slide show

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Help please...

I calling out for my annual request for book suggestions for my summer reads!  Here is my list from last year.

I really only like to read books that are good.  Nothing too heavy, please.   But it has to be well written.  I adore historical fiction, but I'm not bound to it. Funny is always good, and I love authors that can weave humor into a good story.  Good non-fiction is good too.  I also love to read what every one was reading a few years back.    

I will also add that I am not a natural or voracious reader.  I have to work at itand I'm slow.  I consider every book I finish a personal trophy.  If I don't keep reading, my comprehension level plumits.    

Any suggestions???

I'm almost done with the book I currently am reading, Secret Daughter by Shilpi Gowdaand need to get cracking on ordering a few more.  Especially since summer is the only time I have the opportunity to read. 

Help please! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

7 Days {what Sunny wears}

So this is my second 7 Days project and just like the last one, I had a blast doing it and think it was great exercise as a photographer!  In the end it seemed really appropriate that Sunny and her wardrobe were the subject matter since she graduated at the end.  She has a few dressy outfits included too.  Much of the time she goes straight to work after school, so many of these are her work outfits.  Wouldn't you just love to see what you wore every day for a week when you were a teenager?

Again, I did all the shots in the same place, and I think it unites them together.  The 7 days project forces me to be creative and capture for the details.  And I'm trying really hard to get past the clutter on the porch.  
I did all these with my cell phone and Instagram.  But next time I think I'll try doing it with my big girl camera.  

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

My favorites?
The handful of stuff she always has as she leave the house, sunglasses, car keys, & cell phone... you know, just the essentials. 
The shoes.  Good golly this girl loves her shoes!  I can't even come close to walking in those things!
The dogs in the background.
Jude coming over to say hi and stealing the shot.
Even the clutter on the porch.   

PS-If your not ready now, but want to participate next time, the next 7 Days project will be in 2-3 weeks so you have some time to pick your subject matter and start snapping pics.  I'll pick my favorite from this time to highlight and link to on the next 7 Days project.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Going on a Bear Hunt

Canon 5D Mark II, 100mm, 5.0, ISO 400, 1/100 sec.
I'm really trying to get better at back lighting shots. Practice makes perfect.  I should have had my shutter speed higher, which opening up my aperture would have easily done.  Hind sight is 50/50 I guess.  I also really wanted this image to be in color, but I remembered what Stefanie said about, if color isn't adding to your photo, then it's taking away from it.  I converted it to black & white and love it so much better this way!

Ni Hao Yall

We made it up the mountain to Little Cabin in the Woods.
And after 105 degree days, the little kiddos were itching to get outside.
So they promptly went on a bear hunt.
And by "bear hunt" I mean collecting rocks and sticks, playing on the swings, and get really dirty.  
It's a bit ironic, because there have been several bear sightings here very recently.
They looked and looked.
They marched all over the yard.

And had to take a break or two to rest up a bit.
But they couldn't find any bears any where.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Photo Gallery {Mimi at dusk}

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our Early Intervention

Our girl qualified for Early Intervention services.
Our sweet lovely amazing daughter is delayed.
I don't want it to be that way.
But it is.
And it's no surprise either.
We went into international adoption with our eyes wide open, preparing for the worst and praying for the best.  Her delays were completely expected.
There's a dichotomy in my heart.  I want everything to be perfect for her.  I want it to be easy.  And yet I don't.  I know that there are wonderful blessings in overcoming.  But then I see and hear how wonderfully the other children adopted from her orphanage around the same time and/or same age are doing.  How "advanced" they are.  Potty trained.  Speaking words and sentences.   A vocabulary so big it's hard to keep track.  Gross motor skills beyond her's.  Better muscle tone and strength.
And she's just not.
And it's ok.
I'll continue repeating my mantra... there are blessings in overcoming.
So why is there something in my heart that takes pause when I think about the delays my girl has?  I mean, I expected this, right?  I was mentally prepared for this... right?
So why does the label hurt?
Maybe being mentally prepared and having your child that you've fallen so amazingly and deeply in love with, officially labeled are two different things entirely.
Yet, we're thankful that we have the resources to get the assistance she needs.

Enter - Early Intervention.

Both Tess and Jude qualified for Early Intervention when they were 1 year old.  So I referred Mimi to be evaluated as soon as came home from China.  Yes, you can refer your own child.  And yes, I did it online because in reality I'm more likely to follow through with things that are easy peasy.  I Googled "Early Intervention" and my state and quickly found the referral form and clicked send.  I received a phone call within a couple days and had an evaluation in our home in a couple weeks after that.  They evaluated Mimi in many areas, including, gross and fine motor skills, speech, cognitive delays.  She qualified with significant speech delays.
Mimi has speech therapy, in our home, once per week.
Enter - Betsy, our speech therapist and now my friend.
Through Early Intervention, we had 8 therapy sessions a week with Tess and Jude.  They were 12 months old when they came home so truth-be-told, 1 session per week now feels like cake.  So far with our 3 kiddos that have been in Early Intervention we have had speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, eating/food therapy, cognitive/emotional assistance, and a couple more specific programs I can't remember.
A few take away notes.
---For the most part, we schedule times that work for our schedule.  I'm not horribly picky about times, but then again, it doesn't do us much good if 6 other kids are mulling around interfering during speech therapy.  So we usually schedule morning sessions when the other children are out of the house.
---Almost all the therapy we've done has been in our home.  No need to load up in the car and spend time driving to and from appointments.  It's taken me a bit to get past the therapists seeing my dust bunnies and morning hair.  But they really don't care.
---Early Intervention services run till our child is 3 years old.  At the child's 3rd birthday, the program (and I believe it's this way in other states) transfers to a pre-school setting run by our local school district.
---Therapists differ in their styles.   If therapy feels like a waste of your time, (and I had a couple that were) ask for a different therapist.  For the most part, I think we really had wonderful very professional and knowledgeable therapists that loved their jobs.
---I love the fact that while I sit and watch these therapy sessions, and sometimes helping out, I'm learning how to help and interact with my child all day every day.  These weekly reminders of how to help her are invaluable.
---Every week I have an opportunity to talk with a professional and ask questions.  Just this week I asked our speech therapist, Should we be building her vocabulary at this point or putting more effort into combining 2 and 3 words phrases? Could she be lactose intolerant?  and How many words should a 26 month old be speaking?  It's a wonderful resource at my fingertips every single week.
---Almost all the sessions we've had, have been entirely play based.  We play and learn all at the same time.  The children have loved their therapy and genuinely look forward to it.  They are giddy when they hear the doorbell ring and run to greet their friend (therapist) at the door.
---It takes a while to get into the Early Intervention system, get evaluated, and get therapy scheduled.  So this go around, we wasted no time getting Mimi referred.  It took about 2 months from the day I sent her referral till the first therapy session.  And since it only lasts until she is 3 years old, I'm glad we didn't waste any time.  After all, studies prove that the earlier services are started, the better they work.
---Did I mention that all of this is free to us?  And that even the evaluation is free?  Yea, it is!  Would it happen if it wasn't?  Maybe not.
3 and a half years later, Tess still qualifies for speech services.  When she starts Kindergarten in the fall, she will continue to get extra assistance.  Even though Mimi was adopted a year older than Tess, Mimi's delays aren't as significant.  And we don't think Mimi will need the therapy as long as her older sister.

Like I mentioned, I wish our sweeties didn't need the extra help.  But I'm so so very thankful that I live in a community that helps us get that help when we need it.

Because after all, there really are blessings in overcoming.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {Graduation}

Most mamas were carrying tissues, but I didn't expect any part of the day to bring me to tears.  That's just kinda how I am... easily distracted from what's before me.  I remembered when she started kindergarten, and the other mamas needed tissues then too.  I never did.

But somewhere in the middle of the ceremony, I had this overwhelming feeling.
I leaned over to Papa and whispered... We made this?!  It was more of a question, but kinda a statement at the same time.
Suddenly I wished I had tissues.
I'm old enough to realize that I can take little credit for the people my children grow to be.  But then again, I know our years of love and guidance, tears and hugs, lessons and laughter, must have had some impact on who she is today.  Did it?
If Papa and I had even a tiny part of molding this young woman into who she is, then I am again humbled by what I see.

There are few moments in parenting when you can stand back and admire the product of your handiwork.  This was one of those moments.  The fruits of our labor, (and boy oh boy there were some years that there was much labor to be done) before us in the form of the gorgeous inside and out young woman she has grown in to.
So confident.
So ready to take on the world.

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