Monday, September 22, 2014

Mama Katie.

So remember that day Ella started Kindergarten? And she bawled without any hesitation? Yes, that day. Well, Mama Katie took care of me. We pampered our toes.

And drank coffee, and wondered about how our girls were doing in their new life. And it was a perfect way to spend my day. She kept me laughing even though we both knew we kinda wanted to cry all day.

Just before leaving to pick up Ella from school, I heard a gentle knock on the door. One of my FCC Mamas who just also happens to have an amazing cut flower business hand delivered these magnificent blooms from her garden as she was out on deliveries. You could have blown me over with a feather. I was so deeply touched. She saw the photos of Ella's first morning of school on the ever-popular social media site and thought I could use a little love myself.

Her blooms lasted a full two weeks and served as a constant reminder to me how much we are loved. My pretty pedicure is still going strong reminding me of how Katie took such good care of me, too.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

You knew each other before you knew us...

Once upon a time there were two little girls. They were six weeks apart in age. They were raised in the same orphanage and adopted almost six weeks apart from each other. Based on their tan lines, they were probably with foster families, maybe even in the same orphanage village. They resembled each other very much. Half way around the world there were two mamas-in-waiting that 'met' on an Internet adoption group page. These mamas hit it off. Hundreds of miles separated these two mamas but it didn't stop them from nurturing a really special friendship. Adoption can do that.
Ella, Kunming February 2010.

Hannah, Kunming March 2010.
Stars and calendars and travel aligned. These two were reunited last month. We spent 24 hours face to face in Cleveland. We started out on a very hot morning at the zoo. Huge. Hit.

After about 10 minutes of being together.
The mamas marveled and cried happy tears in the beginning, in between and at the end. There was panda love, not to mention cool panda shirts. There were screeches and laughter.


They are such stunning girls and each so beautifully unique with this inescapable bond. It was as if they were picking up where they left off. No, it wasn't 'as if' they actually were picking up where they left off.

I feel it in my being.

Larry was a big hit.

Swimming at the extremely funky hotel was also a big hit.

Here we are at dinner about 8 hours into our visit and Mara and I are still in disbelief that we are all together.
The view from our room at the pool. Told you it was fun!
After a much needed good night's rest, we hit the outdoor patio with much needed coffee. And the adults were ecstatic to see a portion of their childhood awaiting them on the game shelf.

 Chris did a fine job of showing the girls how to play Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robots.

What a truly special gift for all of us. Ella hasn't stopped talking about Hannah since our visit, especially when she sees a bird of any sort (Hannah's favorite). Until the next time, sweet friends. Thank you for such wonderful memories for our girls.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

For the love....

...I have three, THREE, blog posts in draft form just waiting for edits, additions.

Since September 2nd our life has been turned upside down.

We have one more day to complete Ella's second week of Kindergarten. Let it be known: she is counting the seconds until Friday.

She is making friends.

She is learning.

She does like her teacher, very much.

Her school is awesome.

Her teacher is awesome (and we have become quick email buddies).

But Ella is a mess. And she doesn't want to be away from me. And she thinks school is too long. For the last nine nights (even the weekends, much to my dismay), she has been up as early as 4am screaming for me and finding her way to our bed. Note to self: co-sleeping with a five year old is 'cozy' in a queen sized bed.

Did I mention crying? Did I mention anxiety? Did I mention repetitive questions? Yes. Yes. Yes.

So I'm finding absolutely no energy to update the blog once I get her into bed after the last crying session. Me? I'm tough as nails at this point. My heart breaks for her anxiety and listening to her wail for me as she walks to her classroom is pretty awful. But she's looking for a crack in my resolve. I know my girl :)

Lillian is one of these great new buddies.

Her very own Frozen cape to celebrate her first week of survival!

Knitted with love by my friend Susan. So sweet.

Breakfast on Saturday with her Daddy's band.

With Lily at Ah-men for our community service project day.

Swinging in the late afternoon sun with a new friend at the park.

Doing what she does best: assisting me in the kitchen as we make food for others.
Tomorrow we plan to hook up with Katie and Roz after school to celebrate Mama Katie's birthday, even if that means just letting the girls run wild in the house screaming with delight that it is Friday...finally!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You Did It, Ella. You Did It.

It is 9:50pm on September 2nd. Baby Girl had her first day of Kindergarten. This picture was taken a few minutes ago. She is in our bed. I have my laptop and stuff scattered everywhere because she was so hysterical that I needed to do something to calm her. She wanted to be next to me, the tired out little soul.


I made this lunch last night and have never put more love or thought into a packed lunch in all my life.

She ate every crumb, which surprises me more than anything because she is picky...and slow.

Sleeping was incredibly rough last night. As all good parents do, we had her in bed at a decent hour and she passed out quickly. She was up at 10:30pm yelling like the house was on fire. I tried to calm her in her room. Nope. We all slept in our bed until some blurry hour when Larry stumbled to her bed. She slept holding my hand for several hours. This is not Ella's normal mode, people.

When the alarm buzzed at 6am, this lump wouldn't move. But we got her together enough to head downstairs for breakfast...

We both had this expression because we were both thinking... "Oh boy..."

I handed her my phone to watch old videos we've taken which only lightened her mood for a few moments.

We packed up Panda in his sleeping bag for the nap in her back pack.

She took her Thomas umbrella outside to play in the rain. I was desperate for anything to lighten the mood and didn't care if she went to school half soaked at this point.

Then we headed over to school, about a 2.5 minute ride with traffic. When the seat belt clicked, the wailing began.

"I will carry you as long as you want me to", he says. So probably the only Kindergarten kid to be carried to the front doors of the school was our kid. And it was perfect. 

These make my heart ache a little bit. 

She was trying to be incredibly brave.

 Rufus and his family are relatively new to our neighborhood but we got to hang out with all of them a few times recently. He's cool. His big sis is cool and so are his parents. We were pumped that he was at Ella's table!

You know all those cute pics of kids holding up chalkboards "First Day of Kindergarten" splashed across them in cool handwriting? We've got this folks, and well, this is about as real as it gets.
The three of us trying to hold it together!

I know she is going to rock this. She's a smart kid. It is a great school. I know it will get easier. I know it will take Ella months before we hit that 'easier' landmark. That's our girl. Right now, this is our reality.

When I picked her up from school today, she ran to me, jumped in my arms and wept so quietly and hard that she did that hyperventilating hiccup-y crying thing. There we stood at the flag pole wrapped into each other, kids running all around us yelling and laughing. I just rocked her back and forth, wept with her and said, "You did it. You did it."

Ice cream with Panda to wash away tears.
There was a first day of Kindergarten deal made awhile back between Ella and her Papa, as only Papa could do. She was thrilled to have them over tonight so that this could be delivered!

 Our little dragon lover.

A new chapter with new challenges. Ready or not...


PS: Can I just say how stinkin' cute she looked in that uniform?