Sweet cousin love

Rarely does a day go by that Lily doesn't talk about her cousin Zack and aunt Lizzy! She loves them both and her eyes light up every time I mention their name :)

This Wednesday was no different...after her speech therapy we met up with them at the mall to throw pennies in the fountain.

BLOG focused zack

Aunt Liz brought plenty of coins for the kids to throw and Zack was focused on getting his pennies to go to the highest part of the fountain.

BLOG lily throwing pennies

Lily followed suit and had fun tossing in her pennies too...they just didn't go as far :)

BLOG zack and lily in mall

We tried to get them to take only a few at a time to make it last longer but they didn't have the same idea in mind.

Love how Lily is looking up at her aunt as if to say "Can I really take some more???"

BLOG lily taking a break

Lily took a break to sanitize her hands while Zack continued to work through the rolls of pennies.

When the last of the pennies were in the fountain it was time to think about lunch. 

My dad sent me some money recently with the specific instructions of taking Liz and Zack out for lunch so we thought this would be the perfect day to cash in his treat!

BLOG waiting for zack

Lily anxiously waited outside the door for Zack to arrive!

BLOG five guys

Both of them had a hot dog and cleaned their plate.

We still had some money left so we headed up to sweet CeCe's for some yogurt!

I was busy catching up with Liz and didn't get any pictures of their yummy treats but did catch this one of Zack helping Lily put on her shoe...what a gentleman in the making!

BLOG zack at sweet cece's

On our way back to the car Liz and I got some inspiration for a fun photo shoot from this window display...Liz is SUPER creative and always coming up with something fun to try so stay tuned for some mustaches and bow tie pics!

BLOG paper source inspiration

Before we said our goodbyes I caught a few more shots of these two in action...

BLOG zack and lily outside five guys

Zack tried on Lily's pink sparkle shoes...

BLOG trying on pink shoes

...and decided that his spider man flip flops were a better fit!

Lils desperately tried to get a kiss out of him but he wasn't too sure about the stitches under her nose...he thought they may come get him!

BLOG waiting for a kiss

Maybe next visit she will get her wish because her stitches come out tomorrow!

Our morning with these two was just what the doctor ordered! 

They always bring such joy and laughter to our souls. Not to mention that her aunt Lizzy (and Mark) spoil her just a tad and she loves every minute of it!


Sunday Snapshot {Little Chef}

BLOG chef lily hiding

Our little chef is a resilient little girl. Just two days after surgery and she is off her pain meds and we even got a few smiles and laughs today!

After our pancake breakfast this morning she pulled out her basket of cooking supplies and we spent about an hour playing on the kitchen floor together.

BLOG chefl lily on floor hiding fork

She had fun hiding her forks for me to find...

BLOG chef lily hinding fork

and waiting for me to hide my eyes again so she could find a new spot.

BLOG dropping cheerios

Spencer and Lily had a Cheerio dropping contest and I happened to catch on in action before it hit the cup.

BLOG chef lily foot on trashcan

Every good chef always throws away the trash...Lily is no exception in this category :)

BLOG chef lily praying

She stopped to say a sweet prayer

BLOG chef lily looking at top

And helped me clean up when it was time for her suture cleaning routine. 

She is good as gold and doesn't move a muscle when I'm cleaning her stitches. We do this three times a day but so far, she doesn't seem to mind.

BLOG lily playing on phone

I let her watch Dora on my phone while I cleaned her sutures which is a rare treat for her since she doesn't watch any TV :)

BLOG lily looking down

As you can see she was one happy little girl!

She put her chef hat on again when it was time for lunch and looked up at me with those big brown eyes that melt my heart.

BLOG chef lily looking up

Today was a good day...really good in every way.

Thankful for healing and that nothing seems to stop our determined little girl.

The first picture was taken at the following settings
aperture 2.5
shutter speed 1/250
ISO 2500
Processed with Classic Color from Florabella 

To see more beautiful Sunday Snapshots visit NiHao Ya'll.  

Ni Hao Yall


Favorite Photo Friday {speak up...the hard but beautiful}

BLOG lily and michael speak up

Proverbs 31:8a "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves".

A friend of mine who recently brought home her sweet son from China said to me...when you are following what God calls you to do it is easier.

She said this while I was visiting her in the hospital after her son's palate repair...after weeks of many doctor's visits to determine how best to care for his needs and after leaving her two children at home for over 2 weeks while she and her husband traveled to China.

"Easier"...not by the world's standard but knowing that you are in the center of God's will.

"Easier" knowing that the hard moments are right where God has you for this season of your life.

This is where I find myself today.

The "easy" but hard journey of adoption. Our journey has exceeded my expectations in so many ways and I know without a doubt that we are right where God wants us to be but today was hard and long.

BLOG b&w leaving hospital

Today was Lily's third surgery in 14 months (not counting the surgery she had in China before we brought her home). She had her initial lip repair in China in November 2010, her palate repair in May 2011, a lip revision in September 2011 and today she had her columella lengthening and new tubes put in her ears.

Lily woke up this morning with a bright smile ready to "go"!

BLOG lily walking out the door

She found a Dora phone in the condo where we stay when we come for her surgeries and it was a great source of entertainment and distraction at the hospital prior to surgery.

BLOG michael holding up lily

In the car she humored us with her many faces...

trio faces in car

She clung tight to her daddy as we were walking into the hospital...

BLOG walking into hospital

Now that she is older, she is connecting the dots and as we we were waiting in the pre-op room she kept saying "go-car"...I think she realized what was coming her way.

BLOG double reading in bed

We always love our visit from nurse Emily...she has the biggest heart and such genuine love for all of the children with cleft lip/palates :)

BLOG michael lily and emily

Normally the "goofy juice" they give her puts her at ease but it had the adverse reaction this time which was hard to watch. I think it was a combination of the medicine, being hungry and tired. Finding comfort in her daddy's arms helped ease her a bit...

BLOG b&w lily hugging michael

Nurse Emily carried her back to surgery to help ease her tears...watching your child leave is the part of surgery that NEVER gets easier.

Thank goodness for my ROCK of a husband who never waivers and is always steady and true. Whenever I doubt, he is the one who reminds me that she is God's child...He is with her...and He is faithful.

Lily did great during surgery and was a little sleepy head for quite some time in recovery.

BLOG post op in hospital bed

Normally she she doesn't mind her "no-no's" but now that she wants to do everything herself she was quite upset with them as she woke up.

Whenever I try to help her eat or drink she tells me "move mama"...humm...I wonder where she learned to be so independent?

She was quite irritable and agitated tonight and cried a lot when I laid her down to sleep. 

She can't sleep on her stomach for the next two weeks so we tuck her in like a little hot dog with rolled towels around her, a neck pillow and her arms in splints with a long sleeve shirt over top so she can't Houdini herself out and roll over on her stomach...no wonder she was agitated :)

Not sure if it is her age, having surgery later in the day, or the fact that she is much more aware of what is going on but this surgery was more difficult that I was expecting.

As I was running my hands through her hair tonight and singing to her I thought to myself...would I do it again? would I do it for another child if that is what God called us to do?


The joys far outweigh the hard moments. We will continue to speak up for the orphan and advocate for those who have no voice.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouraging words...we felt every one.  

On a happy note...a HUGE plus to Lily's surgeries is being able to see my friend Katie when I am in Little Rock. She and her husband are so gracious to have us in their home and feed us every time we come to town. It is a little piece of home away from home and such a treat to visit with her and her beautiful girls.

I love the way her husband described them last night.  He said if he had to choose one word it would be...

"bright" for their oldest

BLOG bates swinging

"sweet" for their middle child


and "fun" for their youngest.

BLOG mae on playset

As you can see they radiate joy and beauty, inside and out.

BLOG doulbe of bates and mae

Hoping to see more of these smiles from our Lils in the days ahead.



Sunday Snapshot {the simple gifts of motherhood}

The simple gifts God gives me in the every day moments of life are some of the things I love most about being a mom.

Listening to the sweet sounds of Lily's prayers before each meal...

BLOG lily praying

Seeing Lily look up to Spencer with eyes of wonder, excitement and admiration...

BLOG lily looking at spencer

Watching Spencer wrestle with Lily and hearing laughter that fills the room...

BLOG wrestling

Seeing the genuine look of love in Spencer's eyes when he gives Lily a hug...

BLOG spencer hugging lily

Waking up to this face every morning 
(on this particular morning she wanted me to sing "This little piggy went to market")

BLOG little piggy

Watching Spencer shine with the musical gift God has given him...

BLOG spencer with guitar

Playing with Lily in her room seeing the world through her eyes...

BLOG diaper on baby

Watching Lily love to read my Bible every morning when we eat breakfast together...

BLOG reading biblejpg

Capturing moments when they don't know you are watching (her new favorite thing is to climb up and down our total gym)


Watching Spencer grow into an exceptional young man who has quite the charming smile even when it is "toothless"...

BLOG spencer

Having a constant little helper around the house that tries to imitate everything I do (she is cleaning windows with a sponge brush :)

BLOG lily washing windows

Seeing Lily have fun playing dress up with my jewelry...

BLOG lily with mimi's box

Letting go of control a bit and letting Lily eat breakfast at the counter on occasion :)

BLOG eating at counter

So thankful that God chose me to be "mom" to these two precious gifts that bring such joy to my life.

I also thank God for giving me a Mom who taught me how to love.  She would do anything for me and our family.  It is a joy to watch her give her love away to Lily and Spencer...it makes my heart full.  

My incredible husband wouldn't be the man he is today without the gift of his Mom.  I am thankful for the impact she has had in his life and for the way she has embraced me as a daughter.  Lily and Spencer love spending time with their "nana" and "gaga"!  

BLOG lily and spencer in wagon

I am also reminded today about Lily's birth mom and the sacrifice of love she made by choosing to give her LIFE.  Millions of children woke up today without someone to call Mom...a place to call HOME...and a FAMILY to give them love.  When God stirs our hearts to move...we have a choice to make.

What if we had missed it?  What if we, like so many, felt God's nudging but chose not to take the step of faith and obedience?  

Little did I know how much one little girl could change the lives of so many.  God is writing a story...His story...and this is just the beginning.  

To see more beautiful Sunday Snapshots visit Ni Hao Ya'll.  

Settings for the first photo
Nikon D80 50 mm 
apeture 1.8
shutter speed 1/160
ISO 3200
Processed with Florabella Classic Color


Ni Hao Yall
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