Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where Have I Been?

I can't believe another week has flown by!! This time of year, I seem to live weekend to weekend and we try to squeeze a little school in the middle. I can barely get all the sports uniforms clean before it's time to use them again!! Braden's team played last weekend and WON!! It was great weather and lots of fun. I had to miss the championship game Sunday because it didn't end up starting until 8:00 or so. It was a school night, so I decided to do the responsible thing and get the others in bed. It killed me, though! Can't say I'll be responsible the next time!!!! I am so proud of Braden. He is in a hitting slump, but his defense behind the plate was so good that he earned the MVP trophy from our coach. It is amazing to watch him as catcher.

Braden played catcher in the 1st and 3rd games. This is the middle game where he is at 2nd.

Miss W loves the ballpark. She asks me all the time to "go baseball"! It makes me remember when Santa brought Wesleigh a baseball glove the Christmas before she was home and Cade commented, "Santa must know what kind of family she's in". Someone bigger than Santa had a role in that one :)

Purple mouth from a snowball.

In between games, Wesleigh squeezed herself right next to Braden to relax with the boys. (Look at Braden's hand...he just finished catching a game.)

All the boys adore her. They are all so sweet to pay attention to her. She's giving knuckles to one of the boys. I love how "baby" is right beside her....always!

Center of attention....just the way she likes it!!

Tuesday, Bryce had his first "real" track meet. This is my first experience with track so I'm trying to figure it all out. It was alot of fun seeing all the different events. Cade had never seen a track meet either and he thought it was "beast" ;) I loved all the colors of spring with all the bright uniforms.

Bryce ran the 1600 (mile). He did great. I can't wait to see how he progresses from here! I love that he stepped out and signed up for track. It's been alot of work, but it's been great!


Not bad for his first race!!! So proud!!

Cade has a ball tournament this weekend, Bryce has Sea Cadets and Braden is getting to fish in a fishing rodeo. I'd better get that washing machine started!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kiss Me...I'm Irish-Cajun!!

Yesterday was a great day! We have never been to the St. Patrick's Day parade here, but it is a huge parade! There were over 70 floats!! Bryce marched in this parade with the Sea Cadets. Wesleigh and I were planning to go, but Braden's team ended up not playing until the evening, so Richard got to come along. Thank goodness!!! It's alot of work, and I was thrilled he was with us. Plus...Daddys are just more fun!!

This is where the floats lined up. The street is lined with Oak trees. It is absolutely beautiful! There were tons of people everywhere.

My handsome Bryce. I could just eat him up in this uniform!! They marched right behind the US Navy band...he was thrilled!!

Dressed in green for the occasion, of course!!

My baby has definitely passed me up. It kills me and makes me so proud all at the same time.

Perched on her daddy, as the parade starts.

This organization has been amazing for Bryce. It fits him perfectly and I am so thankful we found it. Look how handsome they all are!

My favorite shot of the day!!!

You can't really tell, but she loves to rub Richard's head when she's up there. So cute!

The first of about 10 stuffed animals she got. She definitely hit the jackpot! She loved each and every one and was so thrilled.

Daddy needed some bling!

"Throw me somethin' mister!!" She got the system down pat. She would wave...people would hand stuff to her daddy and he would give it to her. He would hold the beads up and she would put them over her head...adorable. I kept having to take beads off of her because there were so many.

I don't have a clue how other parts of the country do parades, but this is how they're done here. Let's just say that the people on these floats were feeling no pain :) (and this parade started at 10am!!)

Rarely are the two of us alone with just Wesleigh. It was alot of fun. I think Gracie is going to have a blast next year! The only problem is that Richard needs another set of shoulders!!!

Braden doesn't play until the afternoon today, so we actually get to go to church! It's great baseball weather, so we're looking forward to a great day at the ballpark!!

*As I'm sitting here typing this, Wesleigh dropped some scrambled eggs on the couch. Braden told me about it and when I walked over there, W said Braden did it!!! LOL.... So funny!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Journey to Gracie Joy Part III's the conclusion. Again, remember, this is how things were written as I was walking through this.

2/9- I have been frustrated the last couple of days wanting God to give me a clear, tangible, sign as I have seen him give others. I was praying asking for this and started to ponder what I should read in my Bible. What was my main problem? I decided it was faith. So….where do I read about faith? I didn’t know. I decided I would google “faith bible study”. There were many choices that came up and I decided that might not be such a good idea. Who knows who wrote those Bible studies and I certainly didn’t want to read some off-the-wall crazy thing. I decided I should go to my church’s site instead. When I got to that site, I decided to go to the sermon’s online. (I have never done this before) I found a sermon by Christine Caine. We had seen Christine a couple of weeks ago and this was the continuation of that service that night. It was titled “A Place For You” pt. 2. As she started to speak, she said to “turn to Hebrews 11…the faith chapter”!!!!!!!!! Wow…that was pretty tangible! She spoke about Abraham and Sara having Isaac when it should have been impossible. She read, “faith without works is dead”. You can believe but you have to act in order to conceive. In the same token, you can have works but if you don’t believe, you won’t receive. Believe-Conceive-Receive! “He who promised is faithful”. I knew that we believed. We decided we could adopt again. We conceived when we started our paperwork. Now it was time to receive! But who?

I have now come to the conclusion that if Gwynne is still on the list on the 18th, we would be foolish not to lock her file! Every child is a leap of faith. You will NEVER have all the information you want. Wesleigh was a leap of faith. There is no way we can walk all the way down this path and not choose this gorgeous child! Now all that is left is to wait for the 18th. Ugh…..
When I shared this with Richard, he smiled and said he was “waiting for me to come to my own conclusion”. He has never wavered on wanting to take her. I love that about him and am really glad I was the one struggling with the decision instead of him.

2/10- I was on my computer this morning emailing our agency to tell her that we wanted to lock Gwynne’s file ASAP, when I received an email from her with a great medical report from the CCAA!!! They report that she is potty trained!
I am so excited about this! I immediately called her and told her that we absolutely wanted to lock her as soon as we could. Thursday night is the magic “hour”. That is one week from tonight. I am a little nervous about it, but really feel like she will be there. I think God has really been working on me these past 3 weeks. My faith has definitely grown. I felt like this information came to me as a confirmation/reward for being obedient. The new shared list will be coming out very soon, so people are already looking forward to that being released. I really don’t think anyone will lock her file. I think they will wait to see what the new list brings. This is going to be a LONG week!!

2/17 – Tonight is the night. Tonight will be the 18th in China. My agency contact is at her computer waiting for Gwynne’s file to change to “special focus”. There are only 6 children on the list who are not special focus. As the night goes on, we are emailing back and forth. For some reason, Gwynne’s file won’t flip. The other 5 do, but hers just sits. At this point, I’m a little nervous, but mainly it makes me laugh. This has been such a roller coaster ride…of course, her file would sit!! Finally, 2 hours after the other files flipped, hers did too. At 9:30, I get a call “I just locked her file…she’s yours!” Whoo Hoo!!! The words I had waited to hear for almost 4 months. What an unbelievable journey thus far!!

3/10 - 797C arrives. I bring it to be notarized and certified, then pass it on to our agency.

3/16 - I get a call from our agency. She congratulated me that our dossier will be send to China on Friday!! She called it "record breaking" time! Whoo Hoo!!

This was not a journey I chose. This was not my plan. I was very comfortable with 4 children. I’m still overwhelmed at having 5! I can’t stand the look people give me when we say that we’re going back. That open-mouthed stare…. That’s ok. God never said his path was easy, and hands down, I’d rather be on His path any day of the week! We are believing that our faithfulness will be honored and Gracie Joy will live a healthy, happy life, safe in the loving arms of her forever family and her heavenly Father.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Journey to Gracie Joy Part II

*Please understand that I am posting this straight from my journals as I wrote them. Of course, I've changed a couple of things but this is not written with hindsight. The questions and concerns I state here were what I was feeling on that specific day. I love to look back and see how everything comes together!

I thought you'd enjoy a new picture of Miss Gracie!!

12/9 – We find out that Gwynne is in good health and has no day to day problems to deal with. We also feel confident in the fact that God already knows who our daughter is and His ways are higher! If it’s not Gwynne, we’re ok with that.

12/16 – Homestudy is sent for review

12/29 – Homestudy is returned with some changes needed.

12/30- Homestudy is sent back to agency

1/7 – I800A is sent to USCIS. Praying for quick fingerprint appt. and approval!

1/17- We had heard that the January shared list would be released on the 18th (night of 17th in USA). My agency called the CCAA to see if Gwynne’s file would be released with this list. Obviously, we were hoping it would not. At this point, I think the earliest I will be DTC would be in March. We found out that her file would be released that night. I am so sad. It would be a miracle if her file did not get snatched up by someone very quickly. In order for me to have a chance to lock her file, she would have to stay on the shared list for 30 days. I don’t think there’s any chance of that happening. I know that God knows who our daughter will be. I know His ways are higher. I want the child he has for me. I know that I will look back and know why all of this happened as it did. I want Him to close the wrong doors and direct my paths…tonight, though…it sucks!

1/21 – Got a confirmation letter stating that our receipt date for the I800A was January 11.

1/27 - I got a call from my agency today. She tells me that Gwynne is back on the shared list! She doesn’t know how because she had confirmed that someone had submitted a LOI on her. She sent her file to me, and it says her medical condition is much worse than I had thought. Her file says that she does not have control of her bowels. This is conflicting to the report we received previously, so we are going to ask the CCAA for more information. We cannot lock her file until it has been on the shared list for 30 days. That will be 2/18. This means that someone else could come and lock her file before I could. What this also means, though, is that I have some time to pray, investigate, and get as much info as possible. I am very torn. I grieved for this child, but now feel very little connection to her. I don’t know if it’s fear or trying to protect my heart.

1/28 – Received our fingerprint appointments in the mail. They gave us two separate days! Seriously? I will go with Richard on his day, since it’s sooner and hopefully they will take me then.

1/29 – Richard and I have a conversation about everything and I think he really wants her. He really leaves that part of it up to me because he says once he sees a face, he can’t say “no”. I am just concerned about the physical problems her file says she has. He made me question my hesitancy on her. I am willing to do whatever it is that God wants me to do…even if that means the worst. If it was just me, I might be more inclined to not worry about it. Since we have Wesleigh, it confuses things. Is it really fair to bring home a child that will require so much attention? I don’t know…I wish I had the answers. I hope that if she’s not supposed to be mine, someone else will lock her file. My biggest fear is that I say “no” and nobody else takes her.

2/1- Find out Gwynne’s file has been locked again. I am ok with that. My prayer was that, if she wasn’t mine, she would be locked before I was able to. I feel that this is an answer to prayer and it allows me to move on.

2/7- I get this email from our agency:
"So..... She's back!!!!
I checked a couple times Friday and she wasn't there, but she is this morning! :-)"

Seriously?!?!? Would someone please tell me what is going on with this file?!?!? Honestly, this news is more frustrating to me than joyful. First of all, there is still 11 days before I can lock her file…plenty of time for her to be taken again. Second, I’m kind of detached from her. I can’t really figure out if I’m just trying to protect myself from getting hurt, or if I don’t feel like she’s mine. I am still praying that her family will find her before the 18th if she’s not supposed to be mine. I’m still waiting on the additional information from the CCAA…just in case. I would also like to know what has changed these families’ minds both times.

OK...I'll need one more post to finish. I'm not trying to drag it out...just trying to not make crazy long posts!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baseball Hangover...

This is where the baseballs meet the bows! Our weekend consisted of Braden and Cade both playing in a tournament in New Orleans. Between the two of them, we had 7 games this weekend. Bryce stayed behind, but Wesleigh was along for the ride. I have to say...she was amazing!

Today has been a hangover day, for sure. Between sleeping in a hotel and daylight savings, I came home extremely sleep deprived. I also got to take one of my injured players to the ortho today!

Here is my Cade. He was amazing. This was his team's first tournament and they went 2 for 2. We were so unbelievably proud of all of them. Cade pitched Sunday morning and was so good! He's alot of fun to watch and he's grown so much. He doesn't get rattled on the mound like he used to...solid! Cade's the one who got to visit the doctor today. His knee has been bothering him since football but I never paid much attention to it. He hit a triple and made it to third but after he slid, he couldn't get up. He got carried off the field as he cried. We took him in today and the doc said he has "jumpers knee". There is something with the tendon in his knee that has to do with growing and stretching. It was the best news possible! It will still bother him but he's not doing any damage to his knee.




Here's my Braden. His team struggled a little bit but we are so proud of him too. They went 1 for 3. I love watching him behind the cute!



And here's my bowhead. She was such a trooper. No nap Saturday because we were at the ballpark the entire day. To bed late and up SUPER early for an 8:00 game Sunday (with daylight savings), and we didn't leave the park until 4:30. She did not have one meltdown or fit. In fact, she never even cried. I could not have asked any more of her!!

Of course, ringpops never hurt ;) Actually, she didn't eat much of this one and never asked for it again. (thank goodness...they're SO messy)

I brought a bag full of "entertainment" but this was the best. Worth its weight in gold!


Sweet baby...we had a break in the games Sunday and I strolled her around until she fell asleep. It was a nice break for her...and for me!

(Gracie pt. II coming next!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Journey to Gracie Joy Part I

I'm going to start sharing how we found our Gracie Joy. This is from a journal I kept throughout this journey. I just knew it was going to be a story worth sharing! It's so much that I'm going to share it in a few different posts.

Summer 2010 – Our church gives a fortune cookie to each woman to promote the “Live the Dream” women’s conference. The fortune inside the cookie says, “LTD 2010…because there are dreams in your heart you do not know of”. I laughed on the way home and said, “I’m not going to that…I might find out we’re supposed to adopt again!!” hmmm….

10/26 - read a post on my friend Stacy’s blog about adopting an older child. (We traveled with Stacy and her family when we got Wesleigh) Her post talked about the fate of children who age out of the system in China. It shared the plan for their family to go back to China. I shared the post with Richard and teared up while we talked about the fact that God had more in store for us. We just really didn’t know if it was even China and didn’t really think that “now” was the time. We also laughed that they were already going back.

10/27 – Diana calls and asks if I would want to help her with Pearl River . I agreed to make the announcements for the children. No big deal…started working on them and didn’t think much of it, but happy to help.

10/28 – Diana sends me about 10 emails full of pictures that need to be put in a book for a child who has been adopted, “Heidi”. I open one of the emails and see this picture of Heidi and her best friend, “Gwynne”. I am immediately drawn to Gwynne and ask more about her. She is still in China! They are supposed to be working on her file, and we are trying to see where that stands. I showed the picture to Richard just because I was so smitten with her.
best friends

10/29 – I share with Richard that I can’t get this little girl off my brain and heart. I asked him to pray about the possibility that she is ours. I told him that I was not saying she was our daughter, but if she was...we couldn't leave her in China! He agreed to pray about it but also stated that he really hoped “now” wasn’t the time. I can’t say I disagreed with that sentiment. This was not something I was pushing for.

11/1 – Richard and I go out to dinner and have a long conversation. We decided that we would jump in with both feet and go back to China. Actually, he said, “I’ve been thinking about it. We might as well start our paperwork.” I have to say…I was kind of shocked! We decided that Wesleigh needs a sister to grow up with. I am hoping that we can miraculously time it right to be able to get Gwynne, but I am afraid that her file will be sent to the CCAA before we’re ready with our paperwork.

11/10 – I tell my mom that we have decided to adopt again. She is shocked and thrilled. I reminded her of the fortune cookie at church and we laugh. She says, “I don’t know…you might should have gone to the conference, maybe He would have given you an easier dream”. lol...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One More Step

I called USCIS today and found out that my I800A was approved on 3/7!! I should be getting my 797c any day now and then my dossier can be sent off to China! For all of you waiting for yours: my notice date was 1/11/11. My total time for approval: 55 days. Right about average for right now.

Miss Gracie has a birthday coming up so I sent her a birthday package. Wesleigh and I went shopping together for her and she really had a great time picking out some special things. Before I put everything into the box, I wrapped the in princess wrapping paper. I send a family picture and a small album filled with various pics. I hope I get some pics of her getting her gift!!


Our boys were off school for the Mardi Gras holidays so we headed to Richard's parents for a few days. We had a great visit. I didn't take many pictures because we really didn't do anything special....just hung out and got to chill out for a few days. These are the woods behind their house. Richard was bringing Wesleigh to check out what the stinky boys were doing.

Richard's cousin brought Wesleigh this doll as a gift. She was so excited. The doll's name is Ling, but Wesleigh told me her name is Sienna. She did this all on her own without any prompting by me. I love this because she named her Sienna after Diana's Sienna. She sees many pics of Sienna and Ruby. I love that they came to mind.

These 4 boys spent hours playing dominos. They had a great time!

This dress was another gift Wesleigh received. She just had to try it on. She loved it and kept twirling around in it. She walked up to the table and told them to look at her as she twirled around for them. Too cute!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Two of the boys went back to school today and one is off the whole week. I keep thinking it's Monday!! We have 2 ball tournaments and 1 band concert this weekend, so I'd better be ready!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Questions and Answers

I'm still working on our storry post. When you see how long it is, you'll understand why it's taking me so long.

So I thought, in the meantime, I would answer some questions and show you these hysterical pictures!

Wesleigh might be a priss pot, but she definitely shows the influence of her brothers sometimes. She found this play knife in the backyard the other day.

I wish you could hear the "arghhh" that go along with this face!

Then she bends down in this pose! I do not think she's seen that here. At least, I've never seen my boys do this. She stayed down like this for a few seconds. It looked like the perfect tai chi move!!
DSC_1270 have questions...Let's see....

1. What does W think about having a new sister? We have told her. She has seen pictures of Gracie and we tell her Gracie is her sister. I don't think she comprehends any of it. Maybe when we put the beds in her room it will become a little clearer. I don't think any child this young can comprehend how this is going to affect her life.

2. Are they going to share rooms? Yes. I am out of rooms! I am currently shopping for beds.

3. Who is going to China? Richard, Cade and I am going to China. I think Wesleigh is going to have a very hard time sharing me and I don't feel it's fair to Gracie to have to deal with Wesleigh's jealousy while Gracie is going through this major life change. There is also the issue of money. We're hoping to spend a little less this trip. Also, Bryce and Braden are older and missing 2 weeks of school, for them, would be a big deal. They will stay here with Wesleigh and my parents. They will be a HUGE help with her. On the other hand, after the boys were such a help last time, I can't go without one of them! Since Cade can still miss the school, he's in! Cade is thrilled. The other two, not so much, but they take their role with Wesleigh very seriously and understand the decision.

4. Where are we in the process? We are waiting for our 797C (immigration approval). This is the last piece of our dossier and we are hoping it might come next week. As soon as it does, our dossier will go to China and we will be in line for our LOA.

5. When do you think you'll travel? My best guess is Aug. or Sept. Who knows? There are so many steps, and it depends on how fast we get through each one.

6. How will Wesleigh do sharing the attention? Well.....this is going to be a HUGE adjustment for Miss W. I have to admit that I am a little sad for her. She doesn't even really like to share me with the boys. We are going to be working on that, but I think it's going to be hard for her. In the long worth it!

7. How close are they in age? Wesleigh turned 3 on Feb. 12. Gracie will turn 3 on April 8.

That's all I remember. If there are more, ask away! Hope you all have a great weekend!! We are on the run, like always!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holy Moly!!!

That's ALOT of kids!!!

I know many of you are way past me, but never would I have thought I'd have 5 little cuties up there!! There's something about seeing them all lined up on that header that is a little dose of reality!!

In other news....Spring Has Sprung!

I can't even believe it. The first half of Feb. was the coldest on record for us, here. But the second half has felt like April! I am not complaining in the least, but it is a little odd to be picking spring clothes to wear in the mornings. Everything has budded out and turning green. Hopefully, there's no turning back now!!

Of course, I have been snapping pics since she's wearing her new clothes and we've been able to go outside. Here are some to share:



She can almost reach the petals!

The Mardi Gras beads were her addition to this outfit ;)


LOVE this!

I'm not sure how it started, but she'll point the camera at me and say "pose". Of course, I come up with some prissy camera pose for her. Well, this is what she gave me when I told her to "pose". :) Gotta love it!!

Hope spring is on it's way to all my buddies who are still freezing!!
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