Friday, January 31, 2014

Year of the Horse

Today begins the Chinese New Year.  As I wrote last year, it is important to us that we preserve Nora's culture.  Today was also the six year mark of Owen's diagnosis, I typically journal a few words here about this date but reflecting back it seems that the feelings year over year on this date are often the same, and it's easy to slip back into that unforgettable moment and hearing the words that our baby had a condition "incompatible with life."

So, this year, no dedicated blog post to January 31st.  Instead, a dedicated blog post to our Chinese Firecracker and preserving her culture.

(Side note - if you look closely you can see that Lydia has a bit of a shiner ... an encouter with Jack's sweatshirt ... while said sweatshirt was being swung around Lydia fell victim to the zipper ...)
To celebrate, we went out for Chinese with sweet friends. 

We also did a little decorating using last year's lanterns we made and some new foil paper stars.  

We again dipped fortune cookies (and, admittedly, we know that fortune cookies are totally an American thing, but they do look pretty in red glitter).  The kids got their red envelopes with money (chocolate coins). 

We set off a lantern and let the arctic breeze take it away (a balmy 4 degrees earlier this evening ...). 

And, we even celebrated at work in honor of our colleagues in China. 

Such a rich holiday ... may we always preserve the beauty of her culture!
Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Accessories ... on Samuel

Such is the life of a brother to two little sisters ...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Picture of Grace

Jason's Grandma turned 89 this month, and his grandparents celebrated their 72 wedding anniversary.  Wow.
Doesn't she look fantastic?

I met Jason's Grandma when Jason and I met nearly 22 years ago ... we were just babies :)  Ha!  Anyhow, she has been a picture of grace always ... she extends grace always ... it is so obvious that Jesus is her light ... her eyes sparkle ... she exudes a selflessness like no other and every once in a while we see a little spunk.  Another reason we admire her so is the unconditional love she shows EVERY.ONE.  Unconditional.  It's what we are called to do, but it's a challenge for sure ... years of wisdom this pretty lady has!

A picture of grace ... no doubt.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Girls' Lunch

I love being a mom to boys, and I love being a mom to girls .... the best of both worlds! Over the past few months, I've had the blessing of being able to do some girls' dates (a few lunches and even Lydia and my overnight getaway at Robyn's).

Today, the boys had a boys' day ice fishing with friends ... while it was a "mild" day with a bit of sunshine and temps in the 20's, no thanks ... more and more I'm getting "annoyed" with winter, and I'm ready for it to be done!  Unfortunately, we likely have a few months of winter still ahead.

Anyhow, the girls' and I took a little drive to meet Elizabeth for lunch.  You may remember Elizabeth, a college roommate, who did her 10th consecutive Breast Cancer 3Day (60 mile) walk this past summer.  AMAZING.  And, she is the friend that coordinated the Stella & Dot fundraising show for me when we were praying Nora home.  Love. this. girl!
Elizabeth brought her sister Emily, who I also adore.  And, I love the sister relationship these two share.  I pray that Lydia and Nora share a similar relationship as they do life together.
Thankful for the blessings of friendships and girls' dates to catch up!  And, I know, aren't we cute in our unplanned matchy-ness?!?! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Preschool Perspectives

Lydia started school this year, a preschooler ... still makes me pause to wonder how that happened.  We have been blessed to be able to have each of the LilyKids go the John Michael Kohler Arts Center preschool for one year, before entering our school district.  This is Lydia's year.  We love this program. 
Last weekend, "Preschool Perspectives" opened, a tradition of the preschool is to exhibit the work of the children in one of the galleries for a few weeks. 

JMKAC has many unique opportunities for children (as well as families and adults too).  We've also done Toddler Art Time with each of the kids, Nora will get her turn later this Spring.  If you click on the link you may just see this photo of Jason and Samuel (from approximately 7 years ago) which the Arts Center still uses for publications and such.  This is one of my faves!   
It's clear we love the Arts Center, but we are debating breaking tradition this fall.  This summer Nora will turn three, and she would be entering the program in the fall.  But, we are considering our options and whether this program or an early learning program in our school district would be better for her and her continued speech and development journey before she "formally" starts school. 
Decisions, decisions ...    

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Sister Pose

Looking through photos from the past few weeks, I noticed that nearly every photo of the girls has this similar sister pose ... we'll call it the sister side hug.

"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden" ...
Author Unknown

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Her Voice

Today we are reflecting back to a year ago when we were kissing Nora's big clefty smile one last time and waiting for her to come out of surgery.  I clearly remember holding her in recovery and crying silent tears over how the surgeon had changed her.  They were tears of gratitude, tears of fear and tears of grief. 

Now, a year later, she has found her voice.  And, that is a gift.  She has a belly laugh that is infectious.  She does fierce imitations of animals.  And, she proudly calls herself by name and names each of her family members.  That is, perhaps, the most precious gift.
I marvel at how far along Nora has come, she may still be behind in speech, but she is a warrior.  She is our warrior.