Clementine came home last November at 19 months of age.

And five months later, so much has changed.

I’ve done my best to blog about all the changes, but honestly, she’s learning and doing and changing so quickly, I really can’t keep up.

Five months.

When I think about the amount of time she’s been home – in relation to how she has grown, and how she has absolutely captured us – it seems like a really long time. I mean, goodness… five months ago she was essentially a stranger. And now we could not imagine life without her.

But when I think about that five months – in relation to how long she was without us – it seems like almost nothing. And the 19+ months seems devastatingly long.

570 days.

Makes my heart hurt in so many ways for her.


In a few ways my heart hurts for all of us. Like how many Clementine *firsts* we missed.

But then we have days like the other day. Clementine’s very first trip to the park.

It was also her first time on a big swing, pushed by her mama.



And her first trip down a slide, being held by her baba.



Her first time to feel fake-park-grass-stuff under her feet.



And her first time to take a step on that grass-stuff all by tiny, sweet self.


It was her first adventure through a big yellow tunnel, with a brother sticking his smiling face through the holes to try to make her laugh.


And a sister behind her, to make sure she didn’t get scared.



And a mama, waiting for her at the end.


It was her first trip to a park as a sister.

A daughter.

A beloved member of a family.


If these are the kind of firsts we’re in for, despite missing the first 19 months of firsts…

my heart feels pretty okay with that.


guess who is two.

We got to celebrate Clementine turning two the other day.

Her first birthday with us.


And I’m not sure who had more fun, Clementine or the rest of her crazy-for-Clementine family.


As she always does, Victoria wowed with a beautiful cake for the occasion: a four-layered, pink, polka-dotted cake, just for our girl.


We tried to make a mini-smashcake, just like the big version, but that didn’t go so well (although we did manage to eat it with a spoon off the cookie sheet).

So we bought a fancy cupcake instead.


Clementine didn’t seem to mind.





In fact, it seemed to smush just fine.

(To see 15 seconds of smashcake goodness on IG, click here.)


After a short break for a bath, and a wardrobe change, we moved on to the next portion of par-tay.




Once again, Clementine seemed to know just what to do. She hadn’t opened a present since Christmas but the whole paper-ripping thing was like second nature.



Not sure if she loved the presents, the paper or the fact that all eyes were on her, but whatever it was, she was one very happy girl.



Happy, that is, until Baba tried to make her move on from her new, pinkalicious magnadoodle.


Until now, Clementine was sharing one very well-loved magnadoodle with a whole lot of siblings.

Clearly, she was pretty excited to have one to call her very own.


But then, more presents.

Triangular crayons. Tiny drawing pads.



And then – the finale.

A little bitty bike for our little bitty girl. In pink, of course.



I kinda think she loved it.


Oh, Clementine. Words are inadequate to express how much having you in our family blesses us.

We love you all the way to the moon and back. Times a million.

Happy two, my tiny love.


a family for Rosie


I first read about this precious girl on the Down Syndrome Adoption FB group and was immediately smitten. And when you see her picture, I’m sure you’ll agree. Those chubby legs. That black hair. Those pink cheeks. Oh my. Now that we are home with our Clementine I have a huge soft spot for these very special kiddos. Before […]

[Continue reading...]

co-sleeping is king.


As a mom of a large, relatively conspicuous brood, I get a lot of questions. One question I’m asked frequently is how we manage so many little ones, specifically, how we are able to foster attachment considering the size of our family and how quickly our family has grown from 4 kids to 12. I […]

[Continue reading...]

her new love.


This child. She babbles constantly. But speaks rarely. So rarely, we’ve been putting off pronouncing her official *first word*. Sometimes she says Dada. Sometimes she says Mama. But nothing you could say for sure. (Chris and I might both be a smidge biased.) But now. Now she has a new love. And the love is […]

[Continue reading...]

twice is better.


Yesterday Tallula officially turned 5. But because of spring break and big siblings traveling, we had to have her party a few days early. Which she didn’t mind at all. But that left us with nothing especially special planned on the real day, her actual birthday. What to do? Celebrate again. This time with a […]

[Continue reading...]

full heart. full hands.


A few weeks ago I shared about all that God has been doing in and through So Loved. And today, I get to share even more good stuff. Pictures. Pictures of some precious people wearing their So Loved at Morning Star Foster Home. Some so tiny they have to wear theirs like a little blanket. […]

[Continue reading...]

105 days


105 days ago we stood in a police station in Changsha, waiting not-so-patiently for the first real-life glimpse of our daughter. And as I have shared, that first meeting was far from storybook. Amazing what 105 days can do. And so, in an effort to record how far she has come and all she has […]

[Continue reading...]

more than just a few pictures.


When I asked my girls who wanted to go outside with me and my camera, wearing their So Loved shirt, Lula was the first to shout (and jump, with both hands in the air), “Me! Me!” The promise of a pack of Skittles might have helped. I can’t be sure. My hope was to just […]

[Continue reading...]

the year of the sheep


We wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year on Thursday – the official first day of the Lunar New Year. Didn’t happen. Then we hoped to celebrate on Saturday. Nope. On Sunday Chris took the boys to church and I kept the girls home since we had three still recovering from fever/nausea/rash. And we were finally […]

[Continue reading...]