Monday, March 31, 2014

Good-bye 8 - Hello 9


Tomorrow we say good-bye to an eight year old and hello to a 9 year old.  This will be the third birthday we have celebrated together.  The first one was only weeks after we became a family.  Last year was everything a kids birthday should be complete with friends and lots of excitement.  Tomorrow will be a family celebration and on the weekend a celebration with aunts, uncles and grandmas. 

I can’t believe we are at this point again.  How did another year slip into the history books?  How did shirts get too small, pants get too short and a little girl start to transform into a “big” girl?  It just goes so quickly. 

Year 8 has been filed with milestones:

  • Completion of first grade
  • Start of second grade
  • Road trips to Branson, MO and the Black Hills of South Dakota
  • No more training wheels on her bike
  • Said good-bye to her goods friends when they moved to Florida
  • Got a US passport
  • Received Outstanding Student in Math and Handwriting at the end of first grade
  • First Brewer’s baseball game
  • Experienced the loss of a very loved pet – RIP Abby
  • Made many new friends at our new church
  • Learned to ice skate

It has been a busy year.  I can’t believe how quickly time passes. 

As we say good-bye to 8 and hello to 9 my prayer is that God will continue to grow her into a godly young women that will serve Him faithful and that as her parents, we will faithfully teach and model what being a Christ-follower is on a day-to-day basis.      

Friday, October 18, 2013

Long overdue update


I haven’t stopped by here for awhile to update Brooklyn’s blog.  Mostly because she is just a normal second grader, enjoying normal second grade stuff. 
Brooklyn’s teacher designates one week of the year for each student to be the “Star Student” for the week.  They bring in pictures, choose a special treat for Friday, are teacher’s helper all week, line leader… you get the idea.  This was Brooklyn’s week.  She was so excited about it.  At the end of the day today, I am brining in her favorite dog, Willow, for her to show her class.  She was trying to keep it a secret.  Not sure if she has. 
She also had a field trip this week.  The kids spent the day at Busy Barns Farm.  They had a great time.  There is so much to do there.  Animals to hold, corn mazes, slides, pumpkin patch…  She was exhausted when she got home and absolutely filthy but she had a great time.
Brooklyn and her best friend on their field trip.
 
Next week she gets glasses.  She has been having headaches and told the teacher when she moved to the front of class, “Oh good, I can see the board.”  So, we headed off to the eye doctor.  Her eyes aren’t terrible but enough that glasses are needed.  She is super excited about it.  She told us in the car after we had ordered her glasses that now we were all alike because we all wear glasses. 

We also started orthodontics.  We are trying to make a bit more space in her mouth for teeth.  She has a small mouth with large teeth.  This should help some but she will most likely need more work as she gets older. 
So, as you can see, a very typical second grader.  She loves school and is doing well.  I continue to be amazed at her heart for God and her hunger for the Word of God.  She loves Bible stories and will always ask for us to read them to her.  We are so blessed to be her parents. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Long Overdue Update

Life gets in the way of updates sometimes.  Here is a recent picture.

Brooklyn finished school and has been spending the summer at home with Dennis.  One of her big accomplishements this summer is learning to swim.  She has been enjoying swimming lessons and loves to go to the pool.

We have not been traveling this summer as Dennis has weekly blood tests but we hope to get a vacation in before summer is over.  We have been enjoying some summer activities in our area including fireworks and county fairs. 

We continue to marvel at the amazing gift God gave us in this incredible little girl. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Loved Seven



As of yesterday, we no longer have a seven year old in the family.  I loved seven and will miss it a lot.  Seven was a year of discovery and adventure for all of us.  More so than for most seven year old girls as it was Brooke’s first year in our family.  Some of her firsts were:

Brooke with her buddies - Abby, Maddie and Willow.
First Grade
Having a family
First Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter
Learning about Jesus
Being a very loved daughter
Snow and sledding
Balloons
Growing her hair long
Vacations
Birthday Party
Learning English
Starting Piano lessons

The list goes on and on.  I know I will love eight as well but there was something magical about this first year with Brooke in the family.  I hope I never forget the sparkle in her eyes as she relates some events from her day or is excited about the anticipation of Christmas or her birthday.  I love her fist pump and “Yes!” when she is excited about something.  I love how she asks people she meets if they love Jesus or how she sings in the bathroom – even in public ones.  I love getting notes and pictures she drew just because she wants to give something special to us.  I love how she sparkles and spins when she is wearing a full skirt just to make it puff out.  I love going into her room at night just to see her sleeping.  I hope she retains the “little” girl for a little longer.  All too quickly I know it will be replaced by a “big” girl and I will love that too but right now, I am loving the little girl and looking forward to another year of  first with an eight year old. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What a Difference


I was looking through some pictures in preparation for our one year post-placement report for China.  We have to submit eight pictures with each report.  I got browsing through some other pictures and it amazed me how much Brooke has changed.  It is amazing to see the changes in each area of her life.  God is so good.

Picture we received when we were considering adopting Brooke.

Christmas 2012

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Can’t be Super Mom

I’m turning in my cape.  I simply cannot be Super Mom.  Nope, I’m not the Mom who has homemade cupcakes, decorated perfectly for my child’s birthday.  The ones from the grocery store will have to do.  Christmas decorations have a longer shelf life than you would think.  If the tree is not down by February, we can hang hearts on it.  The house is not in perfect condition.  When I dust, you can see the trail the dust rag leaves.  Laundry breeds in my laundry room – that is the only logical explanation for the baskets full of both clean and dirty laundry.  My home will not be in the parade of homes.  The d├ęcor is not the latest thing from the Home and Garden show. 

But, I am going to be super at being my daughter’s Mommy.  I’m going to give her my full attention when she is telling me about the Bible story she learned at school today or about her struggles with her friends.  I’m going to take time to snuggle and to watch Cinderella with her for the 100th time.  I’m going to show up at school and have lunch with her just because I miss her.  I’m going to let the dust settle and the laundry piles grow because there is new snow on the ground and making a snowman is more important.  You see, I’ve come to realize that laundry will always be there, cleaning will always need to be done, she won’t care if the cupcakes came from the grocery store or not BUT she will care if I gave her my time and frankly 7½ will not last forever.  All too soon I will be wishing for her to be home more or to snuggle together before she goes to bed. 
 
I may not be Super Mom with all of externals in perfect order but I can be a super Mommy when it comes to cherishing my little girl and building a relationship and memories. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End Reflections

Dec. 31, 2012
So, today ends another year.  It is a year I will look back on with very mixed emotions.  There are definitely two halves to this year with the dividing line being 5:30 pm on June 8th. 
2012 began with the anticipation of Brooke’s arrival.  We had completed most of the paperwork and were hoping to get a travel approval before the Chinese government shut down for Chinese New Year but we missed it by just a few days.  Every day counts in this long drawn out process and some count more than others.  Thankfully we can trust the loving hand of our heavenly ather to have details worked out that are never too early and never too late.  Our travel approval arrived and we were able to plan our trip to finally bring Brooke home.  Wow, it seems like yesterday and at the same time, it seems like a lifetime ago.  We boarded a plane for China on February 29th.  After a brief stop in Beijing, we finally arrived in Shanghai.  In a room at an orphanage, Brooke walked into our lives.  Although we planned for her arrival, we could never have imagined what an incredible gift from God she would be in our lives. 
We were as ready for her arrival as any new parents can be.  We had completed several days of intense training on the needs of older adopted children, we had read books, we had talked with other parents… All of these resources were great, but frankly, Brooke is one of those rare exceptions to older child adoption.  She bonded with us quickly, adapted to her new life in our family and in general has made this whole process seem incredibly simple.   
Those first couple of months flew by.  Brooke learned English rapidly, loved her school, loved our dogs, made friends both at church and school…life as a family of three was just starting to settle into a new normal until -----
June 8th at about 5:30pm
I had just gotten home from work and the phone rang.  It was our family doctor.  Almost immediately my heart broke.  The MRI Dennis had earlier in the day showed a mass in his brain.  Every speck of normal was shattered.  We were being told to head to the ER of a large hospital in our area.  They would be expecting us.  Pack a bag and head there as soon as possible.  I remember calling a friend to see if we could drop Brooke off for the night.  I had to tell her three times that Dennis had something in his brain before she could grasp what I was saying.  I think we all felt that way.  I’m still thankful for these wonderful friends who helped us through that night and helped Brooke be ok too.  Since you all know the “rest of the story”, we were plunged into the world of cancer that night.  Brain surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and trial drug programs became our new normal.  We went from the joy of a new child to the fear, stress, anxiety of a very serious health situation with one phone call.
Our “normal” had shifted and will never be the same again.  We no longer take time for granted.  Each and every day is precious.  We don’t put off for tomorrow anything that we can possibly do today.  We cherish the big and small things that make life precious.  We grab a camera to record a moment far more frequently.  We live far more conscious of just how quickly life can change. 
We have grown this year.  Not just from a family of two to a family of three, but in far more important ways.  I’ve seen Dennis grow as his intense desire he had before his illness to live out his faith in day-to-day, has taken deeper meaning and focus.  God has been teaching me to wait on Him and trust Him.  We have seen God at work in our lives through the hands of those around us who have helped us in too many ways to even count. We have watched Brooke gasp that Jesus loves her and has always been watching over her even before she ever heard His name.  Overall, we can say, “God is faithful.”  He is faithful in the joyful and good times and He is faithful in the hard times. 
2012 was not what we expected.  Our plans would have looked much different but even though it has at times been extremely painful it has been good.  What is ahead for us in 2013 is yet to be seen but we know we can trust in the One who knows the future.