Thursday, July 31, 2008

Promised Photos...

So, here are some pictures from our weekend with my inlaws. Lily had such a great time with her cousins Morgan and Macey. They don't see each other very often, but they don't let that stop them. There is only a 5 month age difference between Lily and Macey, so the two of them REALLY hit it off this trip. They were so much fun to watch.

SERIOUS crafters at work. (thank you Kristen for bringing all the supplies. It was a great idea! And, thank you for Lily's 10,000 beads too - not a day goes by that I don't step on at least 3 of them that didn't quite make it onto a piece of jewelry! hehe)

Lily gettin' some love from her great-papa!

While there, we celebrated Papa D's birthday. The girls devoured his cake and had the blue tongues to prove it!
As always, we were thankful for the sweet time spent with family, and look forward to seeing them again.

Now, Monday morning Lily and I headed out to spend the day with friends. My good friend Nicole was in town from Idaho, so we went to her mom's house (on the lake) to spend some quality time with her before she had to go back. (sniff)
It was ALL girls...4 adults, and 5 kiddos. My friend Kris brought her adorable 2 month old and the "older" girls were obnoxiously interested in her. Don't worry, the baby was never harmed in any way...even though the picture tells a different story!

Of course, we spent time in the water! (duh)
And, yes, I could have posted a better picture of Lily - you may be thinking "What a goofy face she's making"...and she is. But, this is a face that she actually makes all the time, and it I've grown quite fond of it. She's quirky, and I like it. Most days.

Cuteness times two.

Lily is saying "Look into my eyes, want to stay in Michigan. There is nothing good in Idaho...Just stay HERE, where you have so many friends who love you. And, we can hang out at your lakehouse all the time."
But, alas, Nicole is now back in Idaho.
(It was worth a shot though, Lil!)

Happy Friday to all. Have a blessed weekend!
I will be spending time with my cousin and her kids who are in town from Florida. Oh, and working. everyday. but we won't dwell on that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover - Garden Edition

We had a wonderful weekend away with my are coming soon. We also spent Monday with friends on a lake and I have cute pics of that day coming too, but FIRST...I just had to share the amazing thing that happened to us. As I've mentioned (many) times before, I am really good friends with my neighbor Shannon. And, because of her, I have become friends with several of her family members - including her cousin Brian and his wife Melissa. (I just did a post about the party they threw a couple weeks ago)...anyhow, Melissa is extremely talented when it comes to gardening. Her home is like something you'd see pictured in a magazine. So, I had mentioned to them that my front yard was in desperate need of some help. It was REALLY bad. Basically, it consisted of a couple hostas, some lilies, and a whole lotta weeds. So, Melissa had agreed to come over one day this week to give me some advice, and I was so very grateful. However, when we pulled in our driveway Sunday night, I heard Lily shrieking from the backseat "look at the lilies!!" Then I started to take everything in. I was wondering if I was at the right house! Shannon and her husband Dave, Brian, Melissa, Kristen (Shannon's SIL), and many others had spent the entire day re-doing our front yard. It looks so beautiful and we are just so thankful to have found such wonderful, thoughtful, generous, kind, and selfless friends in these people. We now consider them to be our extended family...aren't we BLESSED!?!?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

First, I just want to say that this is one of my very favorite pictures of Lily. It was taken in Tennessee...where Lily now claims she wants to live! Lily was so happy to get her photo taken in her pink cowgirl hat in front of HER flowers (aka lilies). Jay took it with his cell phone and sent it to a couple of friends at work...well, they printed and framed it for us and surprised us with it last week. Do we have good friends, or what!?

Speaking of good friends: thank you all for your comments on my last post. I love you all so much and I am so appreciative of your constant support and encouragement. (I think we have started one heck of a choir!!!)

Anyway, we are headed out this weekend. Going to spend some time with Jay's parents (Papa and Booma D)...Lily is beside herself with excitement. She was on the phone with Jay earlier telling him "I just can't wait dad. I wanna go now...because I yuv dem so much!"
She has such a sweet and sensitive little heart.
The other night I was creeping in the front door after work (shortly after midnight) when I heard Lily call out from her room.
Lily: What is that? (pause) Who is that!?
Me: (coming into her room) It's just me, honey. I just got home from work.
Lily: Oh mommy, you're back! I missed you, but I didn't pwy. (cry)
Me: I know. Daddy told me you were a really good girl tonite.
Lily: Yeah, now can I have a wittle snuggle pweese.
Me: Of course...scootch over.

She really is a sweetheart. I couldn't make this stuff up! She is constantly asking to make cards for people. She woke up Monday morning and said "Mommy, we need to make a card for Brian and Mewissa cuz dey wet us come over to dere house."
The sassy side is still there, but it doesn't seem to be showing up very often. And, when it does, I deal with it and she is usually quite quick to apologize. I just love this girl!

Have a great weekend...see ya next week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fixing My Eyes

My week started off kinda rough. We had applied for an adoption loan (to cover our agency's fees that are due soon) and we got the call on Monday that we had been denied. I just started to cry. Then, this adoption that had been going along so nicely, began to crumble before my eyes. All of a sudden the financial burden was too much - Jay began telling me that perhaps we shouldn't go through with it. He reminded me that we have a roof that will need replacing, an air conditioner that won't last many more summers, not to mention the debt that we are already in. He mentioned that he had been discouraged by someone close to us - someone who doesn't think we are being wise in our decision to adopt again right now. All of a sudden, adopting again didn't make much sense. I mean, we are working our tails off to try and save some money, but there is no way we can do all of it on our own. I even started thinking "Hey, it might just be easier if we don't do it." But, my heart was breaking even at the thought. This baby is already mine somehow. This is how I "carry" my children. In my heart...until I can bring them home. I know this is God's plan for our lives...but, I allowed myself to stay in that funk all day. Tossed and turned all night as well.
Tuesday morning I called my mom. She was on the golf course and couldn't talk, but just KNEW something was wrong with me. I gave her the short version of the events from the day before. Her response: "Nikki, go get your Bible, get a word from the Lord and hang on to it...I'll call you in awhile." So, being the obedient daughter that I am (haha)...that's exactly what I did. I sat down with my bible and thought "where on earth do I begin?" So, I just said a little prayer and randomly opened it up. And, wouldn't you know it? I turned to a very familiar place (it's all underlined in my bible): Isaiah 54:1 "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy..." it goes on to say things like "enlarge the place of your tent...for you will spread out to the right and to the left...Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace, you will not be humiliated." I just sat back and let the tears fall. This time they were tears of joy - tears of gratitude for a Savior who loves me enough to meet me where I am. One who really means "When you seek me, you will find me, when you search for me with all of your heart."
Awhile later my mom called me back and told me that she and my dad would be loaning us the money - she quoted my dad as saying "You tell Nikki there is no way she is losing this baby." So, there were more tears. Not only does my Heavenly Father love me in a way that rocks my world, but He has blessed me with parents here on earth who REALLY GET IT. Now, Jay called a few minutes later to tell me that he had come up with almost half of the fees, so we don't have to borrow the entire amount from my parents. Woo-hoo!
What a difference a day makes. Actually, what a difference a perspective makes. I was like Peter walking on the water...everything was smooth sailing as long as he was lookin' at Jesus. As soon as he started to look at the storm around him, he began to sink. I took my eyes off Jesus, and immediately began to sink!
That night I got in my car to go to work and my CD kicked in full blast (Jay had just put a bunch of his CD's in my changer that he thought I might like...he does this quite often.) Anyhow, the song was blaring "Fix your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

So, here I am, a barren woman singing of God's goodness, his glory, and His grace. I'm fixing my eyes upon Jesus and letting the things of earth (financial burdens, negative comments, doubt, etc) grow strangely dim.

Won't you sing with me?
(Gwen, I KNOW you're singing with me! Thank you SO much for being there for me this week. Your friendship is a priceless treasure from the Lord.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Movie Monday

Here are our little performers. Katie (the oldest) decided she didn't want to be in the spotlight, so she quickly exited stage left!

Scroll down for more pictures from the party!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Partyin' with pipes n drums

Brian and Melissa threw a great party Saturday night and we were lucky enough to get an invite.
Melissa went to great lengths to make sure the kids were happy and busy. She had a big table set up with several crafts...they were a BIG hit!

We were entertained by Brian and one other member of his band. We all enjoyed it so very much...even many of their neighbors stopped by, or were clapping from their own yards.

The kids loved it as well. They were dancin' some jigs on the patio.

When they needed a rest - there was a giant hammock that they could all fit on together.

After the band was done...the kiddos decided THEY would entertain us for awhile. (I have a video I'll post later.) They seriously couldn't have been any cuter.
We ate like kings...I tried my very first (but hopefully not my last) meat pie. Yum!
We just had such a blast enjoying a somewhat rainy, but wonderful evening with friends.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Summer Fun...and Lil' Tidbits

If only summer could go on forever...we are having so much fun! I'm adjusting to all of my night shifts, and enjoying the fact that Lily and I have our days to go to the beach, or hang out at the fountains. Lily is completely content to play in the water, or sand. (for hours.) I have actually been able to lay out in the sun and RELAX! I have a tan! ME! And, I also want to thank my good friend over at Lady In Waiting for giving my blog such a fun summer makeover. It just makes me SMILE!

(This might be my favorite picture of the bunch)

SUCH concentration!

Lily and Pay-Pay! (sweet little fishies)

Now for some Lil' Tidbits:
-Lily called me into her room late one night to tell me that her ring was too tight on her finger. I struggled a bit and finally got it off of her. She asked "Mommy, did it weave a mark?" I told her that yes, it probably did. She asked "Can God heal my finger?" I replied "Of course He can. God can do anything." So, she turned on her side and said "God, pwease heal my finger and make the mark go away. Haymen." I thought it was so cute, so I giggled. She said "Mommy, are you waughing cuz I pway so good?"
-She was upset, at first, about me working so many shifts. So, I explained to her that I need to make money for groceries, toys, etc. So, she has now decided that SHE would like to make money too. I told her she is still too young to get a real job, but if she wants to do some housework for me I'll give her some money. So, yesterday I asked her what she wanted to do and she replied "housework, pwease."
-The other day she was holding both of her index fingers up, so I grabbed one. She said "Mommy, that is my butt finger!" I inquired "Lily, what exactly is your BUTT finger!?" Her answer: "It's the finger that goes in my pwack to see what's happenin'." Oh no she didn't!
On that note, I'll bid you farewell. I'm going to enjoy my day off...going to see Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W Smith in concert tonight, can't wait!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another week...

Another week gone...they fly by in the summer, don't they!? With my new schedule, I'm just trying to get the very most out of my days with Lily, since I am not with her most evenings. We're enjoying ourselves quite a bit!
Last Saturday Jay took her to the monthly Home Depot project day...they built a beautiful birdhouse and promptly came home to paint it. Now it hangs in our tree out front. She is becoming very handy, like her dad. The other day she was "helping" me with housework - she was vacuuming next to me with her little vacuum when its light went out and it stopped making it's vroom vroom noises. She, very dramatically, told me "Stop, momma! Stop! My vacuum is bwoken...I'll be wight back!" So she ran off to her room and appeared minutes later, toolbox in hand. She then removed her screwdriver, took off the battery cover and told me to get her new batteries, which I did. Then she (with very little help from me) screwed the cover back on, and we were back to our housework.

We spend most of our time outside, though. (duh) She loves hopscotch, and REALLY gets into it. I love that blurry pic, cuz you can see she really gives it her all!

We're across the street at Shannon's all the time.
The other day they swam, and then had a total messy blast with sidewalk paint. Which Lily has demanded that we purchase for our house now. Tarjay, here we come.

We, of course, spend tons of time with my sister and her kiddos. The older two were in Chicago all week, so it was just Lily and Payton.
They played hard together, and Lily decided it was time for a cappuccino break. Yeah, her new favorite treat is French Vanilla Cappuccino. Don't sweat it, it's decaf. and I only fill that tiny cup about halfway.
She thinks it's a little piece of heaven.

Got cappuccino?
Anyway, that's a bit of what we've been up to. Life is good. Lily hasn't made anymore comments about wanting a new mommy. Thanks for the words of encouragement on that one, but I do know that she doesn't mean it. She wikes her famiwee. She also still talks a lot about being a big sister. She is now open to a baby sister OR brother. (before she was animate about the fact that it MUST be a baby sister.) So, that's progress, since we have a 50/50 chance of a boy this time around. On that note, I turned in my paperwork this morning...check! And, speaking of checks, my parents wrote the one that paid the paperwork fee. It was such an incredible blessing to us. Thank you, dad and mom! XO
Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Four...going on fourteen?

Well, I had mentioned awhile ago that age 4 was lookin' like it might be "the year of sass"...and I am pretty convinced that I was right on!

While Lily is still the apple of my eye, and a wonderful, bright and shining star...she has begun behaving in ways (at times) that I am less than thrilled with. Examples, you say? You would like some examples? OK, here goes:

Last Saturday the three of us went for a walk in our downtown area. We took Lily past a fountain and I gave her some coins to throw in. I also told her that people say you should make a wish as you throw in your coins...she thought that was a great idea. (Throwing in her first coin) "I wish I was an astronaut!" (Second coin) "I wish I was back in Tennessee!" (third coin) "I wish I was caught up in a big, soapy bubble!" (and the 4th, and final coin) "I wish I had another mommy!" Then she shot me a look, waiting for me to respond. Hmmm...I was a bit stunned, so it took me a minute. We had a short conversation about WHY she would wish for another mommy. Turns out she would like her Aunt Jody to be her mom. She told me she "didn't want me". I am "not nice", apparently. I totally blame Aunt Jody for this outburst. She can't say "no" to my girl! (haha!) Anyway, she has said this a few times since then. I don't know exactly how to handle it. I'm hoping it's short-lived. It's weird - I know she doesn't really mean it, but it still doesn't feel real good. Fortunately, she does usually come back after awhile to tell me she does love me and that she wants me to be her mom. Gee, thanks kid.

Another example (as if more were needed, after that!): When she doesn't get her own way, she gets huffy. She won't throw a temper tantrum or anything, but she'll let you know she's ticked. Often she will storm in her room and shut the door. At 4? Really? Is 4 the new 14 or something?

Now, these incidents are rare. But, I do need to document them...I don't want Lily, as an adult, reading back on these and thinking she was THE perfect kiddo.

I hope everyone is having a good week. Sorry that I haven't been around as much lately. I started my new schedule at work (4 nites, 1 day), so by the time I get home at nite I'm too exhausted to do much of anything. I have almost completed the paperwork for adoption number 2, so that is exciting. I'm ready to officially begin "waiting".
That's all for now!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July Festivities

This year we were invited to a backyard BBQ followed by fireworks at my neighbor Shannon's brother's house. I'm so thankful for my friendship with Shannon, and I am getting to know her entire family really well this summer and we're all having such fun together! Lily had SUCH a blast at the party...from the moment we got there she was off and playing. They had a great play structure with swings, a climbing wall, and a big slide - so she was set. She and Laney (Shannon's youngest) play really well together. Actually, I was impressed with all of the kids - they all had a great time together for hours!

Like Lily's big smile in the picture with momma? Yeah, she does that on purpose to irritate me. Seriously she does. She IS a Hunan spice girl - she's gotta show her spicy side sometimes.

My girl can hula! (or at least she thinks she can!)

She built a "glow necklace for two" and shared it with one of her favorite guys - Mr. Brian.

The fireworks were fun too. Lily likes to watch them, but says they're too she and daddy take turns plugging her ears!

Seems like we have just been so busy this summer. I honestly can't believe that July is here already. I am working frantically on paperwork for the adoption, working 5 shifts, and trying to keep sweet Lily entertained.
She is doing really well. She still loves to spend time watering her garden, painting, making cards for people, helping me in the kitchen, swimming, spending time across the street at Shannon's, and hangin' out with her cousins. She can, at times, hand out a little too much attitude...but I'm working on that. Most times she is as sweet as they come, so I can't really complain.
Have a safe and happy weekend...and I'll leave you with this shot. Appropriate "end"ing, yes?