Saturday, September 27, 2008

Disney Whirl.... I mean World

It was a whirlwind... a fast pace, hot and humid, long line experience that I was, during the first day, not sure I could survive. There was the fact that I was, well... it was THAT time... and then there was the fact that we had all been sick with severe allergies (and, in fact, still were - and are). So - yeah - we were exhausted right from the start. Then there was the fact that Libby (who I will NEVER tell ahead of time that we are going on vacation again) did not sleep the night before we traveled nor the night before Disney (yep - that's 2 nights in a row of pure, unsettled excitement). So by the time we boarded the tram for Disney she (and I) were spent. Just terribly spent.

But! In the land where all dreams come true (oh if that could only be true - we'd be in Africa next week getting Lulu, our old house would be sold, and there are a few other things my sister and her family are privy too knowing - get that, Becka - HAHAHAH LVeryL! - a little inside humor going on there) - as I was saying - in the land where all dreams come true - we did indeed not only survive - but we enjoyed it (okay - pause here to say that Billy kept reminding me that he was orginally supposed to be on a fly-fishing trip). Okay - so I enjoyed it. Billy enjoyed my family and probably Disney -but he'd rather be in Florida in December next time around.

All joking aside - we really did have a wonderful time. It was truly magical! Watching Libby's eyes go wide at the sight of Mickey or one of her favorite princesses just can't be matched. She was in love with the overstimulation of Disney. By the end of the week she thought we would buy her anything, we would entertain her forever and Disney was our new home. She loved it and didn't want to leave.

Watching Libby and Taylor (my sister's oldest) play together was such a blast. And - OH -their sweet princess dresses that they wore for the princess dinner in Epcott - they both beamed as they trotted around the house with their dresses on saying "look at me daddy". They were both so precious and beautiful and innocent and sweet - and completely terrified of the princesses - but, oh well. Actually, Taylor finally warmed up and there are some pictures to prove that she actually met the princesses. Libby - well, while mesmorized by the princesses there was NO WAY she was going to get close enough for a picture with them.

On the way home Libby (remember she's 2 and I never talked with her about the Disney mantra of "all your dreams will come true") must have put all the subliminal messages together and she proudly told me - "Mom, you can do it. You can do it. Whatever you dream, you can do it." Wow - she really does listen to EVERYTHING. The girl takes it all in. I'm still not sure, though, what she thinks I can do....maybe that will come to light in the days to come.

All over Disney we had the opportunity to see other Asian women/teens. Some were working at Disney. Others just visiting. But without Billy or I saying anything, Libby was taking notice. As a large group of Asian girls walked by us Libby said, "Mommy look. They are all Chinese girls." And then later, in Epcott, while watching a video in the China region a Chinese man with a long, thin beard, wearing a long robe was on screen narrarating and Libby said, "Mommy, is that man me?" My heart was so... well, I don't know the right word. I wasn't sad, but I was. I realized that she knows she looks different than her mommy and daddy and she has questions - already. I mean, we talk about it. We read her life book - but I just never knew what was sinking in and what wasn't until that moment. She saw something in that man that was more like her than Billy and I could be. And then there was the funny thought of - what if that really were her dad? Hey- you just never know.

So - I can't say anything else without saying this to my sweet sister who put this whole trip together and invited our family to join them - I love you! I am so blessed by you. You are so servant hearted. You work so hard. Your girls are radiantly beautiful. I love your patience, your kindness, your ability to stay calm in any situation. And your love for your girls is just so precious. You worked so hard to make that trip a special one for your girls' memories. I loved watching you do that. You and Jason have such a wonderful family. I'm so proud! Love you! And, truly, there are not that many people in the world that I could have done Disney with. You are such a breeze to be around. So laid back and at ease. You balance this intense sister out. Thank you.

So here's what you are waiting for - vacation pictures:

Our first night at the resort Taylor and Libby enjoyed the large garden tub.

Every morning Becky fixed us all a big breakfast! Yum!

Our first tram ride into the Magic Kingdom. To the far left is my sister, Becky. In her lap is baby Camryn. Then Libby, Taylor and Jason - Becky's husband.

First thing, first day, Magic Kingdom - I ran into my roomate from college - Jennie Davis! That was so cool of God! I mean, of all the people there and all the places we could have been - we were both at the same place first day out. Love that! Love you Jennie!

Just minutes before meeting Mickey and Minnie, Libby crashed....

...which meant a total meltdown as she woke to a larger than life mouse saying hello to her. She was terrified!

We LOVED the Buzz Lightyear Ride!

Cinderella's Castle - right before the fireworks. It really was magical!

Beginning of second day - Epcott! Libby and Taylor play before we arrive.

We were almost devoured by a large shark. No worries, though, we were ready for the challenge and swam out!

Later in the evening, we dressed Libby up for a princess dinner. She was dressed like Sleeping Beauty (aka Aurora - for those who love Disney trivia - is there anyone out there like that?? really??)

How beautiful are they? Love this pic!

Real princesses - all daughters of the King of Kings!

Libby is shaking the statue's hand while Taylor considers letting him carry her. This statue was in the China region of Epcott.

I look a little crazy in this picture, but Billy and Libby look so cute!

A couple of modeling careers in the making.

Third day - we were just chillin' and in the afternoon we decided to take the kids to Chucky Cheese because we just weren't sure yet if they were getting enough stimulation.

Fourth Day - Animal Kingdom. Here we are with the Jungle Book characters. Libby was still scared, but not freaking out.

Of course, the Africa area of the Animal Kingdom was important for us to visit.

Here, Libby plays the drums with a really cool African man. Loved watching him play.

The best show by far was the Lion King show. Libby LOVED it! and so did we!

While Becky and Jason waited in a long line for a water ride, Billy and I took care of the girls. Billy fell in love with Camryn. Isn't this picture so cute! Becky and Jason watched the girls while Billy and I went on the Everest Roller Coaster. It was AWESOME!!!

In the Orlando airport Libby had a final chance to take her picture with Mickey. As you can see in the photo, we bought her a stuffed Mickey Mouse. She sleeps with it every night.

So, what do you do after all that walking and riding and waiting in lines? Well, you need a Disney Detox. Our detox plan - go to the river. So today we had a family day on the Guad. So relaxing. Here, Libby peaks over Billy's shoulders as we hike along the river.

And below - my favorite two pics from today:

She is just so cute! And - her hair is starting to grow out! YEAH!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Last Reminder about GALA!

A few posts down I detailed all you need to know about AWAA's Orphan Ticket Home Gala that will take place here in San Antonio, TX on Nov. 21. I shared a challenge to all who have been impacted by Libby's adoption to donate to the Gala as a Thanksgiving to God for the life they have been given. What better way to say thanks to God than by giving to a cause that will give identity and life to orphans around the world.

To Libby's family and friends I made the request that instead of buying Libby a traditional birthday present (Libby's birthday is Nov. 23 - 2 days after the Gala) to give to the Gala in her honor. We are teaching her about the beauty of storing up treasure in heaven rather than the toy closet.

Read the previous post to find out how to give. You can do so directly to AWAA by going to or you can send a check to Libby at our home address: 3531 Hilldale Point, San Antonio, TX 78261. Any money sent to us in honor of Libby will be put directly towards purchasing a table(s) at the Gala and that money goes directly to AWAA's four initiatives - also detailed in the previous post.

Just wanted to remind everyone because we need to have all the donations in by Oct. 10 so we can purchase our table before the Gala sells out.

Just to let you know how the known donations (those donations that came to us first rather than directly to AWAA) are going - we have had 3 monetary donations that total: $740.00!!! And we've had one painting donated by Igor, a young boy adopted from Russia. The painting will be auctioned off during the Gala's silent auction. Igor is so precious and so is his painting!

There are several ways to participate and donate to this Gala. All of this is detailed in the other post - so if you haven't read it, please do!

Thanks and blessings to all,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Journal In Pictures

So much has happened over the last 2 months. We've been on the road, we've continued our work with the refugees, Billy's family came for a fun visit, house church has been phenomenal, Billy's been writing new songs constantly, Libby started Mom's Day Out for the year, we're almost at the 3 month mark in our official wait for our Ethiopia adoption, we're helping fundraise and prepare for the Orphan's Ticket Home Gala (see previous post!) AND Libby's 2nd. anniversary of Gotcha Day recently passed. Most of these occasions have been photographed to one degree or another -so instead of using a lot of words - I'm posting a lot of photos!

Billy and I headed out for a date on our 9 year anniversary.

For those who have been asking to see it - here's the living room in our new house. It's much wider and more open than our last house. We gave up closet space and bedroom space to get a bigger kitchen and living. We love it!

Gammy and Papa Boots came to visit - and they came bearing gifts! Here you can see the candy, camera and hair accessories. Libby LOVES her camera. I could barely get any pictures of her bc her new camera was always in front of her face. Grammy and Papa Boots also bought MORE gifts while they were in town! They bought a painting easel and paper, paints, brushes, etc! PLUS a tricycle. She was loved on and showered with fun blessings by her Grammy and Papa. She LOVES to paint and she even titles her paintings when she's done. It's so cute! Thank you Grammy and Papa Boots!!!!!

I love Libby's face here because it's like she just realized how delicious the candy is and how cool Grammy is for bringing it!

Aunt Wendy, Uncle Robbie and Cuz Brooke sent a precious gift as well! Thank you!

Libby is practicing her photography.

Libby and Papa Boots

After Grammy and Papa Boots left we went to Libby's Preschool (Mom's Day Out) Open House. We met one of her new teachers, Ms. Coco. Libby is really enjoying her new class and teachers! I'm not sure why Libby was making a pirate face. Maybe she just wanted to intimidate her new teacher, hee hee!

Libby's newly improved room. We painted a big flower on her wall and then, for her Gotcha Day present we added hooks and a ribbon along the wall to display her painted masterpieces.

Ta Da! I'm all dressed up for my Gotcha Day Dinner!

Sitting pretty! Now - can I please go eat at Ming Court, please? I'm hungry!

Truly a joy and delight - Libby's smile is AMAZING!

Libby and Mommy, both hungry and ready to celebrate - with food, of course!

Libby and her teddy bear dad!

Xuwen Sisters give a shout to all the other Xuwen girls!

Libby's "other family" - I love this pic because they are all actually looking at the camera while they each do their own random things. Such a perfect picture to describe the moment.

The 2nd. gift I got out of our China adoption journey - my incredibly beautiful friend, Cristie. Gosh, I love that girl!

Libby and Maliah wearing their "children of the world" aprons (which all the kids colored during dinner). I love this picture as I think it is one the girls will look back on as they grow in friendship over the years. Such sweetness!

The girls! Libby enjoys playing with the Martine girls so much! Her face just lights up when they are around!

Oh - now Libby is really making daddy proud. She's reeling in a bass on her daddy's flyrod.

All pics from our Sunday picnic on the Guad.

Final pic - if Libby sleeps through the night by herself (which is a new problem that stems from being on the road bc we share a bed in hotels) then she can have hot tea with her daddy the next morning. Here she is sitting like a grown up with her legs crossed, sipping on her hot tea. I just think this moment is priceless!

Okay - it took over 2 hours to upload all the photos - I'm done!
Peace out,