Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The many faces of Yolie

What I love about my middle daughter is... well... everything.
She is a mysterious creature full of wonderment.
She has one of the most gentle spirits I know.
She's organized, funny and lovingly protective of both her sisters.

Yolanta is also tall and very athletic. Seeing as how she did not get the privilege of organized sports or athletic classes or P.E. in Haiti, coupled with growing several inches in a short amount of time when she came to America (oooh what a healthy diet will do for a body!) she is still growing into her long limbs. One thing's for sure, though, she's Sporty Spice through and through.

Instead of a video (like I did for both her sisters in the previous two posts) I've decided to post pictures of her sporty side. She has an athletic build and possesses a natural athletic bent that I'm sure will have her shining bright for the world to see when she's gets a little older (and when she fully realizes her strength, speed and coordination). She's amazing.

She has so many other qualities, too, of course, but this post would be a thousand pictures long if I uploaded one to show every fabulous quality.

Yolanta the Basketball Player

Yolanta the Soccer Player

More soccer

Yolanta the Gymnast

Yolanta the Rope Climber

Yolanta the Tennis Player

More tennis

Yolanta the Rock Climber

More gymnastics

Yolanta the Bike Rider

Yolanta the Archery Shooter

Yolanta the Trend Setter

Yolanta the Silly Face Maker

Yolanta the Tree Climber

Yolanta the Roller Skater

Yolanta the Inner Tuber

Yolanta the Swimmer

Yolanta the Ballerina

Yolanta the Yoga Student

Yolanta the Fisher

Yolanta the Beautiful Haitian Daughter

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The imperfection is perfect

So you know my daughter Amy?
She's the sweetest thing since sugar cane.

What I love about her is she's the quintessential little girl at whatever age she just happens to be. Right now she's eight.

She plays soccer, goes to Awana, belongs to Christian Youth Theater (she has a singing audition this Friday), plays piano, likes American Girl magazines, laughs at her own toots, and writes on her hand. I mean, totally eight, right?

Here is a video of her playing Minuet 1 by Bach (at the end she also plays Heart and Soul).
She usually plays it considerably better than what you're about to hear, but today, when the camera came out, she made more mistakes than ever. I also noticed her hair was in her face and blocked her cuteness. Then her sister made an unexpected (though adorable) appearance, then my iPhone chimed, then the home phone rang, then her other sister talked in the background... and well, I just should have re-recorded the whole thing.

But I decided, this is life. She makes mistakes, sisters dance, phones ring, and that's what I love about my home. It's wonderfully imperfect.

The video is 3:27

Friday, September 17, 2010

Katie from Haiti

Well, there's no better way to get back to blogging than to just get back to blogging.
Miss me?
I hope so.

My site meter stats have dropped way down so I'm guessing I've lost readers (understandably), but I hope that once I start commenting on YOUR blog, you'll come back to mine. Deal?

Remember back with me if you will, when Katie came home 26 months ago. She was one week shy of turning four years old. It was really fun having the girls home for only one week and getting to celebrate a birthday!

Little lovey spoke zippity zilch English. Nuthin. She spoke Creole in a cute little three year old way. Imagine your three year old child and the English that he knows...cute, right? Yeah, that's what she spoke around here only in a language I didn't understand.

Conversely, her new family spoke a language SHE didn't understand. Learning how to communicate, teaching a new language, building love and trust were the primary things we focused on right off the bat. We called her by her given name, Quetelene, and continue to call her that from time to time. It's just so beautiful and it's the name we kept on her American adoption documents.

These first two years have been an adventure and (as cliche as this sounds) a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings. Believe it or not (adoption peeps, I know you believe it) we're still getting used to things around here. Two years really isn't that long. Then again, it's amazing how much wonderfulness has been brought to our lives in only two years. But, I digress and get back to the cute little thing you see before you.

Here is a video of her reading. That's right, folks, I said READING. Not only has this bright little child learned a second language, she has learned how to read. I'm so honored to have been chosen to be her mom and her teacher. Her love language is TOUCH so we spend a lot of time cheek to cheek. I feel like a Koala Mom when I read books to all three girls on the floor, for Katie is always on my back. I love it.

I'm wondering if she has dyslexia. It could be age and just the learning process of reading, so I'm not going to worry too much about it right now. But I'm for sure going to keep my eye on it. She tends to read words in reverse order after the 4th or 5th word in a sentence. Or she'll interchange letters in a word she's already read. But like I said, that could be all part of the learning process.

Ok, prepare yourself for extreme cuteness, here's Katie, age 6, reading a book she read for the first time today.

(She has the first page memorized because that's pretty much all we've been doing today. But trust me, at 10:00 this morning, she'd never even SEEN this book.)

The video is 2:27 seconds.

Have patience and appreciate her mind working when she gets stuck on "number 3".

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My life in 6

1) We sold our house! I've been packing it up and GoodWilling too much stuff. How do I have so much stuff!? I have mixed emotions about selling this house because BOO I love my house but YAY we will be saving money and working toward our future hopes and dreams. Following God's plan is always best, no?

2) Amy has been in Hawaii for a week and is expected home tomorrow night.
Yolanta spent 4 days in Redmond with my sister.
Katie kind of got freaked out that her sisters were gone and behaved oddly.
This is a whole post in and of itself that I think I'll spend time on soon. Security is a funny thing in the life of a 6 year old who was adopted 2 years ago.

3) A few of my friends went on Missions trips all about the same time and I've loved spending facebook hours looking through pictures of Guatemala, India, Haiti.
Jesus' love is pouring out all over the globe!

4) There are boxes everywhere in my house. Everywhere. And since husband-poo had back surger and can't lift anything or do any kind of strenuous stretching or manipulating, yours truly is doing a lot of it solo. Buff arms comin'up!

5) Portland, Oregon summer has been sucky bo bucky this year.

6) Homeschooling has been almost non-existent this summer despite my goals of continuing on. Sigh. I loaded it up with Soccer Camp, Theater Camp, Outdoor Tillikum Camp, VBS, Hawaii (for Amy), Aunt Camp (for Yolie) and a house move. There's no time for school! :) Though today Yolanta learned the proper use of when to use contractions while helping me pack and lable boxes.

Yolanta's Game's
Yolantas Games
Yolantas Game's
Yolanta's Games
Every moment is a teachable moment.

Alrighty, that's it for me now. Sorry it's not a lot of great info or funny stories or deep thoughts to ponder over. I'm hoping to get a good post in here in a while and maybe change up the design of this ol AbFab blog. Any suggestions of things you'd like to read about? I'll try to sneak in a few light posts more frequently. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A comparison

Hey, let’s go swimming!

An 8 year old girl:
“OK, FUN!” She says.
Reaches into her drawer and hurriedly takes out the first swimsuit her hand touches.
Whips it on, pulls it outta her booty as she runs outside.

Ready to go in 8.3 seconds.

A mom:
“Uh, well, um, ok.” She says.
Do I have a swimsuit?
Do I have a swimsuit that fits me?
Do I have a swimsuit that fits me TODAY?
Is it a 2piece day or a 1piece day? Try both on.
Is everything shaved? Plucked? Waxed? Remove unwanted hair.
Will I be going underwater?
If yes, do I take off all make-up and reapply waterproof mascara or just go natural?
If not, do I leave make-up as is or minimally reapply?
What about my hair, do I leave hair as is, or readjust to look pool-y?
Change swimsuit.
What do I wear overtop? Sundress? Shorts? Skirt? Sarong? Tanktop? Try all options.
Pack after-I-go-swimming clothes. New tank, new skirt, new undies, make-up, hairbrush, towel. Beach towel or bath towel? Stand there for a few minutes contemplating both.
Regret having spaghetti instead of salad for dinner last night.
Consider feigning the measles and not going swimming. Ever again.
Change swimsuit.
Put on flip-flops, grab over-packed bag and walk out the door.

Ready to go in 2 hours.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11, 2004

Happy 6th birthday, Quetelene!

We braved Chuck E. Cheese in your honor
and had a fantastic time staring at your smile.

You light up my life.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 3, 2008

It's been T W O years, since we've had Yolanta and Katie home.
What baffels me even more, is that it took 2.5 years to get them home.
Do the math with me, that's 4.5 years since Husband and I said "Let's adopt."

So much has happened these past ~5 years that I'm beginning to get suspicious that someone has pushed the fast forward button on LIFE.

This is the first picture we ever received of the girls.

This morning I had a special moment with Yolanta and gave her a journal. I got it like 7 months ago from a cute little store called Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland (a store that has a variety of toys from all around the world) and have been waiting for today to give it to her.

The journal I got for Yolanta.

Yolie is a mixed bag character leading some to believe she is a quiet, shy, reserved little girl, while other see her spunky, crazy, hilarious side and think she's a spaz!
Both are accurate. She’s complex and I think she has a lot of memories she’s not telling me about in that pretty little mind of hers.
I’m hoping the journal will not necessarily get her talk about things she’s not willing to bring forth, but at least give her a special way of documenting her feelings. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn more about her from her writing than from our heart to heart talks. Or maybe I’ll just learn regular 8 year old things like her favorite color and what her name looks like written in all the colors of her marker bin. We’ll see. I love you and your mysteriousness.

My beautiful daughter, Yolanta.

I had a special moment with Katie and gave her a book called Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. It talks about the different kinds of children all over the world, how they look and talk differently from each other, but how they all laugh, cry, play and love the same. She loves it!

The book I got for Katie.

She’s getting really good at writing her ABC’s and is for sure on a successful road to reading, but she’s not ready for a journal. Too bad because I’d love to have her document all the memories she comes up with. The thing about it is, they’re largely made up. Did you know she saw Shrek in Haiti? And had a pink cell phone? And 27 pillows on her bed? The saddest “memories” are the ones that involve her biological mother, whom she wants to go visit. Does she not remember that she died, or does she not understand what death is? Oh honey, I love you.

My beautiful daughter, Katie.

I also had a special moment with Amy. I said, “Do you know what today is?” and she replied, “It’s the two year anniversary of the girls coming home! Can you even believe I was an only child 2 years ago!?” I gave her a book titled “Someday” by Alison McGhee. It’s about a mom who shares everyday moments that mark milestones in her daughter’s life. It’s a precious book that actually makes me tear up as I read it to her. I teared up in Target forever ago when I bought it.

The book I got for Amy.

After a few minutes of chatting, something else she said struck me. She said, “It doesn’t even seem like they’re adopted, Mom. It seems like they’re biological! Sometimes I forget that we adopted them!” Part of me says WAIT! Don’t forget the 6 years of only-child-wonderful-ness that we shared! Don’t let those days slip away from you! But then part of me says YES, yes, we are family. They are sisters, daughters, forever.

My beautiful daughter, Amy.

One of the Haitian blogs I read has an arts and crafts section and I bought these handcrafted dolls made by a Haitian woman. They were delivered to my door and I presented them to my girls today as little celebratory gifts to mark the 2 years the girls have been home (along with the books). They all love them and look super adorable on their beds.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: raising older children is challenging. There is so much involved and none of it can be fully prepared for in advance. I am eternally thankful that I believe in, love and have a direct line of communication with the Creator of all people. The One who knows what to do. The God of wisdom, comfort and protection. I love you, Lord, and thank You for being a part of my life. A part of my family.

The handmade Haitian dolls straight from Haiti.


A picture of the girls today.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 13, 2002

Yesterday was Yolanta's 8th birthday.

Remember what Amy did on her 8th birthday?

Yep! Ear piercing time!

She was a brave girl and didn't cry though I could tell she was nervous.

On Sunday, she had breakfast in bed, opened up gifts (she got a bike!), went to church, then we spent all afternoon at the roller rink with her friends and cousins for a special party.

This is only Yolanta's second birthday home with us here in America.
But she turned eight.
She was four when we started the adoption process.
Six when we brought her home.
She celebrated her 7th and now 8th birthday with us.

We're still getting to know each other and I grow more in love with her every day.
It's amazing to see the beautiful person God created her to be, and I'm honored and humbled at being chosen to be her mom. Thank you for the special gift of Yolanta. Amen.

(Props to husband who, having just had back surgery, was able join us for an hour at the rink (thanks for going to get him, ma) and was even able to come with us for ear piercing. He's such a good daddy.)

(This is on Sunday, her actual birthday, headed to church. Can you believe she's "the middle child"? Yeah...Amy's 8 months older. Look how tall Yolie is!)

This is today, Monday. She was quiet the whole way over because she was nervous.

Picking out her earring.

Choosing her birthstone.

Katie being 5. Cowboy 5 that is.

Pre holes.

Amy adjusting her hair in the mirror she found at 8 year old height.

Cleaning. Still Yolanta has said very little. :)

One down.

If she WERE saying something, I think by the look of her face it would be OUCH.

No tears. Brave girl.

Post holes. Pretty!

All three girls checking out the selection. Katie choosing what she'll get when she turns 8.
Happy Eigth Birthday, Yolanta. I love you!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It takes a village...or a grocery store.

I went to WINCO tonight.
Those of you who do not know what WinCo is, well, those of you outside of Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Oregon, WinCo is a grocery store. Ugly warehouse, no customer service, bag your own groceries. But you get what you pay for in that the prices are unbeatable.

While I was shopping, a child started screaming. I couldn't see the babe, but using my super-sonic mom powers, I assessed that the child was, based on the pitch of the scream, about 18 months old. Two years old at most.

At first I thought maybe the child had hurt himself and would settle into a normal cry after the first initial scream. But the screaming persisted. Then a flash went through my mind that maybe the child was being abducted! Everyone here is on high-alert since the recent local child went missing. (I'm not going to type his name as people don't need my blog if they google him. Lord, be with him and his family, please.)

Anyway, I realized that he probably wasn't being abducted because the screaming (which by now had, indeed, morphed into a crazy type tantrum cry) continued so the child was still in the store, not being whisked out the back door into a get-away car. Rather, I could hear the child close at times (an isle or two away) and far away at times...obviously the mom was continuing her grocery shopping needs despite the uncontrollable wails from little-man.

As I continued my shopping, the fit continued and it became increasingly obvious that the child had gained the attention of everyone in the store. Everyone.

At one point I did get catch a glimpse of "the scene" and sure enough, it was a little boy about 2 years old trying to climb out of the shopping cart (the front part where little kids sit). The woman pushing the cart, who I'll assume was his mother though they were different races, kept one hand firmly on his belly/front diaper area keeping him in while she studied the back of a jelly jar. The teenage boy stood 3 feet away with his arms crossed.
The baby was in hysterics.

People were looking at each other with varying impressions of what was going through their minds...without actually saying anything.
I saw looks being passed that said-
-Oh my word, I'm so glad that is not my child.
-Oh my word, I'm so glad I am not that woman.
-Oh my word, SHUT UP!
-Oh my, so sad.
-Oh my, I hope everything is okay!

Seriously, the whole warehouse seemed to want to talk about it with their facial expressions.
Then there were those who actually DID say things.
It was during check out, and funny enough, they were checking out at the same time I was checking out just a few lanes down.
While standing in line I heard a grandma say "Here, Frank, let's go down here away from that kid!" Another shopper responded, "No kidding."

They got done bagging their groceries before I did and the little family left the store, child crying (who will probably pass out of exhaustion in the car) teenage boy, arms still crossed stomping ahead of them, and mom looking unashamed yet very aware of the spotlight upon her.

The person in front of me said something that I couldn't hear, but the checker boy responded with, "We get crying kids a lot, but never anything like that!" Then the person mumbled something under his breath but the only thing I heard was "...shuttin'him'up..."
His wife said "Well I walked over and told her that if she just smacked him on the butt he'd be so startled he'd stop crying! But she didn't didn't do it, too bad."

That couple left and as I was bagging my own groceries the checker boy waited till they were gone and said to me, "Well I don't believe in hitting kids so I can see why she didn't do it!"

Meanwhile, at the lane next to me, I overheard a lady in a wheelchair telling horror stories of her grandchildren acting up and all the times she's had to leave grocery stores and that "that is exactly what she should have done" and basically orated her entire parenting philosophy on how this particular situations SHOULD have been handled (in an irritated voice).

As I was walking out, the checker boy, not getting a response from me, turned to the lady next in line and said, "So, how'd you like our cheerleader? We're hiring them young these days, eh?"

The lady laughed and I can only imagine that other isles were exchanging similar opinions and comments.

I have no idea what was causing that little boy to behave so wildly.
I have no idea what was going through that mom's mind as she made the decision to stay at the store and not leave.

-Was she training him to sit in that little spot and no matter how much he cried, she needed to prove that he would not be able to get out? That THAT was where he belonged for the entire shopping trip?
-Was the boy having a diabetic fit and needed insulin?
-Was the woman not his mom and didn't have control over her charge but couldn't go home without milk, eggs and sugar free jelly?
-Was the woman deaf and unaware of how loud the child was screaming?
-Was the woman too prideful to admit that she needed to leave and found herself stuck there with this awkward decision to shop?
-Was the child being abducted?

I don't think it was wrong, necessarily, for people to be glancing at each other or making comments. I chose not to make any comments or share in any sideways glances largely because I had one of my daughters with me. I didn't want to inadvertently get into a discussion with anyone where oppinions or word choice could have gotten inappropriate. At one point my daughter did say something like, "Wow, he's been crying a long time!" To which I remarked, "Yeah, I'm not sure why he's having such a hard time."

I do feel bad for the child...I hope he's okay and is asleep and secure in his bed right now.

I feel bad for the mom and hope she is soaking in a hot tub, having a Calgon moment.

I feel bad for the teenage brother and I hope he helped put the groceries away and is jamming out to his favorite tunes while he does his homework.

I feel a little bad for the shoppers who's temperaments do not stand for such noise and chaos. Their ears were probably close to bleeding and their nerves were probably twitching.

I don't feel bad for me that I had to listen to that sad boy. Don't get me wrong, it was ear piercing and unsetteling, but I'm a mom...I dunno, I felt sorry and saddened more than I felt fed-up or aggravated. Maybe God allowed me (and others) to be there to go to bed tonight praying for the safety and peace of everyone in that family.

What would you have done if you were that mom?
Would you have left?
Stood your ground?

***Okay, I know I didn't post a follow-up about my husbands back surgery, and should have done that first. But I forget that I have readers on here who are not facebook friends. Sorry! He's doing great. The surgery was a success and he's home healing. He already feels relief and we're all having fun taking care of him while he's flat on his back. Post-Op care is in full-swing. Thanks for the prayers and well-wishes!