Thursday, December 25, 2008

Play-dough Day

Thanks to the easy recipe from Mama Papaya we had quite a bit of fun making home made play dough. We did a triple batch and used some natural coloring and some funky neon coloring to make things a little more interesting. I have to say that both of the girls played with the brown play dough that was colored by cocoa and smelled divine, more than any other color.
Makenna decided she wanted to make something and decided on a girl. Here is her creation. She really did almost all of it herself, including the "rocking 'fro hair with a really pretty headband" and the funky lime green shoes. I was really impressed with her final results.

And, Kya, well she decided that it was more fun to try to take apart the play dough toys and to try and eat the play dough than actually do anything. Gotta love that crazy girl!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Yep, that how old my baby turned almost two weeks ago. How can it be, when it feels like she just turned three??? Waaaaahhhh!

So, Makenna is four. She is this little girl now, totally having lost the toddler thing long ago. How did that happen without me realizing it fully?? She is growing a ton, and smart, and sweet (mostly :)) and funny, and crazy. I just really and truly can not believe that she has been our lives for almost FOUR years already. The time has just flown by.
And, yet every year when this time rolls around I can't help but think about the person(s) on the other side of the world who have made heart-wrenching decisions and sacrifices that allow me to be the person she calls Mommy. Even after four years my mind just can't wrap around that. But, I am blessed beyond belief to be the one who kisses her goodnight each night and to see her smiling (usually:)) face each day. And, I forget that occasionally when I am exhausted from parenting her some days. She is a challenge for sure, but the reward is sweet. See for yourself. Some random pics of my sweet girl from the last couple of weeks(and yes I realize that it's winter where we live, but we pretend it summer sometimes and wear sundresses as evidenced below). And, no I do not make her pose all of the time, she comes by it pretty naturally--scarily naturally!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bath Time in Pictures

Usually the pics that we take at bath time never make it to the blog for obvious reasons. So, I decided to do a blog-worthy version of sweet Kya's bath time.

I love this mouth, so full of kisses.

Look at the hands on this girl-they are HUGE! (that is a duckie that she is smothering!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Icey Africa

Looks a little like Africa right? That's what Makenna thought when we were outside playing. We were stomping on this big chunk of ice and Makenna started jumping up and down and freaking out,telling me to stop.

Makenna: "Mommy look, it's like your necklace. It's that big place where Ethiopia is!"

Me: "Africa?"

Makenna: "Yeah, I know. It's ice Africa though now."(with a tone that would imply duhhh mom)

Makenna: "It's where I lived when I was a tiny, tiny baby. I 'member it."

I have to say I was suprised she recognized it. I was proud of her for spotting it and recognizing it, and that she was proud of where she was from. I wear my necklace most days, because it keeps the girls with me during the day when I am away from them. All I have to do is touch it and I reminded of all that I have been given, and all that I have. They both love to play with that necklace as well, and Kya often holds it as she is falling asleep if I rock her. I hope they grow up with a special place for both Africa and Wisconsin in their hearts. With love for their roots and for their present.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

To Bean or Not to Bean

That is the question. We have all been sick all week, as evidenced by the fact everyone is still in their jammies in the pics below. So, I was trying to come up with some quiet, low-key activities (as much for me as for them!) that we could do. I had bought a couple of bags of mixed beans to let them play with, and to use to make some seed art projects. So, I poured the bags into two bowls, grabbed some various other bowls, measuring cups, and some spoons. Viola! An activity that kept the girls busy for close to an hour. It was great!!
I had Makenna sort some of the beans to work on some of her fine motor skills (one of the things we work on at sensory therapy as well) as well as making her cross the midline of her body (another therapy thing). She did it happily and didn't realize that we were even "working", but just thought she was getting to play. And Kya was more than content to pour from measuring cup to measuring cup to measuring cup. She was in heaven. And, so was I. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sick Day(s)

Yep, that's what it took for me to finally make time to blog again. The girlies and I are both home sick with nasty little colds. Nothing huge, just a challenge when I don't feel good either. But, it did make me reflect on how full circle we have come in the last year. Kya actually woke up sick on Monday, and was SO snuggly when I got her out of bed. She was a ball of snot, but wanted so badly to love on me. She kept trying to kiss me, and would hug me and just plain old wanted her mommy! Finally!!!! I, of course, could not refuse the snot-filled kisses, as I have worked so hard to earn them from her. And, I really stopped to realize where we had finally gotten to.
A year ago you could not have convinced me that this day would ever come. I truly had reached one of the lowest points that I can think of in recent memory. This kid HATED me and all that I stood for. And, she had reason too for all that she had lost. Somehow I represented that for her and she resented me for it, and I resented her constantly rebuffing my efforts. I knew on a logical level that she was right to fight it, but it just wore me out sometimes. I really wondered if we hadn't just ruined her life and ours. I was completely unprepared for the intensity that our life took on for the first 6-9+ months after she came home. And, looking back, I am not sure that I could have done anything more to prepare for it, other than finding support systems ahead of time.

But now, I see her look at me and hear her squeal "Mommy" with one of the sweetest faces I have ever seen. She is so affectionate and snuggly and sensitive. She bounces through our house, finally realizing her place in our family, her forever family. She finally let her guard down enough to really love wide open with all that she is. I am reminded of it when I come home at night and she hurls herself at my legs to give me the hug of a lifetime. And when she cries when Daddy leaves a room, because she is still his #1 fan. Or when she and her sister are sitting side by side giggling at some non-existent hilarious happening. And, it starts to slowly erase the days, weeks and months of struggle when she first came home. It makes the thought of her not being here unbearable and unthinkable. And, it makes me ache to think of how much pain she was going through, and how tough she really is. It is humbling and wonderful and good. It is family.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

7 Random Things About Me

Okay, so I am a few weeks behind on this one, but I am going to do it anyhow. Here are seven random things about me, and I tag anyone who reads this who hasn't already done so, to do it!

1) I really HATE spiders. Not just a little, a lot....a lot.....a lot!

2) I had five wisdom teeth. Somehow that has not translated to more wisdom for me though.

3) I didn't know that I got sea sick until I went on a week long cruise. I know now, and I still want to go another cruise some day.

4) I have had 3 broken arms(twice on the left, once on the right), each time my brother was involved.

5) I don't like to follow all. I am terrible at following recipes because of this. I just want to make up my own. Sometimes it turns out really well, sometimes it could have been better.

6) My job requires me to follow rules and balance millions of dollars. Ironic huh?

7) I really want to live someplace warm and near a beach before I die!

Oh, and one more thing.....I REALLY love my family!

Camping Princesses

We went camping a couple of weeks ago near Wisconsin Dells and it was SO much fun. Good times with good friends and for a good cause (volunteer building project) for almost an entire week.
The girls are so spoiled by our "camping family", and on the last trip received special princess presents from some of them. I do NOT buy a lot of princess-ey stuff, so Makenna was in heaven. She wore her necklace, earrings and tiara non-stop for several days. Even Kya and her little friend Emery left there's on too and they are both two and under!
A little bit of princess....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Yes, we are still alive

To those of you who are still reading and checking in on our world, we are still alive. Sorry so long between posts, it's just been a pretty tough month for us. Lots of changes and not all for the good. More about that maybe later...

But, there are some really cool positive changes also. Especially with Makenna. We have been going to Sensory Integration Therapy with her every Tuesday and Thursday since completing the two week(every day) intensive program that we completed in early September. They said that we would see some improvements and 1 month after starting treatment and then again at three months. And, I am happy to report that so far we are definitely seeing small, positive changes.

One of the most exciting things is to see her changing in her ability to focus and organize enough to complete daily tasks that she couldn't prior to therapy. Simple little things that other take for granted, and that we didn't realize we compensated for until now. A little thing like actually asking to color. Makenna has NEVER asked to color before, and had no interest in it because it meant she would have to sit still. She actually asked to color and drew an organized picture of a rainbow versus the normal scribbling she would do. It brought me to tears--I was SOOOO happy for her. Another little thing is that she is finally starting to have an interest in learning how to write her name, and is starting to recognize more letters. Before we started therapy she recognized none, and now she can write most of her name. It's so cool to see.

Another big area of advancement is learning to calm herself and realizing that she can get out of control. She still does it, but it is easier for her to recognize it and ask for help, or allow us to help her to get back under control. That is huge! Her frustration level has subsided some and she is willing to attempt more things by herself. It really is amazing at all of the aspects that it touches.

The only downside is that it has been a lot to keep up with, and work, and all that comes with everyday life. We are gone everyday that I have off, and we just haven't had much time to breathe(with the exception of our little camping/volunteering excursion-pics to come soon). I look forward to settling into winter, and hope that when they retest her in December that they will decrease the # of times that we have to go, or say we are done altogether. I look forward to spending time at home--snuggled with my family, which is now stronger than ever. I look forward to having time to just be.

To those who are still reading and worrying and carrying about us-you know who you are--thank you!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tenting it up!

Just had to share these pictures of the girls playing in one of their new favorite toys--the beloved girlie tent. The tent is currently at grandma's house(where these pics were taken--I am not responsible for the wardrobe--especially Kya's :)) and is an endless source of amusement for these two. It came with one set of butterfly wings, which is the source of some fights, but a lovely lesson in sharing.

I was really struck by how big the girls looked-especially Kya. She has changed so much this past year and is quickly becoming a rambunctious little toddler. I love it! Most days anyhow..

Sorry for the lack of posts, but we have been running to Makenna's therapy a lot and some days there just is no time. More to come soon!

Through the mesh on top--Makenna told me "Mom you scared me--I having quiet time and you scared me to death!"

Not so happy with the sharing part here....

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obsession Complete

Update to my last post......

You guessed it! 100% in 1:52 seconds!!! YEAH!!!!!! Okay, so it could be faster I know. But, it's hard when you have a 1 and 3 year old "helping" you "find Africa". Hey, we are all learning together right!?!?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I am completely addicted to this:

The first time I tried I got a sad little 48%, but I am up to 84% now. WOO HOO! Apparently I need to brush up on my world geography.

Try it!

Monday, September 15, 2008


These are from a lakeside park in Superior, WI. Couldn't resist snapping some photos of the girls and their cousin playing.

Oh, and the first pic is a result of my (apparently soon to be graduating daughter)posing after seeing a girl getting some grad photos shot. It was so funny that I had to share!:)