants to make people smile....
 he is a leader amongst his peers, and a supporter of his siblings....
 this guy is going to do big things in life, no doubt!  
 13 looks good on you and we are honored to be your parents and family.....
Proverbs 16:9
The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring Formal

Spring Formal
One of my favorite nights of each year.....
 Colin was loving the tux.....
 G-Mom and G-Dad came in to help with the children while we watched Colin and his friends dance the night away.....
 Colin's partner, Lauren....
 Lauren and her sister, Rachel, are twins so our Social dance evenings were always a group thing which made for a lot of fun!
 Colin and Lauren met in the first grade....how time flies!
 MK asked to go with Ryan and I to the formal....she was thrilled to have a "date" night with mommy and daddy....
 MK was also a key part in us being able to find Colin and Lauren throughout the night on the dance floor!  
 She watched intently and was so excited to see her big brother amongst the dancers.....she also spotted a lot of friends too!
 What a joy it has been to watch Colin and Lauren over the past three years of dance club.  Ryan and I both have two left feet so dancing is not made for us!  

 
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