Monday, August 30, 2010

Izabella Meets Her Teacher...

8.30.2010: Izabella and I headed off to her pre-school for orientation, where she met her first teacher--"Mrs. P"! She is wonderful and has over 17 years of experience teaching. I'm so excited to see how this will unfold for her. She was a very good girl, I was so proud of her. She followed instruction, listened very well and overall was a good girl. She was a little shy about talking in front of class. However, when the teacher did a "paper donut" counting exercise--she had to get up and give the teacher a "pretend" penny--and get her donut. She jumped up and was great at giving a penny (she's always asking us for money. She'll say, "Mommy, I need some money!" such a young age.") and was so happy when she got back to her place on the floor.

The class size is great 7 to 1 and her first official day of school is Wednesday--and we are the kick-off "snack" family. So the light blue bag you see is the bag for the snack we'll bring on Wednesday.

How did Mom do? Well, I have to admit I fought back the emotions as we approached the table where we'd get her name tag and find out who her teacher was. And when I told her, "Izabella, this is your teacher! Mrs. P__-" I almost lost it. I'm not emotional about leaving her--it's just one of those things I never thought would ever happen for me. To meet my daughter's first teacher! Alas--it finally is happening--and after reading through the orientation paperwork--I will definately need to be organized--picture day, must potty and wash hands before we go to the class each day, bring a snack on our snack day, do the "activity bag" activitied in-between classes, birthday snack. I'm sure we'll be fine. Just all new here in mommy land.

When I asked Izabella what her favorite part of the day was, she said, 'Mrs. P___". The next favorite was the "Old McDonald Had a Farm Game". Where she pulled out the chicken and didn't know the sound the chicken makes--guess we covered duck but not chicken yet. Oh well--the teacher helped her through it--she was fine. Shy. But fine.

Here a few photos of her first day.

 Reading a book called "God made me Special."
 Teresa is a friend of ours. We see them most during football season and never talk about work--it's usually football and before Izabella--Izabella journey updates. So much to our surprise--Teresa is a teacher there--therefore, we think she is a sign from God this is where He wants Izabella to go to school. She was happy to see Teresa there today.
Izabella and her FIRST TEACHER Mrs. P.--can't you just tell looking at her she's wonderful! We are very blessed with this wonderful school and teacher.

This post is in honor of my first teacher, Miss Woods, I'll never forget her.

(Thanks Laurie for sending along the outfit--it's so adorable on her--and we got several sweet comments about how adorable it was. Very special--thanks again my friend! Izabella asked me when I pulled it out for her to wear today--"Mommy, you buy for me?" I said, "No, this outfit was given to you by Allison and Allison's Mommy. Maybe we can meet them someday!")

Friday, August 27, 2010

Coming out of the weeds....

8.27.2010: It's hard to believe after a year of realizing life-long dreams come true and wrapping your arms and heart around the most precious gift ever given to anyone--and she's our daughter now and forever, that we'd be saying "Coming out of the weeds". It's been a very busy week or two--preparing for pre-school for Izabella and my studio is emerging from the weeds of last winters fall out. It has been truly a time of trials for us financially. One I have never experienced before--and hope to never again--yet as you know from our blog Izabella continues to be a VERY bright spot in it all. I am so thankful at the end of the week for oppportunities opening up for me on a professional level and that our family made it through it all and we're closer and more grateful than ever--if that's possible.

I have so many memorable moments on camera and in video--and if I get a chance I need to compile another "Izabella-isms" video of recent video. Like:
  • the night she handed Dan her new garage sale find, the pink pig flashlight that oinks when you turn on the light--to her Daddy and said "Here Daddy light, I sing." She then proceeded to perform a song-a mixed melody of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Somewhere of the Rainbow" that was not distinguishable to most, as Papa held the flash (spot) light on her. I had to giggle at the sight. It really was silly and precious.  To top it all off--at the end of this performance she says, "Dank-you, Dank-you" as she bows like a performer would at the end of a performance.
  • the day she sat on the table in front of Dan and sang their own version of the "A, B, C's" that was really quite entertaining and precious to see unfold--never knowing what was coming next.
Some un-documented moments that are truly special as well are:
  • We pulled out a little book that's called "Mommy's Purse". Our friend Liz gave it to her at the shower before we left for China. I had it put away until I thought she was old enough to play with it and understand it. I cleaned out her closet (so many clothes don't fit anymore--it's un-believable--she has gone from a size 5 shoe in China to now she is in a Size 9. They are a little big--but so were the size 7's I just bought her a couple months ago. Getting smart in my old age.  I digressed==back to the story-- And oh how she understood it. She discovered it one morning while playing in her room and I was working in my studio. She came into the studio with the purse book one hand and the little cardboard computer in the other hand and said, "Mommy. Mommy. I check e-mail too! I check email too!" Then she very seriously sat down at her desk and proceeded to "type" with her fingers like she sees me do A LOT, and then even used the touch mouse pad with what looked like proficiency. When asked if she got any email. She said, "oh yes Mommy." I said "From who?" She said, "Princesses Mommy. Princesses." Later that day she also discovered her new school princess backpack. I had bought it for her before going to China--for $1 at Walmart--couldn't resist and saved it for school. Of course she immediately put her "Mommy's Purse Book" inside it, along with her Pink Flashlight, and asked me to help her put the pack on. It about pulled her over backwards with the weight. So she quickly wanted it off. 

  • she now goes up the 15 step staircase in our house with no hands! Scares me when she does it--I am right behind her--but she only does this when we are near--other wise she holds the railing. She still loves to help us with everything--and she's so sweet about it. She'll say, "I help you Mommy! I help you!" She has gotten very good at folding the towels and wash cloths in the laundry. She has exhibited a lot of stubborn "I do it!" and "I do it my way." behaviors lately. Clearly she is gaining confidence in herself and trust in us everyday. She will tell us, "I talk now."  and insist on getting in her two cents on a conversation. Today for lunch she insisted on ordering her own lunch at Panera Bread. She said, "I want soup. Chicken Soup." Then she said, "I want milk." The guy taking her order was pleasant, but clearly not happy with taking an order from a 3-year old who's chin didn't come above the counter and not only could he not hear her, he could see her. It was hilarious. Seriously.
  • On the way home from lunch--the car was quiet--and she again broke out in song--ALL THE WAY HOME. When I looked back at her, she said, "I sing for Papa!" 

So many things to recall, write or count.

But, I will end with this--I wish I had a picture--but it was impossible--so I'll write about it to remember it. Tonight, we ate dinner and then Papa put on the latest Eagles CD "The Long Journey from Eden" in our favorite front room. Of all the rooms in our house--this front room in absolutely where some of the most precious family moments happen. Tonight was no different. Dan and I danced to a slow dance, swaying back and forth and turning round slowly, as Izabella giggled below us, hugging on our legs and pulling on us to be up with us. Dan reached down and swooped her up in his arm. And with one arm around her and one arm around me, we danced entwined together-my head buried in his chest, his cheek resting on the top of my head, Izabella's head rested on his shoulder, with one arm around each of us. As we all (including Izabella) hummed the tune we danced to. It was not a nice harmony and would definately not win any talent contest--but it was such a beautiful precious moment for our family. I wish I knew what was running through Izabella and Dan's head. I do not. I just know my heart needed that moment. That 7 minute Eagle song. That 7 minutes was worth all the stress and worry of the past 9 months. Ironically enough--some of the words rung so true for me.

 Waiting in the Weeds -- by The Eagles
It's comin' on the end of August
Another summer's promise almost gone
And though I heard some wise man say
That every dog will have his day
he never mentioned that these dog days get so long

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for my time to come around again and 
Hope is floating on the breeze
Carrying me so high up above the ground and 
I've been keepin to myself
Knowin' that the seasons are slowly changing

It's a song about a lost love. But these verses rang true to that moment for me--in the arms of the two most precious things I know.

I always knew--and I said it many times recently--God is in the miracles, the joys--YES--but he is also in the trials too. And although we're not out of the woods yet. There is Hope floating in the breeze this week. I tackled a some things I had never done before--and frankly did not think I could do. But with the help of a very good friend's mentoring--I was able to not just do it--but do it beyond anything I ever thought I could. And I took on another challenge that has yet to prove successful, but I have great hope for it--and this is all I need to get this "little train moving again". I thank God for all the family and friends who have helped me get through this. It occurred to me today, "I guess I'm re-inventing myself again." What a blessing that is. Yes indeed a huge blessing. 

 As I tuck my sweet Izabella into bed each night--sing our favorite lullaby, and linger as long as time will allow--as she reaches her sleepy hand to touch my cheek, hold tight to my hand, fighting the sleep that surely will come, she says in a sleepy voice, "Don't go Mommy. Don't go!" I say, "Oh Mommy is not going anywhere. I'll be right here when you wake in the morning and here again when you go to sleep."  Melts my heart. I love just taking in all her innocence, remember all she's been through, and thanking, thanking, thanking God for placing her in our arms--the stresses of the day melt away for those precious moments. It's pure heaven--it is soooo heaven to look at her and live with her!

I'm coming out of the weeds...and it's all going to be ok. :) Hope truly is floating in the air again.

The photos in this post were taken on Tuesday when cousin Katie came over to hang with Izabella and give me some quiet time to work. Her very special Aunt Chelle gave this little tutu leotard to her the week we got home from China. It was a little big--I re-discovered it when I was cleaning out Izabella's closet--and thought--oh goodness--we better wear that beautiful outfit before she out grows it. So Katie put her in it that day and they ventured out around the neighborhood and around town. Katie said it was hilarious.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Goodbye is always hard...

8.17.2010: This weekend has been soooo wonderful. I got to spend an entire 4 days with my sister and her family--and I mean her whole family. Her husband and her two grown children--one of which lives here--but it was nice to see her with her family. I haven't seen my nephew in over a year--we really need to make a trip home. The only missing link was my mom--she was too ill to make the trip. So--we'll just have to go there! Soon! I'm hoping this fall.

A couple Izabella stories I don't want to forget:

  • After a bath we were putting on lotion and Izabella mentioned her scar. She says, "My special line mommy?" I said, "Oh yes, very special." She said, "Hurt Mommy!" I said, "Yes, I'm sure it hurt. But the doctor made you feel better!" She started taking big breaths. I said, "You could breath better after the doctor fixed your heart?" She shook her head yes. Then she put her little hand on her chest and said, "I brave Mommy. I brave." I said, "Oh yes Izabella, you were a VERY brave little girl!" And of course tears welled up in my eyes with the thought she had to endure such a huge operation without a family. Although, clearly those that were taking care of her loved her so very much. 

  • We went out to visit Dan for lunch yesterday where he was fixing roads. We took some pictures. As I settled in next to her (she was sitting next to Dad already), she put one arm around each of us and said, "Family! My Family!"

Here's some precious memories from our weekend of FAMILY! 
 Uncle Christopher is 7' tall--now that's a tall ride!
 Our first fair together--last year the day we went to the fair was the day we accepted the referral to Izabella and were truly waiting to see her face.
 Izabella loves do we...we always visit the horse barn and catch a horse show if we can. Love this picture.
 We watched the Horse Pullin' contest.
 OOOOOoooo Stinky Feet Izabella! Stinky Feet!
 When we told her we were going to the fair she wanted to go on the cars. But she wanted to ride the green one this time--obviously loved it just the same.
 This was an adorable animal/zoo train ride. She told us, "not go UP!" She doesn't like the rides that go up in the air.
 She met her cousin Ryan for the first time and they were quickly best buddies! He sat in the dog chair-and read her books. Gotta love it.
 The weather was soooo nice the last two days. The heat subsided and it was actually a little chilly. We wore sweatshirts!
 My sister and her "baby" Katie. It was fun explaining to Izabella how her Aunt (my sister) was Katie's mommy! I think she got it by the end of the weekend.
 LOVE this pic of Izabella and my sister Shelly. She loves them all so much and fits into our family like it was always that way. Well, it was always that way--just took me a while to find her.
 Also love this picture of Katie and I. She's doing so great now--I'm so proud of her.
 Katie is still a favorite of Izabella's.
 Love this sweet, sweet girl.
 "I need a BIG HUG Mommy!" This is something she just started saying--A LOT. It's adorable and of course whoever she ask obliges her request with enthusiasm.
 We visited Dad for lunch--she sat next to Dan after she finished her lunch.
 This is the "FAMILY" picture where she said, "Family! My Family!". She wouldn't have anything to do with sitting in front of us--had to have one arm around each of us.
 Here's the lunch date crew in front of the Ditchin' Machine Dan (Dad) runs all day. Pretty cool.
 Just a close up of the crew.
 A family picture of my sister and her family and our daugter...a sight I wished for over and over again.
 Cousins. Katie and Ryan are such great cousins--I'm sooo happy Izabella has them in her life.
 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this picture of my little sister and her daughter Katie.
 And this one with her children all grown up. Ryan really hates photos of himself--but is so respectful to never deny me a photo. Love him.
 Shelly and her son Ryan.
 Katie and Izabella.
 Izabella is ALWAYS kissin' on me. It's hard to get a good picture of her and I. She always wants to be wiggling around my lap--or kissin' or huggin' on me. :)'s ok with me.

 Just a nice shot of my sister and her sweetie "topher".
 Sisters. I'm the luckiest sister of all--to have a little sister like her. She's amazing. Truly.
 Ryan and Izabella had so much fun together. Love these silly pictures.
 Fish lips. Ryan and Katie taught her all kinds of funny faces (which she loves to make all the time now) and funny noises to make.
 Another special moment. We went to Bass Pro Store--while everyone was in the shooting gallery, Izabella and I walked through the toy area and found the most adorable, lovable horse. She fell in love with it immediately. When we hooked up with Dad--he asked her what she was going to name her. She said, "China". Whenever she finds something at the store she thinks she wants, I always ask her if she's sure. More times than not--she says, "Ahhhh...nah!" and puts it back. But this time she said, "She's my friend Mommy. Take home. Be safe." Dan and I just looked at each other and said, "Ahhhhh..." with big smiles on our face. She loves that horse, sleeps with it, wakes up and carries it down stairs in the morning and takes it for rides with us and even buckled it in the car for a ride. I love it. A huge THANK-YOU to Uncle Topher and Aunt Shelly for buying it for Izabella--it makes it that much more special indeed!
 The horse is just about as big as she is. A keeper as you can see.
 Love the look on her face.

Another shot of the crew at lunch.

The left this morning. I miss them already! Hope we can get home soon or you can visit again soon!