table for 14, please.

Thanks to the generosity (and bravery) of a friend, photographer and fellow adoptive mama, we now have a new family photo.

family3

And then some.

family2

Our first photos as a family of 14.

family1

14, y’all.

Did I mention how brave my photographer friend is?

family6

Because photographing 14 people, 8 of whom are 10 and under, is no easy feat.

family4

Thank you, thank you, Brooke Murphree for these.

Seeing sweet Clementine in the middle of her big ol’, crazy-for-her family makes this mama so very happy.

Signature

two months with Clementine

Two months ago we were in China.

We had just arrived in Guangzhou with a wheezy, vomiting, rash-covered little girl.

Clementineballoons-6

It’s so good to be in this side of those two months.

Clementineballoons-7

Clementine started physical therapy this month and has just mastered pulling up to stand. On her own, y’all. We want her to learn how to crawl before she learns to walk, but Clementine isn’t convinced.

(She did a 180 turn, ending with her back to our PT, in response to her trying to encourage Clementine to crawl. We died.)

Our girl may not say much yet, but she certainly knows how to communicate.

Clementineballoons-20

On the 12th of January Clementine had surgery to have tubes placed and her adenoids removed, as well as a bronchoscopy and laryngoscopy to get the lowdown on her airway. It was a long week of recovery afterward, but she’s finally back to herself.

And then some. In the last several days she’s been sleeping better than ever and drinking more fluids than ever. Double bonus.

Clementineballoons-21

On the subject of eating, Clementine has gained three pounds since that saddening weigh-in at the medical in China. She’s up to 20.6 pounds of sweetness.

Our pediatrician feels like she’s on a very healthy growth curve, considering children with Down syndrome are typically on the small side.

So yay for increasing appetite and chubby cheeks.

Clementineballoons-27

Clementine is learning more signs. In addition to being able to sign more, she now signs (and says) dada. She doesn’t have the sign *exactly* right, but what she she lacks in technique she more than makes up for in enthusiasm.

She currently has zero interest in saying mama, though. And that’s okay. Clementine knew that word well before she ever met me.

She used that name for another mama. In another place. A mama that I believe she loves very much.

Clementineballoons-26

Despite not having a name for me, she and I are thick as thieves. Our time together at the hospital – rocking, snuggling, watching Despicable Me 2 for the third time – served as a chance for her to lean on me a little more deeply.

And things have been different ever since. A few nights ago she actually chose to fall asleep on me – a big, beautiful leap from not being able to tolerate any skin to skin at bedtime. And I cannot tell you how fun this little bug is to snuggle.

Clementineballoons-25

We might be facing an additional, much more significant surgery for Clementine in the coming months. The ENT discovered a very rare congenital defect in Clementine’s trachea. She will be undergoing additional testing next week to help determine exactly what the best next steps will be.

In the meantime, we will continue to trust in the One who leveled mountains to bring her home.

And we will continue to be crazy grateful to have her here. Where we can love her. Protect her. Comfort her.

I’m not her first mama. I’m not her second mama. But, by God’s grace, I get to be her forever mama.

Signature

2014 in review: 24 of my favorites

Faves2014-30

It’s become a bit of a thing around here, I suppose: going through my pictures at the end of the year and plucking out a few favorites. It’s laborious. It’s time consuming. But I love it because it’s a chance to look back at the year, as a mama, and see how my babies have […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature

letting go

Zach20-5

My oldest child is 25. My youngest child is 1. And I am mama to 10 more that fall in between. My 1 year old cannot feed herself. Hold her cup. Walk from one end of the room to the other. I get to do all that for her. My 25 year old, on the […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature

the bath

Clementine.bath-15

Clementine likes a whole bunch of things. Rice. The dogs. Going outside. She loves a good number of things. Yogurt. Dancing to music. Piggyback rides by her big brother. But things she really loves? We’ve found just a few so far. And one of those is the bath. Solo or with her big sisters, with […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature

christmas 2014

Christmas2014-80

It was noisy. It was chaotic. It was wonderful. And the best part? Having this little one home. Be still my heart. To have her here, with us this year, was the greatest gift we could have ever imagined. But the kids wanted toys, too For some crazy reason. Tallula got a Frozen snuggle-thing. Whose […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature

10 seconds with Clementine

Clementineplays-31

I almost didn’t even try to get these pictures. warning, photography talk ahead – feel free to skip the text and just check out the pictures The room was dark, it was well past sundown and I had my shutter speed at 60. And going below 100 is a no-no, especially when shooting kids. On […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature

one month with Clementine

Clementinelights-8

One month ago we met Clementine. And, to be completely honest, those first moments – after months of waiting, mounds of paperwork and countless prayers – were far from storybook. Before we even realized what was happening, she was rushed passed us in the police station, being carried flat on her back by what seemed […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature

Christmas cookies

Christmas-Cookies-22

This Christmas we are paring down. 1. because we want to 2. because we have to Last year we pared down a lot. And it was good. But the Lord has continued to open our eyes to the all ways He has gone before us. And continues to walk alongside us. There is nothing that […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature

So Loved. And Found.

womensfound2

What does one do when one should be prepping for Christmas? Decorating, baking, going to the mall? Well, evidently, this one organizes her closets. Maybe it’s because we don’t go further than the doctor’s office right now. Maybe it’s because we’ve grown by one and we need more room for that little one and her […]

[Continue reading...]
Signature