Friday, August 26, 2016

The Elephant in the Room (errrr blog)

Hello- is this thing still even on?!? ;). I have had a whirlwind of a couple of weeks flying back to the states and then to Shanghai both for work meetings and I have another big meeting next week so to say I am exhausted and have been struggling with jet lag and have had zero energy/time to blog would all be an understatement; but if I am being honest, even leading up to the last two weeks I have had some trouble with the enthusiasm of keeping up my blog.  I even thought about stopping altogether.

Four years of documenting our every move.

However, a few weeks off (and with hardly a camera in my hand) has taught me how much I still love documenting.

The ups, the downs,  the highs and lows of mothering, the new experiences we are having in China, the daily grind that makes our lives special, the bond of our two girls. I love everything about it.

Our life looks a little different here and I don't have the same time to devote to my blog every single day.  So I will continue to blog, but it will be at a much slower pace (I am thinking 1-2 times a week, some weeks more, some weeks less).  I just thought I should let you know :).  And let you know why there was radio silence the last couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

First Day of School 2016!!

Yesterday morning, we sent both of our girls off to school in China. We had arranged with our car and driver to drop them off ourselves, but they wanted to ride the bus and off they went like they were going to college (which ripped at my mama heart) except that really they started pre-kindergarten for Everly and junior-kindergarten for Emma.  Wes and I walked back to the house together hand-in-hand and our house just felt so empty.  I yearned for those sweet girls of mine - even for their fighting because then at least I would know they were with me.  It really felt like we were entering a new stage of parenting - one that I don't know if we are ready for. That could be a whole topic within itself, but for today let's just focus on school.

Emma requested and Elsa braid and she was good to go - an old pro at picking out her uniform and getting ready.


This girl picked out her shorts - bubble shorts, was so excited to put her shirt with a badge on, put her backpack on and grabbed her lovie for nap time and was just so gosh darn proud of herself that she got to go too! On our way out the door, I heard her telling Wes - 'come on daddy, we are going to miss the bus'.


Just look at that sweet, big girl!


So so so happy that she got to go to this time!


She was the epitomy of excitement!! And I was so excited just because she was so excited!


They move at their own pace - Emma always ahead, Evsie's always behind :).


When we got to the top of the hill, Emma reached for her hand (we have been working with Emma on how she needs to be the leader for Everly) and my heart swelled up with pride for these two daughters of mine.


They stopped to look at something on the ground...


and much to Emma's delight - it was a worm!


Which she decided she needed to take to the bus stop, but I think it started to get her hands dirty and suddenly she wasn't so sure anymore.


When they hold hands - it is my favorite :).


That light, the wonder in Everly's eye, the way Emma is leading her gets me every time.


A little bit more worm talk rounded out our walk to the bus - we were debating whether the worm was a boy/girl and whether 'she' missed her mama.



Once we got nearer to the bus stop, Ev's swapped out holding Emma's hand for mine :).


In this moment, she was such a big girl, but at the same time just my sweet baby.  I mean she was just nursing up until a little over a year ago and now she was headed off to school. all day school.  in China.


All the emotions, but mostly just pure love for these girls of mine :).


Girlie selfie (not complete without lion- Ev's was determined to make sure he was in every single picture!).


And then the school bus arrived, and we had one last round of hugs and kisses.


And these two were on their way.


But not before, Everly turned around and blew us an unprompted kiss :).


And our littlest girl was off, but thankfully with big sister by her side.


We hope and pray that these girls of ours have a great school year filled with lot of friends and lots of learning :).

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Love Letter to Everly | Three Years


... I love the way you turn to me at night before bed and whisper 'I love you mama'
... I love love love your personality, I know I talk about this all of the time but the best way to describe it as perfectly sweet
... I love how affectionate you are with me and daddy - you are always up for kisses, hugs and snuggles!
... I love the way you indulge your sister playing all of her made up games/scenarios - you often find yourself in the role of a chipmunk, teacher or baby and you love it (most of the time ;))
... I love the way you love your grandparents (especially your papa George - you talk about him all the time :))
... I love the way you make me feel when you grab me tight around the neck for a hug
... I love the way you rocked your first year of preschool - you were obsessed with Ms. Debi and you still think you are going back to her school
... I love the way your big brown eyes sparkle when you get excited
... I love your expressive demeanor when you are very passionate about a certain topic/story you are telling
... I love that you have all your teeth (no more teething!) and that you are potty trained (you get to go to school in China!!)
... I love the way you have rocked our move to China - you are easily adaptable, happy go lucky and you have taken everything in stride
... I love that you talk about things forever (like you can't let things go - this is just like your mama!)
... I love your thick, brown, slightly wavy hair - you definitely hit the hair jackpot
... I love that you are the first to share your things - you don't mind sharing even when it is something you really like with Emma or with anyone that asks
... I love your smooshy cheeks and the fact that I get to kiss those cheeks 100 times a day
... I love the way you miss our 'old home', you are very sentimental by nature
... I love the way you pout - you cross your arms while simultaneously saying 'hrrmph' and sticking out your lip (it is ridiculously adorable and makes me giggle inside)
... I love the way you always insist on carrying a lovie wherever you go and that you are not particular to any certain one (although you do have a few favorites - cata-pail-or, 'lollie and zebra come to mind)
... I love (and try to embrace) your slow way of doing things - you really observe the world around you, taking it all in and there is a lot I can learn by slowing down to your pace
... I love that you ride in the stroller without a fight
... I love that you will randomly grab for Emma's hand to hold or reach for a hug or a kiss - the way your relationship is developing makes me extremely happy
... I love the way you scrunch your nose when you belly laugh - there is nothing better than your giggles!!
... I love watching you run - you always swing your arms wildly running as fast as you possibly can (which let's be honest is not that fast ;))
... I love the look on your face when the 'bigger girls' include you in their activities (you just love to play and be one of the gang!)
...I love that you are always insist on walking me out to the car each morning for one last hug and kiss before I leave for work
... I love to watch your confidence build while you are in the water- you have always loved swimming!!!
... I love the way you say Emma when you are upset with her- it is long and drawn out and very intense - and your mad, sad Emma expressions are spot on
... I love that you say 'me' instead of 'I' and 'ca-cause' instead of 'because'- I never correct you because I think it is so gosh darn cute (and I may or may not ask you 'why?' questions just to hear you say ca-cause one more time)
... I love that when I have you alone you talk literally non-stop, like you never even take a breath you are talking so much
... I love all of the sweet nicknames we have for you - my tops being Ev's, Evsie's and Everly Gracie
... I love that you are mine and I get to love you forever

We love you so much baby girl - happy 3rd birthday!
xoxo, Mommy

p.s. I promise to get a better picture of the two of us ;)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Celebrating Everly Gracie

Hellooooo! And happy Monday - we had a busy week followed by a busy weekend, but I am hoping to stay a bit more up to date with the blog this week starting with telling you all about Everly's birthday festivities.  Two Saturday's ago, we got a chance to celebrate our sweet Everly Gracie and threw her a 'birthday party' China style (her actual birthday was Friday, the 29th).  In all honesty, it was good for me to get our friends together; I made corn dip, we sang happy birthday and Everly blew out her candles and was kind of obsessed with having a party to celebrate her!! Just look at that happy face!


We started out the party at our neighborhood swimming pool - my coworker that lives in our neighborhood with three kiddos, Emma's besties family and my co-workers from the Philippines were all able to come! So that is six kids and nine adults total and we had such a great time swimming - especially the kiddos!


It makes me very happy that my girls (and us) have been able to make friends!






And that this guy helped me get everything ready for the party (including our house three days after returning from vacation at 2am) - he is the best!!


Sweet work friends :).


I am not sure who got these pictures of me and my baby - but I am so glad they did!


I just love this girl soooo much!



Then it was time for some throwing the kiddos up in the air action!


Look at the splash she made!!  Obviously this is a different time than the one above - I threw the kiddos up and down several times :).


We tried to make this girl feel special too - she loves birthdays! And can't quite understand when it is going to be February again ;).


When we got back to the house, Wes had wrapped all of her presents (inside out Christmas wrapping paper since that is all we had, plus one in Christmas wrapping paper after I gave him the ok that it wouldn't scar her for life).  Side note, with my birthday being Christmas Eve - I am pretty sensitive as to what should be wrapped in Christmas paper versus birthday wrapping paper ;) just ask my mom! Anyways, this sweet girl had not asked for a single present (I raided Ikea the day before), but as soon as she saw them she was so excited and could not wait to open them.


This was her face when I told her that she had to wait until after lunch (which was a late lunch around 2 or 3pm).


So needless to say, I gave into that sweet baby of mine and let her open them up before lunch.


Which was not complete without some sister involvement.



This was our small birthday set up.  It didn't really bother me not to decorate and it didn't seem to bother the birthday girl either - just by the way, we brought the plates, silverware, straws and party hats with us.  I am not sure whether you can find those types of things where we live in China or not.  I didn't get any pictures, but we served brats, hot dogs, corn on the cob, beans, sliced cheese cut up, corn dip and chips, bananas, blueberries (we forgot to set out the watermelon, but we had that too) and drinks.


After we ate - it was time to blow out her candles (I ended up going with brownies instead of a teddy bear cake because honestly brownies are her favorite dessert) and she really lit up with everyone singing to her!


She just turned towards me and grinned and I could tell she was just so genuinely happy :).


And at times a little unsure of all the attention ;).


When it was time to blow out the candles you could hear Emma asking Everly if she could help and Everly said no and did it all by herself! We had talked to Emma extensively about this being Everly's birthday celebration (Everly told Emma that she could help her unwrap her presents), but we encouraged Everly to blow out her candles by herself) and I was so proud of my little girl!


And just like that she turned three! We are so grateful to have this little munchkin in our lives - I couldn't imagine a better fit for Emma and for our family :).

Monday, August 1, 2016

THREE!!!


"I swear I couldn't love you more than I do right now, and yet I know I will tomorrow." Leo Christopher