Thursday, January 26, 2012

6 nights out of 342 ain't bad....

Yes, I know there are 365 days in a year, but we have only had Olivia 342 of them. I truly can't believe that we will be coming up on our year mark soon! That post is for another day though. Last night, Olivia slept in her bed. This makes 6 total nights of sleeping through the night since she has been home. Can we say EXHAUSTED! She actually asked to go to bed around 7:45. Which if you know my child, that NEVER happens. I rocked her and laid her down in her bed. I then left in no time. This too, is rare. She usually needs to be rocked or know that I am close by until she is asleep. She must have been exhausted because this morning, I saw this...

...and she was no where in sight!

HOLY COW people, she has NEVER slept that much! Granted, I didn't get to bed til 1:30 or so, but still. I actually got worried while I was getting ready for work and went in to check on her. Here is what I found.
...a snoozing sweet her OWN bed. This afternoon called for a celebration. We went to Wal-Mart (where all good hicks go) and got a new toy. I thought this might make an impression on her for tonight. She was so proud of herself! It did as she went to bed, and we talked about if she woke up to just snuggle her animals close and go back to sleep. I have been up sewing and heard her a bit ago. I am about to head to bed, wonder if she is in there or if she was taken back to her bed?

Yes, we must have ALL animals on board. Pooh (my childhood stuffed animal, Zoe, School Zoey, Sheep (thanks cousins--he is HUGE!), and blankie (her towel that came home with her from Korea.) Add me in there sometimes, and that is one crowded toddler bed!!! When we rock her, she has Zoe, Pooh and blankie. One night John was rocking her and she said, "sheee...." She very patiently asked several more times, but John didn't understand. Finally she got right in his face and yelled, "SSSHHHHHEEEEEEP!" John couldn't quit laughing. I had a great laugh from in the den, too! She is hysterical!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Helping with the dishes

Whenever I put up the dishes, Olivia comes running! She gets a chair and pulls it up to the counter. She immediately asks to help, so I give her the silverware. I put the knives away first, and then she goes at it. She has many of my OCD qualities already, and I find her putting the silverware in the correct places. Sometimes she decides to add a little of her own personality and I get this.....

Don't worry, the ones she licked we rewashed. She is a great helper who brings a lot of laughs while helping. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our Korean American

I was just going to post this great pic. tonight, but then I saw that today is Korean American Day. I am SO LUCKY to have been chosen to be this kiddos mama! I feel beyond blessed every time she hugs and kisses me. We will always honor her Korean heritage. It is part of her. Happy Korean American Day folks!
January 13 was declared as "Korean American Day" in 2003 by the US Congress to celebrate the centennial of Korean immigration into the US and to also recognize Korean Americans' impact and contributions.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Olivia's First Haircut!!

We went yesterday to see Nana and get Olivia's haircut for the first time. (Well, first time since she has been home with us.)
She has been pulling her hair up and saying, "Nana, cut cut." She definitely needed it cut.
She ended up cutting a full inch! Maybe we shouldn't wait so long before our next cut.

Checking out what is making her hair wet.

She loves a squirt bottle!!!

Oooh, can I see?

Keep your eye on the prize!

What a big girl I am!!!

Let me see!

Nana is telling her to be still for the 100th time. Look at Olivia's finger and what she thinks about it. We all got a good laugh!

Do I still have hair....let me check!

Ugh, this is such hard work!

Looking maybe a little nervous.

Thanks Nana!

One happy girl with a great new haircut!!!

Nana always has great suckers for me to choose from!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

1st Day of School for Olivia

Her bags for Grammy/Grampy's were packed, her school bag, nap mat and lunch box. She had a load to take this morning!
Today, I met Olivia and mom at First Baptist Church for Olivia to start her 1st day of school. She got out of the car and put on her bookbag like a big girl. We walked over and I wanted to get a picture before we went in. She smiled when I asked her to, but was positioning her bookbag and quickly told me it was, "heaby."
We got inside and her teacher let me come in. Normally we will just hand her over the 1/2 door to them. She immediately spotted the kitchen stuff and started to play. I tried to grab a quick picture, but obviously not the best quality.
I kissed her head and told her we would be back after nap. She walked across the room and began to play. No tears, though she looks very unsure!!! (not sure what is going on with that hairbow??)
I went back at 2:15 to meet mom again to pick Olivia up. Normally I won't do this since I can't leave work like that twice a week, but I was not missing my girls first day of school. When we got back, her teacher said Olivia had a good day. She cried a bit a naptime and said, "mommy, home," but had a good day otherwise. She painted (I will need to post a pic. of that!), played, sang, ate lunch, and took a nap. This was the first time she had been put down for a nap by anyone other than me, mom or John. This is huge!!!! She is the youngest one in the class, but I am hoping that will work to her advantage. I am hoping it makes her language pick up and encourages her to work harder. She is a smart one, but she is also extremely stubborn. (I could possibly be on the stubborn side, too, so we will definitely have our rough patches.) :)
Her teacher said she didn't eat much for lunch, played great, and tried to sing the words that she could say. So, I am very pleased with that report.
When I got there, they had just been woken up 10 minutes before. She was snuggled up being rocked and having Fancy Nancy read to her. She really had no interest in coming to me. :( You know where my head went, right....oh no, attachment! She finally came to me and snuggled with me. She was so sleepy. I have wondered if she was a bit mad at me for leaving. The girl can hold a grudge.
So tonight, I have really talked up going back to school. I asked if she is super excited to go back to which she said, "no." I asked if she wanted to go back to sing and paint. She raised her eyebrows and said, "no." I asked several questions each time getting the same answer. After dinner she wanted a piece of fudge for dessert. I asked some of the same questions with the fudge in my hand. Amazingly, I got, "uh-huh!" It was really cute and funny. I think she will adjust, but she may not want to be left on Tuesday. Sorry kiddo. We are leaving you, but we will ALWAYS come back. We love you SO much! I don't think I can even put into words how much I love her at this point. She is the best thing ever!!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Snowman Fun!!!

Well, I am personally wishing for about 13 snow days that happen between Monday and Friday of any given week between now and spring break. Olivia has taken to this snowman that I have. This isn't his normal spot, but well, it is for this year. :) Enjoy the cuteness!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

An Unforgetable Year

As we say goodbye to 2011, I am amazed at how my life has changed. I stand amazed daily at what God can do in our lives. I think that is what is exciting as we move into 2012. God is already there. He knows what will happen. He has a plan for us. 2011 started with a wonderful phone call on January 5th. It was our first day back to work from Christmas break and after faculty meeting I got the best phone call. We had made the first batch to be submitted for EP! We knew we would be on our way to our girl soon. February came and we got on the big blue plane and headed to South Korea to meet our daughter.
Yes, that is Olivia 10 1/2 short months ago. It is hard to believe that is the same child. I was terrified. I knew God didn't lead us this far, across the world, to steer us wrong. She was so blank. So lifeless. With faith, we returned on the 16th for one last meeting before Olivia was ours forever. That meeting went better, but I was still nervous. She wanted NOTHING to do with us.
Her little eyes look so sad. Her little heart has had so much heartbreak in such a short time. It hurts me more now to think about it then it did at that time, and it hurt a lot then. I hate to think that her fostermom is missing her today as they are bringing in 2012. I wonder how her birth mother feels. Does she have a peace about Olivia. I wish she knew how happy Olivia is today and how much we love her. I had no idea I could love her this much!!!
We made it home and began to adjust as a new family. Uncharted territory for all of us. Olivia had new everything! New sounds, smells, language, clothes, food, parents. You name it, and it was new. We had a grieving child. Days and nights passed and slowly we made progress. We stuck together as a team, and all grew together. There were many hard days. I have not spoken much on here about it because that is somewhat private. However, adoptive mama's, you know what I am talking about. It's just hard. She came home and was essentially a mobile infant. We were starting from scratch. We slowly began to see some personality come through.
Olivia began understanding us and slowly started to let us into her heart. I also allowed her to enter mine.
We moved from cold winter to spring and well, that just helps everything, right? We found Olivia loves the outdoors. I quickly learned that she must not have ever felt wind in her face as she was terrified the first time. We played outside, planted flowers, and continued to grow as a family.
By April we allowed people to hold her, but that was it. It wasn't until I returned to work in August that she stayed with anyone aside from me or John---and it was Grammy and Grampy, so that was a huge relief!
I wish I knew when it happened, but I don't. Even sitting here looking back at the thousands of pictures, I can't pinpoint when I fell in love. I can't imagine her not being here. I can't imagine a day without her. She is such a joy! She is sassy, funny, spunky, loving, cuddly, and darn near perfect in her mama's eyes (as long as she isn't having a throw down fit--not my child, right?!)
Early June, we planned a quick trip to Gatlinburg to spend a weekend at Dollywood. We thought that would make a great first getaway. Unfortunately, Olivia came down with her first illness since being home. We decided we probably shouldn't take our child that was on an inhaler and multiple antibiotics out of town.
I quickly learned that Olivia is not barely sick. If she is sick, she is down for the count.
Her birthday came in the summer, and we celebrated red, white, and blue style.
We enjoyed long summer days out at the pool, time with friends, and time with family. I tried to soak up every second. I think I remember saying repeatedly this past summer that it was the best summer ever. We didn't do anything fancy, and we didn't need to. We had all we needed right here with us.
Fall came, and it was time to head back to work. This was very hard for me. Olivia and I had literally been inseparable since she came home in February and I didn't want to leave her. Well, it was time, and we made it! She has done great! We took a short weekend trip to Fall Creek Falls and this was Olivia's first overnight trip anywhere. We were a bit nervous, but she did great!
In October, we enjoyed a great trip to the beach with our friends Ashley, Brandon, and Everley.
It was spur of the moment, but it was very needed and wonderful. Finally, the end of October meant that it was the beginning of the holiday season. John, for some reason, had really looked forward to Halloween with Olivia. We carved pumpkins, painted pumpkins, and went trick-or-treating.
I am already looking forward to this next year of holidays to do the fun stuff again. She will understand more and hopefully we can do more! I hope we get to go out to a pumpkin patch and do fun things like that!! By November we were past ready to finalize, but had been waiting on paperwork and a court date.
Luckily, we got one on November 18th. I was excited that we got that day because it was 9 months to the day of us being home with her. That same weekend, Olivia was baptized.
What a wonderful weekend. Our family was able to share in both days. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Thanksgiving seemed special to have that extra seat filled at the dinner table. Olivia and Annelyn ran around and played while I cooked. Olivia loves to be with her cousin!
Last but not least, we began the Christmas season once the table was cleaned from lunch on Thanksgiving (ok, maybe not that fast...) Olivia enjoyed getting presents from the elves prior to Christmas. She sings "Away in a Manger" and has sweet hand motions, and she loves to hold Baby Gigi (Baby Jesus). She got to help bake cookies with Grammy and Annelyn which is a tradition that has been as long as I can remember. We enjoyed Annelyn's Christmas play and I got 'sewing for a sibling' up and running with holiday orders.
Even though she seemed overwhelmed on Christmas Day, she seemed to really get the hang of it and had fun.
So, here we are, one year later.....these are just the highlights.
I can't help but wonder where we will be this time next year. I am so excited to soak up more time with Olivia over the next year. Will we have a face to put with our prayers? Will Olivia be a big sister in the waiting???? One thing is for sure, we will tackle this next year as a family. That seems to be working for us. :) I can't wait to make more memories. Happy New Year!!!! Thank you for reading about us, praying for us, and traveling the wonderful adventure called life with us.