Counting it all as JOY

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

 

The days continue to march on with words left unsaid here. Ultimately this was my little space to share and document our crazy, little life. I guess the problem in that is that a crazy little life rarely slows down long enough to be documented.  I adore looking back on our journey though and each time I visit I find myself sad that I haven’t take the time to truly show who we are here. For myself really…but for these 3 little ones also.

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We are entering a new “time” in our journey. One that could make us scared to step out on the water for fear of the unknown.

But our hope is found in a God who doesn’t fail us.

 A savior who promises to work all things for good for those who love Him.

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  And so we step….

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” And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Romans 5:5

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It is through that hope in HIM that we find strength and endurance for the road He has set before us.

It really is a beautiful road.

Full of everyday joys.

Of watching our littles grow.

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Celebrating each birthday and new accomplishment.

Reminding each other that time passes quickly.

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Spurring. Cheering. Teaching. Discipling.

In all honesty, we have no idea what we are doing.

But we know enough to seek knowledge from our Savior who promises to guide us.

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But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,

who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5

And we CHOOSE JOY through everything

{ the tears, the laughter, the pain }

Joy doesn’t come naturally during the difficult but no matter what the world tells you it IS a choice.

We choose to count it all as JOY!

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Dawson Pierce turns 4!

4 years
They flew by in the blink of an eye
a drop of a hat
and lots of other idioms that mean really quickly

Our world changed so much the day our Dawson Pierce was born because I was opened up to the special love that little boys have for their mama. If you aren’t the mother to a son I pray you get to experience that kind of love for yourself one day because you just can’t really describe it. Boy mamas, am I right?!?

These past 4 years have been incredible. Watching Dawson grow into the little person that he is has been one of the biggest joys of my life. I’m so proud of him for who he is becoming and how much he has grown up this past year. It’s a few days past his birthday now and as usual I’m behind on this post. Just this morning he was looking through our wedding album and the album of his big sister’s first year and wanted to know where his album was. Well, about that bud.. Mommy dropped the ball. It happens you know. Times keeps going by so FAST.  I could do the guilty mom thing but you know what? I’m not. This morning I had this revelation that I may not be the best at documenting our lives but I’m ok with that because in the end what matters the most aren’t the pictures. What matters most are the moments.

The moments when my sweet, sleepy faced boy climbs into bed beside me at 6 am just to snuggle. He will always runs his fingers along my hand and fall back to sleep just for a few minutes. It must be close to what heaven is like.

The moments when he has learned something brand new and his face lights up so bright that he is beaming while I cheer him on.

The moments after he has played outside for hours and rushes through the door sweaty and covered in grass stains and I can’t help but pick him and take a big, deep whiff of that puppy smell. You boy moms know the one I mean!

The moments when we are curled up on the couch just being silly and he bursts out into the biggest belly laughs that I wish I could bottle up and sell. The world would be a happier place.

The moment when you see your baby boy become a big brother and not only take on the role but embrace it fully. When he teaches and encourages his new little buddy and your heart can’t help but melt.

These moments can’t be captured in a photo but I’ll remember every last detail of them. So, I may not ever be the mom with a shelf full of scrapbooks or even simple photo albums but I’m ok with that! My kids will be ok with the moments I’m right in the action with them instead of just an onlooker with the camera, right? ; )

And before I forget I wanted to share some of my favorite things about Dawson right now~

– When he is telling you a story about something that happened in the past it always, always happened on Wednesday. In fact, when he is talking about something that will happen in the future it will be on Wednesday. Basically, if he is referring to anytime that is not in the present it will be Wednesday.

– He has the best sense of humor! The boy is going to be the class clown. I feel it in my bones. He is already witty and picks up on jokes that I think are going to fly right over his head.

– He is very particular about his room and toys. Everything has a place and he cannot go to sleep without making sure things are tidy. No shoving things under the bed for this guy!

-He loves to share. No, I’m not kidding. If he is given a snack or treat he always asks for one for Reagan (and more recently for Maddox too). If you ask him for a bite of something he is eating he happily obliges.

-He sleeps with a blue minky dot blanket that he calls “night night”.

– He LOVES super heroes,transformers, swimming, macaroni and cheese, chocolate milk, going to the jungle (which is of course the zoo), Scooby Doo, going to the beach, playing in his sandbox, practicing writing his name…I could go on!

We are blessed everyday by our sweet guy! Happy Birthday, Dawson Pierce!!  I can’t wait to see what year 4 brings us!!

 

****I could have searched for a sweet little picture of our guy all dressed up and…clean, but this is our Dawson the way we know him best! Silly, covered in dirt with some food smudged on his face…and we love every inch of him!*******

Two Weeks Home

There are times when I glance in my rear view mirror and see his almond shaped eyes that I’m completely overcome with emotion at the fact that he is really is home. Then there are times that it feels like he has been with us forever. To say that we have come far in the past two weeks would be an understatement. We have come FAR!  Looking back on those first few days in Seoul I can see now what a sad boy we had…even in pictures he doesn’t look like the bubbly, sweet Maddox that runs up and down the hallways here now. It’s amazing to see his progression and we are so happy to know that he is starting to feel like this is home.

We had a small setback this week when David was hospitalized on Monday for colitis. Apparently, the one meal we have eaten out since we have been home contained some bad sushi…that only David ate (Praise God). So, for 4 days we had a very sick daddy. I’m so thankful for friends and family that pitched in to help this crazy mama. The big kids had VBS and a sleepover with my parents while Maddox and I did a lot of camping out at the hospital. It wasn’t ideal but we made it work and thankfully he was discharged on Thursday afternoon.

Other than that, we have been doing really well. In honor of being home two weeks I wanted to share a few things about our new little guy!

~ He LOVES bath time….like water splashing everywhere, crying when it’s time to get out kind of love!

~ He eats everything. The only food he hasn’t gobbled right up is grapes and diced pears. He holds food in his cheeks like a squirrel…control issues much? ; )

~ He is sleeping like a champ. Normally he will go down around 8 pm and wake up around 7 am. Actually getting him to get to sleep can sometimes be a challenge but hey it’s only been two weeks, right?

~When we say “bye bye” he waves.

~ We play this game where we point to his nose and say “Jeong-hwan’s nose” and then point to my nose and say “umma’s nose”. Finally this week he will play back and point to his own nose when we say it. So fun to watch him soak up language and learn things.

~ Maddox and Dawson are the cutest little pair and watching them grow into brothers has been joy to my heart. Today I walked into the hall just in time to watch Maddox reach out to Dawson and give him an unsolicited hug. I may have shed a tear.

Life is good and we praise God for His goodness!

On Friday we spent the afternoon at my parents house to celebrate my dad’s birthday. It was Maddox’s first time out there and he had a blast hanging out by the pool. While we were in Korea my dad had been working on some swimming skills with the big kids and they were very eager to show off their new moves. We had a fun afternoon! Here are a few pictures:

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One Week Home

This very moment one week ago we were walking off an airplane into our hometown with our sweet blessing. We were exhausted and hungry but seeing the flashes going off through the airport windows gave us one last burst of energy. We were greeted with cheers  by our closest friends, family, and neighbors and 1 minute later I wrapped my arms around my two big kids and squeezed them so hard I took their breath away. At that moment we became a family of 5. As I sit her one week later I couldn’t be filled with more joy. The boys are splashing in a bubble bath and my sweet girl is curled up beside me. Life is so good!

At some point late in the week things started to fall into place. Maddox was sleeping through the night. David and I felt like we were alive again. We were seeing so many more laughs and giggles than tears. The big kids fell into a comfortable spot in their roles and everyone was getting along. I know it’s a honeymoon phase and if I had a sponge I would soak it up and bottle it because it is PRICELESS!

Last night Maddox slept in his bed from 8pm to 8:30 am and when I opened his door this morning he gave me the biggest smile. He was finally expecting to see me instead of someone else. It was a big moment.

Every day we see more and more of his sweet personality. Here are a few pictures from our evening in the backyard:

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Making Our Way to a New Normal..

Today was day 2 of my return to work. You know the stay at home mom gig. : ) I do love my job but yesterday was…well tough. Just being honest. Maddox and I have yet to recover from jet lag. David really needed to get back in the office after being gone for two weeks so off he went and I’ll admit I was a little nervous. We survived and honestly we were all so exhausted by days end that we went to bed before 8.

Everyone got a good night’s sleep last night and I felt ready to conquer the day…and Target. I needed to get out. So we shopped a little. It went well. The key with my big kids is to set my expectations for them before we get out of the car. And yes, I do mean all the way down to who will sit in the shopping cart and where they will sit, who will stand beside the cart and not wander, what we will be purchasing and what we won’t. Sound militant? ; ) The big kids thrive on boundaries and Maddox well he has no clue what I’m saying so he just smiles! : )

I’ll be honest and say that I’m ready to be in a routine. After talking with a few other adoptive moms I realize that I have set my expectations too high but I can’t help it. We are home and I need a new normal. We are getting there and I need to cut myself some slack but those suitcases aren’t going to unpack themselves! : ) 🙂 What a post of random. Excuse it..I am still in need of some sleep.

Here are a few photos from the past two days…which is what you all come here to see anyway, right? ; )

Fall Y’all

 Ok, it’s been Fall for a little bit but I’ve got a few pictures I wanted to catch up on from this week. I am so proud of myself for actually taking my camera with me lately.

Here is a little bit about what’s been going on with us:

Tuesday was my birthday and we had a fun family day. David took the day off and the kids took out to lunch at Ol*ve Garden. David asked Reagan where she thought I’d like to go and she said she just knew I’d pick OG…and I did!

And it just so happens OG is HER favorite too..so it worked out in her favor.

 This is how she eats her bread sticks. She bites off the part with the salt…

 Hmm..Is he working or playing Angry Birds? That is the question….

                          

                                        I think the Tiramisu was for me but I only got one bite….

After lunch we came home and took a fabulous nap then headed out for ice cream and to the movie store. We rented E.T. and stopped for snacks then we all came home and put on our PJ’s. The rest of the evening was spent curled on the couch watching movies. I seriously could not have planned a better way to spend my birthday. Relaxing and fun!

 Last night was the annual Fall Festival at our church. The kids look forward to this every year. I had a family theme for our costumes this year (Goldilocks and the 3 bears) but my kids actually had an opinion this year (so not fair).  Reagan picked Ariel and Dawson wanted to be Buzz Lightyear again. He tried to change his mind at the last minute and be Optimus Prime but I was not about to purchase a costume when Buzz was super cute and recycled from last year.

     He was so proud to show everyone that his wings would light up and ran around with his arms in the air shouting, “To the rescue!”

 Prettiest little mermaid I’ve ever seen. I’m hoping someone introduces a Chi’ to her one day soon though.

                                                       Aunt Jenny joined us at the Fall Festival too!

                                                                              My sweet Ariel

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 We had a blast. Ate too much junk. Caught up with friends. Went on a hay ride. Played carnival games.Jumped on bouncy houses. Trunk or Treated. Slept well!

 Yay. I’m all caught up. Now to get some laundry done.

A Field Trip First

    Yesterday,  I got to attend Dawson’s 1st ever field trip. To say that he was excited is an understatement. He was THRILLED..and on top of that he asked at least 10x if Rea Rea (his nickname for Reagan) was going and jumped up and down when I said it was just the two of us. He loves some one on one time with his mama and I’m loving that he loves it! : )

 So, the field trip was to a corn maze on a local farm. They really had a great set up and the weather was amazing. We had a lot of fun!

                                                                           Just a little excited!

                        Even though I look at their sweet faces everyday sometimes it surprises me at how much they look alike. And don’t they look very grown up in this picture??

    Just hanging out on the farm!

Dawson and his buddy (neighbor, car pool friend, partner in crime) Cole

We went on a fun hay ride around the farm and afterwards headed over to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin!

After quite some searching Dawson settled on this orange and green spotted one.

                                                                                    Sweet Victory!

   We ventured through a mini corn maze..and a bigger one too with his whole class but I didn’t get any pictures of that.  In the BIG corn maze we followed clues to find our way out. The kids had fun. I asked Dawson what he thought we would find in the maze? Lions? Tigers? Bears? His reply, “No, just corn!”

 

                          Removing all the kernels of corn from the cob. What big muscles he has!!

Very cool sand box FILLED with corn kernels and lots of buckets, scoopers, and of course farm equipment toys. This was one of Dawson’s very favorite parts!

                                          Pausing just  long enough for me to snap a picture.

                      Dawson and I stopped for a quick picture in front of this super cool hay bale spider before we left. The sun was bright and in his face..and he was “sweaty and tursty” so this was the best we could do! This spider reminds me that I almost died this morning when I spotted a very large 8 legged creature in my kitchen. I feel certain it looked something like this:

 Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration but did I mention I don’t do spiders? And of COURSE I was going to be brave and flip-flop squish the terrifying creature but as I returned to the room with said flip flop…IT WAS GONE!  I feel a little jittery…

Class Pets!

 So, I do have other children. They’ve been sorely neglected on here lately. I cannot tell you the last time I have picked up my camera. I’ve really got to get better. The last two weekends we’ve hosted class pets in our home so in order to document their adventures for the class scrapbook I had to take a few pictures.  I thought I’d share a few since they are the only ones I’ve taken lately. Must.get.better!

Two weekends ago Dawson got to bring home “Jack” the class bear.

                                  This is Dawson and Jack at bedtime. Dawson insisted he wear PJ’s..of course!

 Jack kept getting into quite his fair share of mischief.  This is where we found him before church on Sunday..

         Reagan and her class pet “Caramel” before heading out for a spin around the neighborhood. It was quite an adventure!

We camped out in the backyard last weekend while Caramel was visiting.  The kids had a blast roasting hot dogs and making s’mores on our little fire pit. I think the highlight for them was experimenting with what things looked like when they melted. They tried paper, leaves, juice boxes, graham crackers…good fun. And then, we ALL squeezed in a tent. Normally I tuck everyone in and sneak inside to my nice cozy bed. But, I took one for the team and joined them. I’m SO not a camper.

  Reagan insisted we make “Caramel” some caramel milk. Yes, that would be milk mixed with Caramel ice cream topping. Reagan pleaded that is was just the same as using chocolate syrup. Hmm.. I think she might be a lawyer when she grows up.

 

Back to School

         A little late on the draw with this one but my big kids started back to school last week. Reagan is officially a kindergartener and Dawson started 3k (3 mornings a week). It’s been quite the adjustment from summer having to be out the door around 7:30!  The kids are really loving their new friends, new teachers, and new routine. Reagan did ask me on a particularly grumpy Monday morning “How much longer was she going to have to get up so early!?!?” I informed her that sadly the answer to that was the rest of her life. : )

The Tuesday before school started the kids got to go to their classrooms and meet their teachers. Here are a few pictures of that morning:

Reagan was excited to not only have some special “old” friends in her class but a few new friends. I think it always takes the anxiety out of the first day getting to see your classmates and room before school really begins.

 Dawson wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to get a picture of him but he made lots of new friends too. Oddly enough, 4 kids that live on our street are in his class so he already had a few familiar faces.

 This is his *new* camera smile face. Sigh.

Wednesday morning was the first day of school and the kids were both VERY excited. I expected some anxiety from Reagan but I was surprised that for the most part she wasn’t nervous a bit. Dawson true to form never skipped a beat. Even with our new early morning schedule we managed to take a few quick pictures before we loaded up the car. 

My little kindergartener

 I can’t believe she is old enough to be in 5K

   Right before this picture my camera died and I was forced to pull out my iPhone to finish up the pictures.

  Seriously the cutest 3ker ever! Our preschool provides bags for all the kids each year. Dawson’s seems to swallow him. I’m sure by the end of school I’ll be reminiscing about how little he seemed.

        He couldn’t stop talking about going to play on the “water slide” aka play ground slide.

               He looks entirely too grown up here. I can’t even handle the cuteness!

            When we got to school Reagan practically tackled us to get inside the school. Dawson walked right into his room and started playing and I had to make him stop long enough to give me a hug.  Then we walked Reagan to her class and once through the threshold she clung to my leg for dear life. Thankfully,her teacher came right over and greeted her and she gave her a big hug and then was ready for us to leave. I was completely fine until I walked out of her classroom and then I welled up with tears just a little bit. I’m really proud of them both.

I took a few pictures of them in their classroom and with their teachers but after a quick google search I decided to be a little more precautious about what I share on here. I think I’ve been pretty naive about who can see what on this blog and I’d rather just be on the safe side..and today that means not sharing my pictures that tell the world where my kids go to school everyday. But trust me they are incredibly cute. 

 Both kids had a great first day. They LOVE their teachers and had lots to tell me when they got home. I’m so proud of both of them and excited for the school year ahead.

 Late that afternoon while we were chatting Reagan got this serious look on her face and said, “Mama, I thought you said I was going to learn how to read in kindergarten!?!?” I laughed and was sure to inform her that she would but it may take just a little bit longer than 1 day. : )

  Time just keeps ticking away and as always we are just trying to soak up every little drop.