Monday, November 24, 2008

New Traditions!!!

Well, I apologize it has been so long since I posted. I just have not made time to do it. My baby girl has been ONE since last Wednesday.
We are starting a new tradition of celebrating Clara's adoption at the Cracker Barrel. We asked Meemaw and Pawpaw to join us. Clay came up with the great idea to celebrate the adoption of Clara and the blessing of meeting her birthfamily by celebrating it every year around this time of year at the Cracker Barrel. You may be asking, "Why the Cracker Barrel?" This time last year we were in Utah meeting our baby girl along with her wonderful birthfamily. We truly miss them very much and cherish the wonderful time we spent with them. We spent our Thanksgiving Day last year at the Cracker Barrel with Tierra (Clara's birthmom), Jewel 6 (Clara's birth sister) and Dee 2 (Clara's birth brother). Syncere 9 (Clara's birth brother) was staying with his grandparents at the time to protect his heart from the unknowns of the adoption process at that time. We are saddened that we did not get to meet Syncere in person but look forward to the day where we are all together again hanging out and catching up at the Cracker Barrel and heading over to the indoor amusement park again. =) I cherish these pictures and look forward to getting LOTS more.....Did you hear me Tierra?? ;) We miss you guys a bunch!! I am so very, very thankful for having the honor of meeting Tierra and the kiddoes!! I know Clara will cherish the videos, the pictures, and the openness in our relationship to ask questions and talk as she feels ready. =)

The importance of this new tradition is to always have a special moment when we talk about how wonderful Clara's birthfamily is and how loved she is by so many people!! It is so important to us that Clara have an open-ended conversation about her adoption with the freedom to ask anything at any time. We always have an open-ended conversation with Christian about him being adopted by Clay at 2 years old after we were married. Just as Christian was/is a huge blessing to our family, Clara is also a huge blessing to our family. Our family would not be complete without adoption.

If you click the videos at the upper right corner there is a link of Clara riding the pony and catepillar!! Too cute!!

My Cullen and his love of chocolate....just like mommy!! Not paying $50 for that though. Good grief!!

This is my one-year-old, baby girl in the little white rockers right out front of Cracker Barrel!! She is growing way too fast! Here are a couple of newborn pics too....
Coming home (to hotel anyway) from the hospital!! =)

She was definitely worth the wait!!! She is sitting next to me right now holding a lifesaver above her head...shoot!! Wish I had a picture of that!! She LOVES playing with her big brothers!! I can't believe she is one already!!

Until next time......

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clara's 1st Birthday Party!!

Today we celebrated Clara's first birthday with a family party although she will not officially be one until Wednesday!! I cannot believe my baby is almost ONE!! I had fun making her smash cake and cupcakes. (Amy.....found a great vanilla cake...moist, moist, moist. Wish those would have been the soccer ones....maybe next time). Clara's cake was vanilla cake with buttercream icing. The cupcakes were cheesecake cupcakes with cheesecake filling with buttercream. I was pleased with how they turned out. She really enjoyed herself with the smash cake. She really dove right in.

Why are all these people staring at me and singing.....?? No, really this is almost too much. =)
"Hmmm...I'm liking these plastic chocolate candies mom made." We almost took the candies off but in the end she ate every one of them.

"Man, this stuff is gooooood!"

"Goodness, I think I might have eaten a bit too much of this stuff!" As the mommy I just have to say, Aren't her lips just the most gorgeous things you have ever seen!!

Taffy & Papa Dave (Clay's parents), Meemaw & Pawpaw (my parents), Auntie Robin, Clint, Cindy, Katelyn, Baby Pierce, Uncle Jerry, GG (my grandma), Matt & Candy all came to celebrate the HUGE occasion with us. We had a nice time enjoying each others' company and watching Clara open her presents, play, with them, and play in her smash cake and ate quite a lot of it too!! Check out the video links on the sidebar for videos I will be uploading of the occasion.

Auntie Robin teaching me how to use the new "cell" phone Meemaw and Pawpaw got Clara. ;)

Clara got a lot of baby dolls. Clara really loves babies. She loves real ones and she loves her baby dolls. Her first baby doll was given to her by her birthmom, Tierra. It is a very treasured gift to us! Clara loves her too. I had to line all of her baby dolls up together for her.

These are the wall letters that Matt & Candy got Clara. They also got her some cute crosses. I will post pics of them up when I get them hung up on her wall...urrrr...should I say when Clay gets them hung up on the wall.

It was a fantastic day of celebration!! I am so thankful to have a wonderful family! God is truly amazing and I cannot thank Him enough for all He does and will continue to do in our lives!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!!

Since Clara's first birthday is quickly approaching I felt the need to look back through my posts and to my amazement it was one year ago to today's date that I started my blog. I read through the posts and I don't know if it is just my emotions all wound up but I was just crying. I was remembering back to the first posts and all that was going on at that time. There were so many emotions wrapped up in the preparation of our daughter's arrival. Prior to being picked by Tierra we had a failed placement. We were blessed with the company of a little girl that had been named Denaya for 3 days. (thus Clara's middle name of Denae. We named her after the trials we went through during the adoption process and grew us to be stronger people) Louisiana law is a 5-day waiting period for the birthmom to change her mind. Another family had backed out on baby Denaya and we were called on the spur of the moment to parent Denaya. We packed up and traveled through the night to meet with them in the morning. We cared for Baby Denaya for 3 days and her birthmom, mom, changed her mind on the 6th day. It was a devastating blow. We met Denaya's mom and by appearance she was a broken woman. She was living at home with 2 other children and we had been told it was not a "safe" situation. It also took her 6 hours to find a ride to pick up Denaya while we waited for her in a hotel lobby the whole time. To say the least I was heartbroken for that woman and I was terrified for Baby Denaya's future. I have thought of her often and pray for her family. I thought of them during the hurricane and prayed that they were safe and had a place to stay. I did have peace of mind that God had a plan and knew He had someone made specifically for our family and us for her.

When we got the call we had been chosen it was the most terrifying and wonderful moment bound up together. Then, when a letter that Tierra had written was shared with us we knew that was the woman we had prayed for. We had prayed that we would have a strong woman to tell our daughter about and hopefully one day our daughter would meet. She was strong, smart, loving, caring and loved her baby very much. She loved her so much in fact that she was aware that her situation was not the best to bring her into and that she had to make the best life she could for the family she already had. She was very much aware that she was blessing another family with this wonderful little life.

My blog started on November 11, 2007, when we were planning our trip to Utah. So much has happened in the past year. God is truly amazing and His blessings abound. As Clara's first birthday quickly approaches it is bittersweet. We love this little girl, our daughter, with all of our spirit and soul, but I am very much aware that her physical presence is very much missed by Tierra and her family. I am praying for you guys during this tough time You guys are always in my thoughts. Together we celebrate this wonderful little life, this wonderful little miracle, our little Treasure!!

I am thankful for technology and the fact that I can record and share our life through this blog with those that are far away. I am thankful for those that can peek in and see how fast our Treasure is growing. When you guys have time (or want to spend some time looking back) just click the side bar to see where this blog started from.

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hay rides, mazes, and mountains!!

Sorry this post is late. I have not been feeling well at all lately. Thursday night I felt horrible and threw up around 11. I just don't get sick like that often. I was a bum all weekend because of my WONDERFUL husband!!! He took over and did pretty much everything. Yesterday I felt alive for a bit but this morning I have woken up to nausea again....urrrgh.

Anyway...Friday I dragged my not-feeling-so-well butt out of bed to get my kids to the field trip they had been looking forward to. It was a really nice time. The kids really enjoyed the hay mountain. It was HUGE!!

Here is my little pumpkin!!

There was a great hay maze too. They had the hay bales set up in a maze pattern but through it they also had tubes in it that you had to travel through to get to the end more quickly.

We also went on a hayride. Clara loved the hayride. She also enjoyed snacking on the hay....;)

I tried to get some good kid photos. I was able to get some great ones of Wanda and her kids but mine would not cooperate. So this is what I got. =)

Amy asked me to make some cupcakes for her son, Kyle's, soccer party. I thought they looked pretty good but I was not too happy with the moistness (lack thereof) of the cupcake. I made the mistake of trusting a recipe from a book I had used before with success. I will never do that again on the last minute!! They looked cute anyway!! Thanks Amy for asking!! I felt honored!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A step in the right direction...history is being made!!

Although I was not a huge Obama supporter for the fact that our beliefs on abortion differ and some Christian views did not meet up.....I could not be more elated that a black man is president of the United States of America!! How great is that!

A few facts and eye openers:
(From Wikipedia)
The Emancipation Proclomation signed by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862 (declared freedom for only the slaves in the Confederate States) This was only 146 years ago!! Several former slave states passed legislation prohibiting slavery; however, some slavery continued to exist until the institution was ended by the sufficient states' ratification of the Thirteenth amendmant on December 18, 1865. This was over 4 million slaves freed by 1865!! (not too long ago were ignorant people treating black people as though they were not human and by NO MEANS did it mean anything close to equality!!)

Rosa Parks arrested for sitting in the "white" section of the bus on December 1, 1955. At this point in history segregation was still strong. The The Montgomery Bus Boycott was triggered by her arrest--when she was charged for violating racial segregation laws in Montgomery after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. She was sitting in the fifth row (the first row that blacks could occupy), along with three other blacks. Soon, all of the first four rows were filled up, and a white man walked on. Since blacks and whites could not be in the same row, the bus driver insisted for all of the blacks to move. The other three blacks complied, but Parks refused and was walked out of her bus. Her arrest immediately followed. That was only 53 years ago!!

Civil Rights Act of 1964 landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. Thus giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments," as well as "greater protection for the right to vote." By no means did it mean treated fairly!(only 44 years ago)

November 4, 2008 Barack Obama ( a black man) is President-elect!! Things are slowly but surely changing.

I felt it important to note the dates. It is amazing to me that such a short time ago things were so horribly, humanely wrong!! I know a lot of people think that things are great; fair, equal, etc. today, but they are NOT!! As a white woman I will never know what it is like to be passed by a taxi cab because of the color of my skin, I will never know the pain of being denied a bank loan because the color of my skin, never know what it is like to be pulled over by a police man because I am in the "wrong neighborhood", denied housing because the color of my skin, etc.

I have 3 WONDERFUL children. The white young men that Iam raising have many people to look up to in history that have gone before them and been "leaders" in our government. It is easy for them to look at me and say and know without a doubt that they too could be President of the United States. Until yesterday, young black boys could not do the same thing!! It is hard to be successful when you have had no prior role models before you. It is difficult to see what you can do when it has never been done before. I embrace the opportunity of raising my black daughter to be a wonderfully, strong, independent, leader that can do ANYTHING she wants to do no matter her sex or color! I am so thankful to my mighty God and Savior who has blessed me with my 3 soldiers to raise for His glory!! I am so proud that I am alive for this moment and pray I can be a part of many more wonderful steps forward in my lifetime!!! Thank you God for your mercy, your love, and your GRACE!!

My thoughts for the evening!! Have a great and blessed day!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wedding, Cowboys, and Wolves!! Oh, My!!

OK, I am continuing the post before Halloween. There was just too much going on to cram it all into one post. Last Saturday was the BIG day where Matt and Candy made it official in the eyes of the Lord!! Praise God! The day was perfect and it could not have gone any better! I cannot wait until Michelle with Picture This gets done with all the photos. I did not get any of the wedding or the guys in their tuxes. I just got some shots with all us girls before the ceremony and never went back to get my camera. I am so ticked that I did not go get it. The night went by way too quickly and there was not near enough time to talk to everyone that was there! The wedding and reception was absolutely gorgeous and Candy did an excellent job of getting it all together. PERFECT!!

A glimpse of the bride-to-be before the wedding!!

One of two beautiful flower girls Candy had!! She looked adorable but was not in the best mood as the day had been a LONG one. Clara went with us to a bridal luncheon at 11 and then off to the salon for a pedicure and manicure. She did wonderful and sat in my lap while I had my pedicure. She had had enough by the time I tried for a manicure. She is just the best baby girl EVER!!! She is our miracle!!Here she is after the long day of great adventures!!! She was OUT!!! I thought her little, poofy dress was just too cute all squinched up in her seat with her little lacey socks! I was also very proud of her piggyback ponies I did!! They were so cute on her!

My older brother, Mike, planned a FANTASTIC Sunday for us to watch a Cowboy game!! It was an early Christmas present and was really great! The boys had a BLAST!! Clara and I were HOT!! But we still enjoyed it so much. Meemaw and Pawpaw, Mike, Jake, Luke, Mac, Christian, Cullen, Clara, Clay, and I were able to attend. Casey had to fly back to Boston for work on Sunday so was not able to join us. We missed her much!!! This is the first pic of us getting ready to leave for our journey to Dallas!!

I took this picture of Clara and I. I figured I could be in some of the pics. It is tough to take a picture of yourself....good enough though.

The kids were sporting their Cowboy jerseys that Matt and Candy got them as their gifts for participating in the wedding!! They LOVED them!!

Then Meemaw and Pawpaw arranged for us to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge for an early Christmas present also. The Great Wolf Lodge is a resort that has an indoor and outdoor waterpark. The outdoor park was closed but the indoor park is wonderful!! It was FANTASTIC!! You could stay forever in that place and not get everything done. We did not have enough time but it just makes us that much more ready to go back.

One of our rooms were two story. It had two double beds downstairs, a sitting area with fold out bed couch, and then a queen bed upstairs with a second bathroom...pretty fancy. =) Clara and I stayed in the room with Meemaw and Pawpaw so we could get some sleep. Clay left late Sunday night to come back to work so he missed staying the night. He still got to play and spend time with us in the park though. The first two pics were taken by me from the balcony of the room.

Luke showing his wild spiritedness (is that a word??).

A great ending for the perfect weekend!! I will be adding videos of our adventures. Just check them out under My Videos!!