Monday, January 17, 2011

Time flies and so do we:)

I can honestly say we can fly, and not just by the seat of our pants, though that is still our primary mode of transportation! I passed my ramp class this past snowy week in Philadelphia with 100% total score! Tomorrow is my first day on the job and my clothes are already laid out:) I was really worried that Marina would be sad that I was gone for 4 days so I spent an inordinate amount of time setting up the webcam before I left (my computer is so old it did not have one built in so I used my old one that was found in a well organized drawer from the days of mom and sister extreme home makeover). I am still finding myself in speechless appreciation! Anyhow, Ms. Marina did just fine and made sure that Tully knew that the tall brown coffee mug was indeed still mine, even if I was not here to utilize it.
Marina is becoming more verbal as the days go by. I heard her say Dada, EAT! today for lunch time and when I got back from Philly she could holler LAY DOWN very clearly and loudly. I had to laugh...knowing those were the first words Tully imported to her with authority. She signs and says I love you (long style, pointing at her eye first). I know she knows what this means because she told Evan this with much joy on her face to be able to let him know and she poked him hard in the chest when she got to "YOU", smiling proudly:) They are settling into a much better routine and they find many more ways to play together than a couple weeks ago when the cain and able phase of sibling joy was in full effect. Marina has learned to cry for things and we thank Evan for that deeply...on that note I feel like we ruined her haha! She does have quite a full rounded flow of emotions and I am actually very happy about that. I was afraid she could not cry when she first came, and that is a scary place to be I think. Time out is still our best weapon against being spit at, and it comes with less frequency now.
School is not exactly what I want it to be for Marina at this point and i have been furiously angling in on some better ideas for Marina. It is ok, but not satisfactory for her, and especially not for me with the crazy schedule she is on. She is there for three whole hours, where she eats lunch and takes a nap...heck we could do that at home and save the gas money! Anyhow when I figure this out better, I will surely post the results of my melted gray matter over this debacle. The teacher is super nice and the school is great, but I do not think it is in Marina's best interest to continue on this learning path.
Tully is still struggling to find work, as the job he was hired for has been put on infinite hold (as in I don't think they were awarded the contract). There are some resets coming up in the near future (next week) that he will take on but January has been tough. Prayers would be in order here if I can ask for them. No work really affects the spirit after a while.
The snow has been amazing this winter as it has already hit the south twice and it is barely mid January! We were given a gorgeous snow suit for Marina from a sweet friend and Marina LOVES that thing. Heck I would too if I were slinging myself down hills of snow! It has been tough finding warm gloves that fit a kid with Down syndrome who has very short little fingers but managed to get some thinsulate mittens on ebay last week, and they finally arrived after the snow. That is what happens in the south with snow and ice, everything screeches to a halt, even snow glove delivery.
I have to add here that Marina who went through BOXES of kleenex when she first arrived has really managed to stay healthy since coming home. Not sure how, since keeping sox on her is virtually impossible and she sneaks out the back door to bring cats in and throw cats out all the time! The kids are asleep napping as I type this long over due mundane update and I am always grateful for that small golden window of quiet time. Marina has adjusted beautifully but if I had a wish list, I wish she was not the first one up every day (sometimes that time of the morning hardly qualifies as DAY time). And if that is my big wish, I would say we are in a very good place right now. It feels safe and warm in our home for the moment, and I think it has taken a long time to get there. Tomorrow would have been Caylyn's 9th birthday and we intend to celebrate it with dinner with a group of parents who happen to be meeting for grief of losing their child...the hospital has begun this group and I just think it would be a fine time to go to a meeting, kids in tow. Marina has a way of keeping the life of Caylyn front and center, as they were cut from the same dough I think...always coming up with a plan to add some gray twinge to the hair follicles. And there is the sense of humor and twinkle in the eyes...even though they are quite different the similarity is an echo of a fine life we lost along the way and struggle to regain. This is where God steps up and gives us extra grace to do crazy things like adopt an unknown child from 6700 miles away, with confidence. God is not a crutch for tough times, He is the heart that keeps beating when our hearts want to quit. I am grateful I know Him in mine because I would not be Marina's mama without Him. And life with her is just better, even when it is harder.
I am excited to post our occasional trips that we will be allowed to journey on this year. While you don't get wealthy working for the airlines, you do fly free domestically:) Gramma Sue, Look out! And Alex, don't think we don't know how to find our way to California...Fuzzy faced Uncle Brad in Boston, Friends in Texas and Erie PA, and of course, family in Colorado...and a certain prayer warrior in Lexington Ky who has a cabin by a creek. Yes, this is gonna be a fine year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Life, New directions....

What a crazy week or two! I really should start all posts out with that sentence come to think of it....maybe I do. But with the week of Christmas and New Years, and Marina's birthday on the 29th, life is nothing short of a permanent party! Tully's mom Sue and his brother Alex came to celebrate the week between Christmas and New years and we had a great time! Uncle Alex is a VERY good uncle and was amazing with the kids. Marina fell for him right away! And of course Gramma Sue has the patience and love that only a gramma can have, building snow forts and then taking the brunt of the snow balls all in good fun:) And yes, it snowed in the south on Christmas day:) Marina loves presents, and by now I am sure she just thinks she gets them every week since she got them when she arrived, she got them from us at the orphanage, she got them for Christmas and she got them for her birthday. We have probably ruined her expectations by now. But then I think about how it turns out she loves snow more than presents. She was so funny when she looked out the window, covering her mouth in sheer disbelief and squealing like I have not heard from her until that point!
This next year is already upon us and lots of changes to our regular routines. You all can stop laughing now, I KNOW we are anything but regular routine kind of people:) Tully goes back to work as a retail merchandiser on wednesday, Marina starts school on Tuesday and by Sunday I go to Philadelphia to train for USAir here in Greenville Spartanburg. I will be gone for 5 days so if you are the praying sort, please put Tully at the top of the list. Marina and Evan both are complete mama's kids:) Of course I worry that Marina will think I left her but we will talk and try to set up the computer to see each other while I am gone. I am also applying for a job with Family Connections here in Spartanburg to work with families whose new or 3 and under kiddos are diagnosed with Down syndrome to make sure they realize resources and support are there for them. Both jobs are part time so it should be no conflict. I have worked for them before so I have a high hope for being hired.

Listed near the top of the photos is little Kathleen--I am committing to helping find a family for Kathleen who is in Ukraine. She is so cute! And her destiny is currently aimed at a very disheartening direction, where transfer will be extremely detrimental to her life. No child should have that facing them for any reason. I know what a difference a family can make, and I know what a difference a child like this can make in a family--it is nothing short of awesome. I will be hosting several fundraisers as the year and opportunity arises so please at least post them on facebook for me when I do. Donation fueled give aways:) Yahoo!
We are humbled by the note that Vivabeads is honoring our family and Caylyn by designing a line designed to raise funds and awareness of both the Leukemia Foundation and international adoption by donating a portion of proceeds to both of these causes when someone purchases a Remember Me item. I will be selling these bracelets once again to raise funds for Kathleen once I am able to order some from the spring catalog. What an amazing gift from the owners of Vivabeads to make this available. I have to tell you that the bracelets are so beautiful! It is a sweet way to remember Caylyn and the fight she encountered as well, and will serve to remind so many that Hope is real, even in the face of disaster. I love the name of the line and it strikes a tender place in my heart. If you have a personal relationship with a gift store, encourage them to sell Vivabeads. These are amazing bracelets and are very affordable. Full circle for a great cause!

Wishing everyone a truly amazing new year. I encourage you to find a cause and help in any way you can. Every small assistance parlays into moving mountains. And I will boldly say that the cause you choose is important. While I think trees and basset hounds are important, of course I am going to encourage you to consider something that changes the life of a person. A small person, who has no voice for themselves and no control over the conditions into which they were born. Life is amazing but we have to help each other a lot of the times in order to achieve this. Yeah, we have to help every single day. Radical living for a radical life. I know the word radical has been over-bantered lately because it is on the NYTimes best seller list. But if you have not read the book, it strips away the fog and gives energy to showing love in powerful ways. And I can't tell you enough how amazing the outcome can be. Happy new year!