Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweet Sixteen

Dear beautiful girl,

Today I watched through happy, tear filled eyes as you celebrated your birthday with us, your family, and your dear, dear friend from Ukraine.

You were drenched in love from you brothers, sister, parents, friend.

You glowed.


Afterwards you whispered to me, Mama I had the best birthday.  I haven't had a birthday like this ever, in all my years.

I cried, you cried, Dasha cried.

So much love in one little movie room.

We love you, sweet girl.

Happy Birthday to you.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My friend

Elizabeth DeHority died today.

She was dearer to me than language has the power to convey.

My words fail me.  She, on the other hand, never did.

Dear Elizabeth,

I missed your last update, the one where you wrote about all the changes, transitions, hospice (uhhhh).  I missed it because I have been off facebook these last few weeks.  I think my mom is dying.  And it scares the hell out of me.  So, I've kind of curled up into this little protective ball, trying to shield my heart from any more pain.  You already know that doesn't work, right?  So, I missed your update, but I've been praying.  I never stop.  I think about you and George, and Dixon and Sam, and Emily and all of you so much.  I'm a coward for hiding.  You never hide, you plunge right in.  I used to plunge.   Grief has removed that personality trait from me.   Hiding is the new plunging, or so I keep telling myself.  I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend to you these last weeks.  I've ripped my heart out a hundred times today because of that.  It grows back every time.  Each time more full of tears than the last.  I woke up this morning so tired, so grouchy, so not wanting to start this day, feel this pain, worry about my mom.....then I found out you were gone.  And my lungs couldn't fill up with air.  When they finally did, I am sure my neighbors were worried for my life, as the tears, and heartbreak sounds couldn't be contained.  What do I do with all of this grief, my friend? And don't say go out before 7am and look at the sun, I know the medical part of feeling better...but what do I do with my heart that I am left holding in my hands?  It's too painful.   I put on my prayer socks and talked to you today, just casual stuff, sitting on the couch, talking to my girl.  I found tears slipping down my face and apologized.  You didn't mind.  I keep thinking about how much you still wanted to do, to see, all of the love you wanted to pour over your family, your friends.  I kept thinking, it happened too fast.  It always happens too fast.  I want you to know this about you and me.  I know you love me.  You made me feel it every single time we talked.  You know how much I love you, right?  My dearest girl, I love you so.  I love your ever giving heart that never runs out of love.  It runs out of patience, but love is never in short supply.  I love your dingbat jokes, and the way people want to near you. Hear that.....want to be near you....  You have that, not a lot of folks do.  But what do we do now, all of us folks that still want to be near you, love you, laugh with you?  Where do we go? Where do I go?  

You died last night.  My friend.  You died and left this world.  Our world, broken, held together by God's mercy alone.  Our world is sadder today than it has been in a long time. And I'm laying the sadness part squarely on your shoulders.  You were called home, and as glorious as that is for's down right heartbreaking for us.  You left.   My mom might be leaving.  Let's not even talk about your William, or my dad, and brother and sister..... You left. And I missed telling you goodbye.  

I love you.  I am a changed person because of you.  I promise on extra hard days to carry my no makeup self outside before 7am and look up towards the sun.  Promise you'll be looking back.  If you see a crazy woman waving in your direction, just smile.  She's doing the best she can without her dear friend by her side.   See you soon, sweet girl.   Just not soon enough.

Love and hugs in true ESD form,

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Very Thought of You

Every night before Paisley goes to bed I sing this song to her.  She mouths the words as I sing, moving her hands as though she is serenading me right back.

For some reason these verses came to mind as I was looking at the pictures of my sweet girl's special day.

Happy Birthday, Paisley.

You are so loved.

The very thought of you and I forget to do

The little ordinary things that everyone ought to do

I'm living in a kind of daydream

I'm happy as a King

And foolish though it may seem

To me that's everything

The mere idea of you,

 the longing here for you

You'll never know

 how slow the moments go

 till I'm near to you

I see your face in every flower

Your eyes in stars above

It's just the thought of you

The very thought of you,

 my love

Friday, February 13, 2015


Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and Paisley's birthday.

What happens when you have all three to celebrate in one day?  

Pure chaos.

That was our morning this morning.  Five kidlets running around in Mardi Gras garb, stuffing lunch boxes into their backpacks, their arms full of paper valentine flowers for their friends and teachers. Sprinkle generous helpings of happy birthday, Paisley, we love you and you have the icing on the proverbial chaos cake.  

But if you rewind a bit,

Just back to yesterday.

You'd see this.

These are the valentine flowers that I made for the children's friends and teachers.  I added a white stem, and a robins egg light blue washi tape tag bearing a heart and my child's name.

I made almost a hundred of these babies.  We decided to go with flowers instead of candy because do we really need to add to the eleventy billion tons of candy that each child will get for Valentine's day? No, the answer is no.

Try not to laugh at the toffee lady griping about candy.

So there I was piecing together these flowers, thinking of Paisley's birthday, thinking of that day in Moscow six years ago.  Thinking just waaaay too much.

I thought of a note I'd like to send with each flower that went to Paisley's classmates.  I wrote it out in my head, knowing it's not something I'd ever send.  As much as I tried to crumple up the mental note I had written, it wouldn't go away.  So here it is.  My imaginary note to Paisley's class on her birthday.

Dear class,

Today is my birthday and I am six years old.  I can't believe that I am six, how did that even happen? Just yesterday I was 2 and meeting my mom and dad for the first time.  What?  Is it weird that I met my mom and dad when I was two?  Not for me.  Let  me explain.

Six years ago I was born in Moscow, Russia.  I came out of my mommy's tummy a little early, but that's okay, happens to lots of babies...let's keep going.

So there I was, all here I am on that February 13th, 2009.  I was such a little peanut.  Still am I guess but again, let's stick with the story.

My mom and dad didn't know about my 47 chromosomes before I was born.  They had a little girl, my big sister and they just thought hey, another girl, yay.  But then the doctor told them that he thought something special was going on with me.

I think it scared my parents.  I think they saw me and they saw this beautiful little girl and then they heard these words like Down and syndrome and different and they didn't know what to do.  

I think, for them, maybe different was scary.  It was maybe so scary that they decided it was best to just leave me at the hospital and go home without me.  Maybe they loved me so much and thought that sending me to the baby house would give me a chance to have expensive therapies that they couldn't afford. Or maybe the doctor said I might need expensive surgeries and they knew that would be hard for them.  Or maybe they were just scared because different is scary sometimes.

Maybe they didn't see that I was just like a little flower and I needed a little more time to bloom.  

So I waited almost 2 years to meet my parents from America.  TWO years.

That was hard.

It's hard to wait for someone to love you.

It's hard to wait for someone to see that different isn't scary.

That different can be beautiful.

But different is beautiful.  I mean, think of all the flowers in the world.  They're all different and each one is beautiful in its own way.

So when I was two years old, I met my mom and dad.

It was the best day.

They saw me.




The me that was different....and guess what, they loved me and they weren't scared.  They just loved me.


And since I came home to live with them we have all learned that different is wonderful.

Different is amazing.

And it's okay not to be the same as everyone else.

Because God made us all just the way He wanted us to be.

Just like He made each flower different.

Different is beautiful.

So if ever you feel like you aren't all that special, or you wish that you could be like the girl in the 3rd row, just stop.

And remember, you are amazing.

Just by being you.

We don't all bloom at the same time.





So I wanted to give you this flower in case you ever need to be reminded of how special you are.  We aren't ever going to all be the same.  But that's ok.  Different is ok.

Different is beautiful.

Just like you.

Happy Birthday, Paisley girl.  Different is amazing.  You.Are.Amazing.

And so are you.

Happy Mardi Valentine's Paisley's birthday!

You are loved.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Long neglected blog




Not sure if anyone is still listening, but here I am updating this long neglected blog. 

You see, Steve took our laptop to Ukraine when he went to pick up Evan.  Apparently the strain of being hauled halfway around the world was a little too much to bear for that old excuse for a computer and it bit the dust shortly after they came home.  

And I can't blog from an iPad.  Can anyone blog using an iPad?  Mine won't let me scroll down when I am writing, so after about a few sentences it was no bueno.  Thus no blogging for me.

But all that aside, here we are.  Dash got a new laptop for Christmas and now mama (that's me) can steal it and use it while he is in school.  Thus here I am.  Blogging.....  Shocker.

I have so much to say, but I am sure you all really just want to see pics of Evan and hear how she is doing in our family.  I ain't gonna lie, it was rough at first.  Really rough.  And I have ALOT to say about that, but I'm putting it all together in my head first, trying to figure out if it is okay to share.

Yes, we struggled, of course we did.  Anyone who has ever adopted or has been adopted will you that there are rough patches.  Our rough patch was a pretty dang epic.  And not epic in a good way.  :) But now we are a family and we love, LOVE, hearts wide open.  We have our good days and bad days but they are OUR days and we work through each and every one.  She is loved and loves us so fiercely that it brings tears to my eyes.  That love was hard won, but we made it and we are going to keep on making it. 

So here is our update.  It's a doozie.

 Someone turned 15.  Cutest 15 year old ever.

 Paisley has been working on her chomping skills.  So much yes!

Summer went by too fast for my two five year olds.

 Impromptu photo op...otherwise known as we thought we might want to adopt again so family photo time.  That isn't happening, because... well.... long story.

 First day of high school.

 Fifties day at school for the younger kidlets.

 Halloween.  Yep, Evan picked that costume.  You go with your grim reaper self.   Please note Paisley's upside down pirate headband.  Please note that I fixed it before we went trick or treating only because Steve pointed it out.  Mom of the year.

 November beach trip because mama needed some driftwood.  So much fun.... except when Jack stole Dash's driftwood.  This is Dash's he stole my driftwood face.  Poor Dash.

 Evan, Pearl and Steve.  Cuteness, y'all.

 Speaking of cuteness.  Boom.

 Paris, writing his name in the sand with a feather.  Gosh, I love him.

 It finally got cold enough to wear warm clothes.  Louisiana rocks.

 Christmas 2014

 Giant bouncy house.  All the kids want to jump in it ALL OF THE TIME.  So fun and they love it.

 I chopped all of my hair off.  Getting my old lady haircut on.
 Evan posing with her new headband and necklace.  She is all about the glamour.

 Gamble, one of our rescue dogs.  

Pearl, our first rescue pooch, sporting a navy sweater that I made for her.  She looks thrilled, right?

Grits, Gamble's sister, also a rescue.  They are quite a pair.

Did I mention Evan loves animals?   Loves them.  We also have a cat named Hiccup and a old man collie named Clem.  No more pets, Evan.  Please... 

So there it is.  Sorry it has taken me so long to update.  I promise I'll do better.  Not sure if anyone is still around to read this, but if you are, thanks for your support, for your love, and for holding us close when we were falling apart.  So happy to report that our little family is doing so wonderfully and we are stronger than ever.  Love wins.  It really does.

 Hope you liked the update.

See ya soon!!