Today is the birthday of my blue eyed beauty! It seems like just yesterday she was born. How could 8 years have already passed? It's such a bitter sweet to watch your children grow. Each phase you leave behind one stage and begin something new. Dakota is all girl ... a big girl now!! A princess in the purest sense. Well, maybe a Cake Boss ... her passion and the thing she aspires too! She has a sweet innocence about her. In fact, when I watch the other girls in her class, it is so apparent that she has such a sensitive and innocent heart. It is something I relish .. and pray over! May the Lord continue to allow her to be in the world and not of it! May he allow her to see the ugliness of the world, and protect her heart from it. That has always been my prayer! Her teacher this year remarked one day that she worried about Dakota for next year ... third grade. Not because of a lack of abilities as she is very bright, but because Dakota plays with such innocence. Maybe the Lord is answering my prayers ... may he continue to guard her heart!
Dakota doesn't care about what she wears, who's she's friends with, who "Justin Beiber" or Hannah Montana are. In fact, she only just recently discovered Miley Cyrus and that was only because she loves to dance the Hoe down, Throw Down. I love these things about her!
Dakota is artistic, creative, and whimsical. She loves to imagine and make believe. She will create something out of just about anything. One day, she created art out of old trash, tape and some rocks. This past week, I found her in the playroom making "play food" from paper for her babies. Never mind the fact that she has a play kitchen and the parts ... she'll make her own.
She's an awesome big sister and truly, her best friend is Maliah. She gets in the car each day from school and the first thing they talk about is what they are going to play after she does homework. When they get home, they'll disappear for what seems forever in "Baby land" in the playroom.
Dakota is sensitive. Recently she got her feelings hurt by some boys at the baseball park who were saying "mean things". Upon further examination, I discovered the boys were ... FOUR ... we may need to work on thicker skin!
She loves special time with her cousin, Andi. Together, they'll spend HOURS playing horses and babies. Recently at the beach, they did just that! It was like heaven for Dakota. I love watching them play!
Dakota loves horses, ballet, reading Junie B. Jones, the Book of Acts in the bible, her favorite bible story is "Jesus dying in the cross", she loves the color blue, watching Cake Boss, curling up on the couch with her blankie and her Mommy, painting her fingernails, collecting rocks, riding her bike, her American Girl dolls and horses, her "Dakota Corner" full of barbie's and her doll house, and her second grade teacher, Mrs. McCracken! We adore her!
We're headed to Zio's for dinner tonight for Dakota's birthday. This will be the 3rd year. She chooses Zio's every year because she says they have the best chocolate cake ... and now it's a tradition!
Saturday she'll be having a special party with a few special girls. IT's all GIRL TIME! Special crafts, a mix of Dakota music that she made and chose, swimming, and last but not least .. at Dakota's request, everyone gets to decorate their own cupcake.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY my beauty! YOU are adored, my princess! The Lord created you in my womb, and when he did, he could see you there. He you knit you together perfectly, he knows every hair on your head. You were fearfully and wonderfully made! He knows and has great plans for you! He will give you a hope and a future!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Posted by Cristie at 12:13 PM
2010 ... the year the kids would take the baton. What a fun Beach to Bay trip!! The past three years we have run the 6 legs of a marathon as a family under the name "Family Ties". This year would be no different we thought. That is until age and illness started playing tricks on our bodies and we realized that several of our "Legs" weren't fit to run. BUT ... you can't just let a good number and 200$ in entries go to waste. SO, this year, we strapped number 46 to 6 of the cutest members of our "Family" and off we all went to run leg number one together. With the logistics of baton hand off, getting into spots and running alone, their was NO WAY we were going to let our kids do the entire 6 legs of the race, but we sure could do it all together ... leg number ONE! We probably threw the people who shout out the numbers for leg number 2 pick up for a good loop when 6 of the same numbers came across the finish. Of course, they were at different times so maybe they forgot. I will say, it was funny because Dakota and Jared were with me (who was numberless). As Jared passed the guy by, he radio's in "number 46" .. followed by "number 46" as Dakota came right in at his heals. Looking puzzled he looked at me ... numberless ... and grinned. I think he got the picture. I didn't know I would have so much fun running with my girl. I was cheering so loud behind her as she crossed the finish line. My blue eyed beauties first race debut!
Anyways, it was so fun. Dakota and I ran together the whole time, mixed in with my nephew who picked up with me the last 1/2. Dakota did great. She ran and walked and was a real trooper. For a girl who has never run more than a mile at school, she did AWESOME .. and she did it grinning the whole time!
Canyon on the other hand ... has found yet ANOTHER sport where he excels. Leg number one runs out 2 miles on the beach and then back 2 miles. It loops so the last two your coming back to where you started so you pass the slower runners if your in the lead pack. Very shortly into my run .. here came my son ... followed by a Daddy coming BACK! He was with the big dogs .. RUNNING FAST! He did the whole 4 miles that way. Doug said that he could barely keep up with him and Canyon definitely was running at a much faster pace than Daddy would have done. I'm not surprised, it's Canyon!
The rest of the weekend we did the usual ... pool time and beach time. As always we had a great time. The cousin gang and my kids always enjoy each other but this year, the buddies to watch were Maliah and Drexel. They were a HOOT! Drexel, my nephew who is 3 and Maliah have a love hate relationship. They LOVE being together ... but they also both LOVE being the boss which can cause some interesting moments. They are like watching two lab puppies as they run after each other with their goofy big paws. So fun!
Dakota and Andi also had a ball as usual. They spent countless hours playing horses in the sand and in the pool. They soak in every moment they can ... and then some!
The boys spent a lot of time jumping waves and playing soccer and baseball in the sand. This year we had five boys to keep up with ... not including Puppy Drexel. We also had Maliah, Dakota, Andi and my littlest niece Brooklyn. Good times watching all those kids for sure!
We're already booked for next year. We shall see what team transpires for the run. I'm thinking that for sure, Canyon will be leading the team of "Family Ties" in the near future! Looks like Papa may have lost his spot. UH OH!
Posted by Cristie at 12:13 PM
Monday, May 10, 2010
Yep, it's official. I am getting OLD. I am officially closer to 40 than 30 and officially have reached the age where I can remember my Mom being that old. I have also officially began to see the visible and not so visible signs of the mark of my age. I try to not let that consume me in my human flesh ... thinking about all that I have been blessed with gives me perspective. So, as I was driving down the road today, to celebrate my birthday with a few special friends who so graciously organized a fun birthday lunch, I began to think about all the things I am blessed with and all that I have to be thankful for. I thought I'd write them down ... as a reminder to myself for those days or those moments of in my days where I am feeling 36!
What about you, could you write down 36 things to be thankful for? I bet you could!
1. I am the daughter to the King of Kings! WOW ... indeed, I am a princess!!
2. Jesus paid my ransom ... I have been set FREE!
3. I was born into a family with the two most amazing parents EVER! I have BIG shoes to fill when I become a Granny!
4. My brother is SUPER cool and all my life ... I have thought so! YEP, Clint, that's right ... even now, you hold the cool factor!
5. I am married to the HOTTEST man there is. Don't argue with me .. he is!
6. My son is as adorable as they come. His birth was one of the highlights in my 36 years. I will NEVER forget holding him the
first time! He made me a MOMMY! I am blessed!
7. My blue eyed beauty is one of a kind ... she is amazing and I am amazed that she is MINE! All girl .. I am blessed!
8. I was CHOSEN to parent the most adorable almond eyed beauty ever. I am SO humbled that my Lord thought that much of
me. REALLY ... Can you even believe he CHOSE ME??? Who would have thought!
9. I have wonderful in-laws .. and yes, I even like hanging out with them! I know some who can't say the same. I am blessed!
10. I live comfortably in a nice home, with plenty!
11 Every month the Lord provides what I need to eat and live far beyond what I deserve!
12. I was given wisdom of finances and because of that wisdom and our discipline, we live debt free!
13. My husband works SUPER hard and because of all his hard work, I am blessed to stay home with my children and care for
14. The Lord took me on an adoption journey and along the way, he blessed me with HIS eyes for the fatherless! Forever
14. On that same adoption journey, he blessed me with amazing friends. I am so thankful for each of them and their children!
15. My children are healthy!
16. In October of this year,. they thought I had lymphoma ... I am so thankful that it didn't come to pass!
17. Even though I have days of pain and I still battle an unknown health dilemma ... all the tests show I am "healthy". I am
so thankful for a gazillion medical tests showing nothing! (Of course, an indicator of the pain would be good too!)
18. I am thin and have been all my life. YEP, I am thankful for that. We all live in the same world ... you know the world
pursues that. I was blessed with my Grandpa's "Skinny genes".
19. Even though I am thin, I love to work out and excersise. I am thankful I enjoy those activities because it makes it much
easier to stay healthy.
20. I have two college degrees and a real estate license .. paid for. So thankful for opportunities!
21. Thankful for the way my husband makes me laugh!
22. Thankful that I lived in so many places growing up. I have gotten to see and experience much!
23. Thankful for like a gazillion birthday wishes today on Facebook. WOW ... princess for a day!
24. I love that my son is so great at sports. It makes all those hours watching and cheering so much fun!
25. My kids are super smart. Not even biased .. the report cards and the GT classes tell me. I am so thankful that they were
given such a gift!
26. I am so thankful that my sweet nephew married his girlfriend and is working so hard to make a young marriage and being
a young Daddy work. Madeline is a CUTIE!
27. I am so thankful for my awesome church! I cannot tell you how much the Lord speaks to me through Scott's messages!
28. I am so blessed and thankful for the opportunity to be a Texas Associate for our adoption agency ... I love the look on
when someone knows they are being called. I can see it in their eyes!
29. So thankful that tonight, I get to eat at Chuey's ... hmmm, I love Mexican food!
30. So blessed and thankful that we have the finances to send our kids to TbarM this summer. I love that place and so do
31. So thankful for awesome neighbors! Kimberly, your sweet card and balloon was a bright spot today ... as are your
delicious "Sweets" you send over so often!
32. So thankful that both of my parents are still healthy! I love watching them enjoy retirement!
33. Blessed by my parents who give and give and give of their time to help me out in pinches or just because they adore my
34. Thankful for Doug's family who all lives so close. I love that my kids get to grow up around their cousins, grandparents
35. So thankful for the men in my husbands life who have helped mold him. He is so incredible and I know that their have
been key men to help that process along.
36. Thankful for BIQA coffee company. I LOVE the coffee ... and I think one of the roasters is extra fantabulous!
O.K. so that was in NO particular order but I can't tell you how easy it was to spew out blessings and things to be thankful for.
But as every birthday goes .. you have to give one to grow on. SO, last but not least .. whoever is reading this, I am thankful for YOU!
Posted by Cristie at 1:21 PM
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Beautiful Maliah is brilliant, precocious, curious, outgoing, friendly, artistic, athletic, loving, gentle, loud, and charismatic. Yep, these are just a few of the characteristics I can think of off the top of my head to describe my angel. It's who she is ...it's how G-d created her. When I think of her, they are a part of her identity that makes up WHO SHE IS!
This past week, the Lord began to show me that she too thinks of herself as having certain traits and gives herself an identity. I have noticed that if she ever hears someone say the world "China", she quickly will say "Mommy, they said China, I'm from China". She smiles with complete pride as she tells others, I am "Chinese". It's who she is .. and yet, when I thought off the top of my head of those qualities, I never thought of adding "Chinese" to that list ... but she did! I guess it just goes to show me just how important our "belonging" is to our identity.
This past week Mailah said out of the blue ...
"Mommy, did you know I grew in your tummy"?
Now, we have talked lots of times about where she grew, but it seem this week, it began to sink in a little. So answering I said,
"Well, Maliah, remember, you grew in another Mommy's tummy. Remember that word "Adoption"? G-d grew you in another Mommy's tummy but he was growing you there for ME. He knew you there. He tells us so in the bible (Psalm 139) THEN .. I got to come to china and "adopt" you. You became Mommy's daughter, Daddy's daughter and Canyon and Dakota's little sister.
"Oh yeah, that's right". But what do we call THAT Mommy"?
"Well, we can call her your birth Mommy"
"My birf Mommy"??
"Yes, Maliah, your birth Mommy"
"She's really special, right?"
"She sure is. She gave me YOU and she is very special because she gave me such an incredible gift"
"You mean I have TWO MOMMY'S"? (said in great excitement)
"You sure do, your THAT special"
That's how the conversation went on Tuesday. Wednesday rolls around and Maliah says this ..
"Mommy, what do we call that lady again?"
Knowing just where she was going I said ...
"You mean your birth Mommy? We call her your birth Mommy"
Yeah, my birth Mommy. Can we go and meet her?" (SIGH)
"Well, Maliah, your birth Mommy lives in China and I don't know who she is. BUT .. let's pray that she comes to know Jesus so that one day, in heaven, she and you can meet. I bet Jesus would love that!"
Matter of factly she says .. "O.K. let's do".
The very next day, from the back of the car, Maliah says (in great excitement), "Did you know that Jesus lives in your HEART"?
Giggling a little, I say "He sure does if you invite him in". Maliah replies "Oh, I totally want him there". Giggling more ..."well, then all you have to do is invite him there .. say "Jesus, I want you to be in my heart and guide me in my thoughts and my living every day".
Clearly this week was one full of questions about her identity. As I began to put all the pieces together I was struck with the fact that first and foremost, she is proud of her culture and her place of origin (China). Starting from a very early age, she knew that she was Chinese and the word "China" was something that was hers! It was something she identified herself with.
I don't believe she really knew what that meant though. But recently, she is beginning to realize or question what that means for her identity. If she was born in China and from another Mommy's tummy .. then how do I fit in with YOU? We continue to paint the picture over and over again of the gift of adoption. It isn't a "taboo" word in our house and honestly, on a given week, it is mentioned several times. Our goal has always been that Maliah would know her story and feel free to ask any questions and share ANY feelings she has about her story ... including asking about her "Birf" Mommy. This week, she had lots of questions about that person. Who is she? What does that really mean? Is she good?
I hope that over the years we can convey just how special she was to us and should be to her. I want Maliah to know that she was a gift to us and that we believe (given the circumstances in China and the horrendous rate of abortion) that Maliah's birth Mommy loved her very much. She indeed is THAT SPECIAL!
As she progressed through the week, it is much like our own progression of our own identities as adults. As she began to ask where she fit in here .. her earthly circumstances .. it brought her into a greater question. Who is this Jesus? Where does he fit into my life?
I love that so emphatically she wanted to share her excitement of where he is and where he lives ... in HER HEART! I know that at four, she might not quite get what that means. Sure, she can recite what we teach her, but it may not quite sink into her heart. Then again, if she's invited him in ... I don't question that he's there! I love that!
OH Maliah, my beautiful girl, I pray that over the years that first and foremost, you'd know that you are indeed a daughter of the King of Kings. You are a princess! You are an heir to the inheritance of the greatest King! You are his beloved!
I also hope you know that although you weren't born of my womb, that you are indeed one of my greatest gifts ever! I have been blessed more than you'll ever know because I was CHOSEN to be your Mommy. Of all the families, he chose ME for YOU!
That humbles me!
And Maliah, I pray that you will know just what a special woman your birth Mommy must have been. She gave me you! She CHOSE life for you. Though you may never meet her here on this earth, I indeed pray that one day, your Savior will introduce you to her. I pray that she hears his name and she too invites him into her heart just like you! I pray that one day, I'll meet her ... face to face ... and when I do, I will get to tell her just how special SHE IS and YOU ARE!
SO, we're on a quest for our identity around here. I believe, as long as we continue to talk about it, then the enemy can't hold it over us. I pray that if all those answers to her questions are kept in the light .. and never hidden .. then maybe, just maybe ... that identity will never be one of crisis but one of REDEMPTION!!!
Posted by Cristie at 1:47 PM