Monday, December 14, 2009

The final post - - - -

Ohmigosh what a whirlwind of a year it has been! I look at the pictures from the last post, and I honestly, truly, positively can NOT believe it has been just about a year ago! Kai looked like a little peanut, and Austin still had his little-boy smile.....not so much anymore on either count.

Kai's adjustment and acceptance of us as her family has been nothing short of amazing. She is healthy, happy, funny, adorable and smart. I fully expected there to be more "bumps in the road", but everything she has experienced and all the changes in her life in the last year have been developmentally exact. We accelerated her immunizations to catch up to requirements. She has consistently grown, both in height and weight. Austin has accepted her as his little sister, and although he would tell you that she is annoying, they have moments of happiness and fun together that just melt my heart! I feel SOOOO blessed to have two such awesome kids; it is just what I ever hoped and prayed for!

Kai is a normal 2-year old who loves books, puzzles, playing with her baby dolls, putting on (and walking in!) my shoes. She is talking up a storm and making sentences with so many words I have to really concentrate to understand all of them! My favorite is when - out of the blue - she says "Ah wu you mush Momma" ("I love you much Momma")!! I tell her I love her mush too!!!

Austin turned 6 in January with a pool party at a local hotel with a heated indoor pool. He and 5 other boys swam and played like 6-year-old boys do, then we had a sleepover at the hotel. It was crazy-fun, but I am glad I don't have 7 kids! :) Kai did get to experience her first snow in early March. She wasn't too thrilled with it - - - she's like her Momma! The Winter turned into Spring with the usual flurry of kid birthday parties. Austin played baseball again and had a fun time with his buddies.

Kai was baptized on March 29th at the First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange with Dr. Doug DeCelle performing the ceremony. My parents and family got to be there along with Shawn's family and several of our dearest friends. We celebrated the happy occasion with a dinner at the country club.

Before we knew it school was out! Austin took swimming lessons with one of his BFFs then did baseball camp the following week with another BFF. Father's Day, Vacation Bible School, and camps at the club filled up many of our summer days, and we spent many weekends on our boat on the lake tubing and swimming.

Two weeks before summer's end the kids and I had the opportunity to head to the beach along with my BFF and her daughter. Kai LOVED the beach (I knew she would; she is, after all, MY daughter!)! We had an awesome time! We got home then turned around and drove to North Carolina to squeeze in a visit to my parent's house. It was short but sweet, and we got to celebrate Pop's birthday with him which was great.

In August, Austin started 1st grade at Hollis Hand and Kai began going 3 mornings a week to a preschool at St. Mark's. Both are enjoying school and learning SO much! Austin is reading really well and it is opening up a whole new world of knowledge for him. Kai loves to draw (scribble?) and can count to 13! We're still working on learning our colors and letters, but she is doing amazingly well.

Austin has been losing teeth like crazy since school started. At the present, he is missing 5 of his front teeth, including his top two middle ones. What a change it has made in his appearance! No longer a little boy - - it is bittersweet for me as his mother. I know they are both growing up, but it just happens so quickly. I really do try to savor the moments of motherhood and remind myself that they'll be grown before I know it. Kai has all her baby teeth including her two-year molars. I'm just glad that since her verbal skills have improved she has hardly used those chompers for biting others! That was a problem for a short time.

We went through the process of domestic re-adoption for Kai so that she could obtain an American birth certificate and Social Security number. She became "official" on August 27th!

Kai turned two at the end of October. I figured since she missed out on celebrating her first birthday, we should do it up big for her second! She had three birthday parties: one at preschool, one for the family and our friends from Atlanta, and one girly-girl "Sparkly" Party where everything was pink and/or glittery! It was awesome!

Now as we celebrate again the Christmas season, I am filled with joy more than ever before. My family is complete! I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. Our journey to Kai was different than how Austin came to be in our lives, but there is no less love for either child. Just like the Grinch, my heart has grown with love for my family and also my friends. Kai is not a child of our flesh, but she is a child of our hearts. There were times when I wondered whether we would be able to get to her and bring her home, but I never lost my faith in God's plan (and timing) for us. In fact, in looking back, I can see that God was making me stronger with the challenges that the adoption process brought. I had never prayed so hard in my life, and I am so very thankful that God answered our prayer, and we were able to have our precious daughter home with us. I give Him ALL the glory! Where there is great love there are miracles, and I do believe with all my heart that BOTH of my children are miracles.

The will be the final post for the blog. The journey TO Kai is over - - but the rest of the journey has only begun!

God is good - all the time - and all the time God is good!!!!!! Always keep the faith!!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A few more pictures of cuteness!

Happy 2009!

Well as anyone still checking this blog knows, I have been a terrible blogger since Kai came home. What a difference it makes with two children at home!! I am so behind on everyday tasks, it's a wonder anything is getting done. I've made it my intention to focus on spending time with my family and not worrying so much about "stuff". I recall seeing one of those e-mails not long ago about how your children won't remember whether the dishes were done or the beds were made, but they will remember the hugs, the playing together, and the laughs - - - so we've been trying to have lots of those!!

The holiday season has been especially merry and bright as a family of four - - - Kai and Austin are developing a really sweet and special relationship. My heart just melts when I see them laughing together!! He can get her going like no one else can - -- SOOO cute!!

I hope to post again real soon (really!) about all the wonderful things about Kai, but I'm sure you are all much more interested in just seeing some new pictures - - -and over a month of "Sweet, Sweet Baby" has hopefully not run EVERYONE off! :) Hope you all have a wonderful year in 2009!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Oh, how much we have to be thankful for - - - EVERY day!! Good health, lots of love, freedoms, family and friends. Thanks, God!!

We normally do Thanksgiving dinner here at our house for my family and Shawn's, but thanks to the generosity of my sweet sister Shelly and my mom and dad, we celebrated at Shelly's this year. I don't know how I could have pulled it off, and they did it beautifully!!

Kai was a great joy; very friendly and fun with everyone! We all had a great time and enjoyed a wonderful meal together.

On a sad note, Shawn's grandfather passed away on Wednesday morning. He had just turned 90, and had lived a full life, but it's always hard to accept, especially at the holiday season. Our prayers are for his family and their peace tonight.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adjusting to life at home....

Kai is doing remarkably well adjusting to her new home and surroundings - - - the rest of us are working on it! She is a happy girl - - - and just seems as if she's been here forever. She finally slept through the night last night, so that was a good thing. I've had to feed her two bottles overnight prior to that, and getting a good night's sleep was hard. But my mom came and stayed two nights this week to help out while Shawn had to be out of town. I took Austin out on Wednesday for some one-on-one time. He isn't relishing his role as a big brother yet, but I'm hoping that will come in time.

Here are some pictures from our travels back home and once we got here.....Enjoy...and don't ever forget: There IS no place like home!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

...And now there are four!

We are happily home, getting over the jetlag, and adjusting to life with our energetic one-year old and her big brother. The flight home went much better than we had anticipated; Kai is a really good traveler!!

And although it was a busy weekend, it was great to get back. My parents and some of our friends did a covert mission to welcome us home with pink bows, balloons and ribbons everywhere along with gifts for Kai and Austin and food supplies galore! Thanks to all our sweet friends and family for making us feel so special and for the love you have for Kai!! She is a lucky girl to be so embraced so quickly.

Kai has been pure joy since getting home, especially considering all the changes she has been through in the last two weeks. She is laughing and is just generally a happy girl! And she LOVES her big brother like crazy - - - it is SO cute to see her face light up when she sees him or even hears his voice. He is getting used to the idea of sharing mom and dad....

I will have more pictures to upload in the next day or so - - - - MANY thanks to you all!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Meet Kai??

We leave in a few minutes for the airport, but I wanted to let everyone know that we would like to invite whoever would like to meet Kai (and who can) to drop by this weekend! Family is invited to come on Saturday afternoon from 3:00 - 6:00, and friends can come on Sunday afternoon also from 3:00 - 6:00. I wasn't able to send out an e-mail, so hopefully enough people will see this post and can spread the word. Very informal; don't even know how Kai's schedule will be once we get home, but this has been a long time coming, and we want her to meet all the important people in her life!