Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tears of Joy

Yesterday as I watched Zoe do her round-off back-handspring at gymnastics for the first time ever (& by herself I might add!), tears started streaming down my face. They weren't tears of anger or sadness, but tears of joy. I suddenly had flashbacks to that little girl that we met a little over 5 years ago that was scared & wondering why everything she had ever known was being taken from her. Yesterday's event made me realize just how far Zoe has come.

Since then I keep looking at her & trying to imagine her life without adoption: living in an orphanage, longing to be part of a family while watching so many of the other children at the orphanage join their forever families. And then I think to myself, isn't that what all orphans worldwide want - a forever family? A forever family that will show them love, comfort, kindness, respect, etc.

But isn't that what I was longing for? A child to be part of me, to show me love - an unconditional love that only a mother knows? I never could have imagined how my world was going to change when meeting Zoe! And because of it, I thank God everyday for giving me the opportunity to be her mother. There's no better feeling in the world - tears & all!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lemonade for Eli: {Sunday Snapshot}

Recently friends of ours received approval from China to adopt a little boy they plan on naming Eli.

With travel looking sooner than what they had originally planned, the family is brainstorming ideas of ways to have the funds they need to bring Eli home. So, with that being said....Zoe heard Paul & I discussing their situation. She came up with the idea of having a lemonade stand with all of the proceeds going to Eli's soon-to-be forever family to help get him home. Needless to say, her idea was very successful.

Zoe held her Lemonade for Eli stand in front of the funeral home on Thursday of this past week. (She talked about having it in front of our house, but her dad explained to her that she wouldn't have many buyers since our road is not busy. Instead, he talked her into having it in front of the funeral home which sits on a major highway.) Zoe made all of the signs & was quite the seller - waving to all the cars driving past encouraging them to stop.

The grand total for 2 1/2 hours of work - $72.50!

(When our friends get their adoption site up & running, I will pass it along!)

Ni Hao Y'all

Monday, July 19, 2010

What a Week!

Last week was so busy, but yet, so much fun. We had company in & out all week. The busyness started last Sunday & ended Saturday!

Sunday: Zoe & I went to Paul's grandma's & aunt's about an hour away. Enjoyed visiting & eating lunch with them. We stopped at a "mom & pop" ice cream stand on the way home for a dreamsicle cone. (The BEST vanilla & orange sherbert twist cones!)

Monday: One of my co-workers, her two daughters, & a friend came over to swim. Zoe loved hanging out with Morgan & Madison.

Tuesday: Gymnastics!

Wednesday: My sister Heather (Yes, I have a sister named Heather. No, we are not like George Foreman & every girl in the family is named Heather. It just so happened that my sister Heather & I are the same age - she is the oldest by a couple of months - but our parents did not marry until we were both adults!), & her two daughters, Megan & Gracie, spent the day with us. We had a blast. We swam & just basically hung out.

Gracie posing in the pool!

Zoe & Gracie were doing gymnastics!

Helping Uncle Paul clean the fish bowl.

Look at that hair! This was after her nap.

Rockin' out on Zoe's guitar.

Thursday: Paul's nephew Austen & his cousin Camille, both from Baton Rouge, arrived about 2 in the morning. Once they were up & at it for the day, the two of them plus Zoe & I enjoyed a very hot day (about 110' with the heat index) at S*x Fl*gs. We all had a blast. There was not a big crowd so we were able to stay on the rides without having to get off for a second & third time. Before arriving home, I met my sister Tracy & picked up my nephew Blake & his friend Aaron. They spent the night with us also.

Friday: Austen & Camille headed to the grandparents' house to spend the rest of the weekend. Zoe, Blake, Aaron, & I went to gymnastics & then joined one of Zoe's friends & her family (Gracie, Rylan, & Cortney) at a family pizza join. There were lots of games, go-carts, bumper cars, bowling, etc. We had a blast.

Zoe playing Skeet Ball.

Gracie & Zoe bowling with attitudes!

Just a pretty smile!

Zoe riding in a roller coaster simulator!

We arrived home to my sister Tracy, her husband Brent, & their oldest son Zack. They spent the night after a full day of baseball games. Zoe spent the night with her friend Gracie.

Saturday: All the relatives left today. Paul worked & I swam in the backyard with some friends.

It was an eventful week. As I look back on it, I am reminded how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends & family. Even though we are busy busy, we love it!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Pottery Place

Our two older nieces took a little time out of their busy schedules to spend a night with us. I asked Zoe the night before they came to stay what she would like to do. She wanted to go to the pottery place. So, with approval from Courtney & Megan the four of us headed there for the afternoon.

Zoe working on her "I Love Dad" mug.

Courtney painting her four-wheeler.

Megan smiling as she waits for the black paint.

Zoe had been to the pottery place before with a friend. I must say it was fun & very relaxing. I did not complete my own piece of pottery. I simply applied the extra coats that were needed on Zoe's work. Overall, we had a great time. In fact, the girls talked about wanting to go back the next time they come for a visit. (That is, if they can fit us into their busy schedules!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

She's Got Him...

(Her dad that is.)

Just. Where. She. Wants. Him.

Wrapped. Around. Her. Finger!

Every since she laid eyes on him in China, Zoe & her daddy have had such a special bond. These two torment each other like nobody's business, but yet, can't get enough of each other's unconditional love. They tease, chase, tickle, etc. but always end with a smooch & a hug.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Butterfly Princess

Zoe has been asking for quite some time for us to take her to the zoo. Even though she loves seeing the animals & riding the zoo train, she had something else up her sleeve. You see, when we went to the zoo for her kindergarten field trip, she wanted to get her face painted. However, it was not feasible at the time because her teacher had advised all chaperones that if they bought one item, they had to buy 42 items. (And since I didn't have enough money for all 42 kindergartners to get their faces painted, it just didn't happen.)

We hadn't been to the zoo 3 minutes today & Zoe was already looking for the face paint booths. After a little coersion, we finally convinced her to see some of the animals, feed the stingrays, eat lunch, & visit the penquin house before getting her face painted.

She chose the Butterfly Princess example.

Our Butterfly Princess - Zoe Gwen - 6 Years Old

Ni Hao Y'all

Friday, July 2, 2010

At the Campground

Zoe & I went camping for a few days.

My nephew Blake had a 3-day baseball tournament about 30 minutes from my parents hometown so they loaded up their motor home & pulled it in to a campground down the road from the baseball field. Zoe & I joined them for two nights while Blake stayed for one night.

We really had a good time. The weather was beautiful & the campground was so quiet.

Zoe had a ball. She loves the fact that she can get by with wearing her pajamas pretty well all day. She & Blake played at the playground, played cards, watched a movie, etc. However, the one thing we thought for sure they'd do, they didn't - swim in the pool. Hard to believe, but both Zoe & Blake chose taking a nap instead of swimming.

The campground managers live on sight & had a small shed where they raised chickens, hens, & turkeys. The animals just walked around as if the people weren't even there.

While waiting for Paw Paw & Nana to get up from their naps, Blake, Zoe, & I took a walk, went to the campground's general store to get some ice cream, & hung out on the picnic table. Zoe ended up "fixing" Blake's hair. She tried convincing him to wear his hair like that out to eat & to his ballgame. He didn't fall for that. Blake let us take a picture but after that, the pony tails came out!