Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Day of School

Here's our history lesson: last year on July 18th, (or maybe 19th) we arrived home with Lily. I was already in the groove of home schooling our older two daughters, and Tim and I had decided that we would try to home school everyone:) This was a big undertaking, but we both agreed that we felt it was best for our family, and we were told by several adoption gurus that this would probably be very beneficial to Lily and us during the bonding process. Plus, we totally felt God was leading us to this anyway.
The year went well overall, but throughout my year of teaching Lily, I have come to the conclusion that Lily definitely has some dysgraphia issues - this is a writing issue. It's also linked to dyslexia. Lily is very bright, and her language development has been and continues to be incredible! But, I have felt that she would benefit from one or possibly two years of education at our local school. I am thrilled to say that she has a wonderful teacher and assistant teacher - both of whom I already know through church. She is also in the same classroom as my niece and quite a few other children that have just left our church's preschool program.
I was apprehensive when leaving her, but she had a great day. I am praying that this year will allow her to grow educationally, socially, and physically. Educationally, she will recieve English as a second-language services, regular class-room attention, and she may be pulled out for extra attention if she does struggle in the classroom. Although Lily is not socially handicapped by any stretch, she does seem to still be trying to find her place. I think this will give her the opportunity to have friends that are truly her friends and not Annie's or Molly Kate's friends that happen to play with her as well. And physically, she will have more opportunities with playground equipment and just the exercise of moving from class to cafeteria to art, etc. than she has had at home.

School started this past Thursday. Friday was off, and Monday they'll really get going. Lily is doing great - I'm the one who is still struggling with it some.

Annie and Lily's B'day Party


Today we celebrated Lily's 6th birthday and Annie's 5th birthday with a gymnastics party!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Birthday!!!

Today was a very special day. It was Lily's 6th birthday. More importantly though, it was her first REAL Carley-style celebration birthday. Last year, we hardly acknowledged her birthday. This was in part due to the emotional drain of having recently arrived home from a 19 day, foreign country expedition, with a sweet souvenier...Lily - our newly adopted, non-English speaking daughter, who was still trying desperately to decipher what in the world was going on!

However, one year later...BAM! We did it right: streamers, balloons, birthday plates, hats, Chinese lanterns hanging from chandeliers, etc. Even her American Girl doll, Ivy, wore her "B'day wishes tee" to celebrate Lily's special day. Last night I prepared homemade cinnamon rolls and boiled eggs (her favorite - the eggs not the cinnamon rolls), and birthday songs and wishes started rolling in around 8:00 this morning. Lunch was another favorite - Ramen noodles. Then the kids and I went to Kids Rule, a business that specializes in large, indoor inflatables. Great fun was had by the kids, and I worked on an application to have Lily screened for dyslexia - something I have discovered over the past year as I have homeschooled her. To top of the day, Tim and I went to the Asian Market and purchased some good eats. It made her one happy little girl. Before bedtime I asked her what was her favorite thing she'd eaten all day...boiled egg. Isn't that crazy?

We have a cute b'day video that I'm going to try and publish later. I am having some technical difficulties w/ it at present, so don't hold your breath waiting:)

Monday, July 25, 2011

9 months later

I might just have to work backwards through our year, b/c although my last post stated that I had gotten the hang of posting pictures, I found it to be quite time consuming tonight to get them posted in the correct order, so I after a while, I quit. Here are the ones I settled on for tonight, mostly in chronological order, but not completely.

Happy New Year!

This past year we hosted a New Year's Eve party w/ my sister's family. It was great fun for families to get together and have a way to celebrate the New Year w/ their kids. (We didn't actually ring in the New Year - the party ended at around 10:00 p.m. That was plenty late for my crew.)

Happy Valentine's Day

We celebrated Valentine's by going to IHOP for breakfast - a BIG treat. We never eat out, so the kids loved this. We also had our homeshcool Valentine's party, and that's where this picture was taken.

Legally Adopted in the USA

Although Lily was officially adopted in China, it was recommended that we re-adopt her in the USA. This process allows us to have a birth certificate w/ mine and Tim's names and our state, etc. It also helps us get her social security card and any other important legal documents for Lily.

Many, many cousins...

We went on a family field trip to Folsum, LA to the Global Wildlife Center. This facility has zebras, giraffes, bull horn cows, camels, llamas, kangaroos, etc, and you can hand feed some of the animals or feed them by extending a cup of food. It's amazing fun! The giraffes put their heads into the wagons/jeeps and eat right out of the food bucket. This picture shows all the cousins except one on my side of the family.

Easter Traditions

Cousins on Tim's side of the family enjoy decorating a bunny cake every year. Usually it's very ugly by the time the little ones quit decorating. Somehow, this one managed to turn out ok.


Every child loves stickers, right? So, one morning I find Lily is sporting this shiny gold sticker. Can you guess what it says? (Oh, how I wish my camera could have zoomed in enough to show the lettering!!) "Made in CHINA"

Beach Babe

July 4th, 2011

This will always be a special day for us. Our gotcha day was July 4, 1010. It's incredible to look back at the pictures from a year ago and see just how much Lily has blossomed. She's mighty cute in that picture if I do say so myself.

Watermelon at Nana and Daddo's pool
What more needs to be said?

Here's where the pictures are no longer in order. Enjoy them all the same.

Maybe Father's Day (?)

I think he's a mighty fine daddy:)

English Tea and Scones...

...our lunch to celebrate the Royal Wedding.

Barbara Bush at our local convention center.

I was sincerely hoping that although we couldn't get tickets to the luncheon (They sold out immediately after the phone lines opened.) that I could at least let the girls see her. Security was crazy, but we did get to glimpse her from the parking lot.

Maybe Mother's Day

I am a mighty lucky mother:)

That's all I have in me tonight. Hopefully soon I'll sit down again and fill in the gap from October to New Years and also type out my thoughts/perspectives on this last year.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I got the hang of posting pictures!

So, I tried to post these from the day we got Lily forward, but they are backwards. But, finally there are a few pictures posted! YEAH! (Annie is not in this picture, but my niece Anne Hardin is with my girls.)

This is physical therapy Carley style!
Lily, stylin', beside a yummy, super-delicious plate of fried fish!

This was taken the day after we got home from China. Do you remember I mentioned that my mom had a gorgeous arrangement of lilies to welcome Lily? Here they are. (Check out the difference in Lily's tan from this picture and the previous one! She tans like her mother -HA!)

This is Lily the day we got her! My how a few months can bring rapid changes!

I'll try to post a few more later this week. We went to a family reunion today, and it along with my week exhausted me. I slept the hour and 15 minutes home, and then I came inside the house and slept another hour and a half. Praise the Lord. I think I'll pop a tylenol PM soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes...

There have been a few funny sayings from Annie since we've been home with Lily, and I forget to post them in my last writing.

After we got home from our UAB appointment, we walked in the door, where Annie rushed to meet us and said, "Does she walk like us now?" Then, when she saw Lily still walking with her scissor-gait, she disdainly said, "How come she still doesn't walk like us?"

This same conversation occurred after I had taken Lily up to Oak Grove School for a quick evaluation by Special Services.

And yesterday, when we were getting ready for church, Lily and Annie were in the bathroom while I was putting on my make-up, etc. Lily began exploring my vanity drawer and was asking, "What's this?" about items in there. She asked about my lotion, chap stick...and she would say, "Schmells good." Then she smelled my fragrance free face lotion and said, "Schmells good." I told her it didn't smell. Annie, innocently said, "Maybe flat noses can smell it." (I hope this doesn't offend anyone - remember Annie is 4! At this house, that's funny.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lily Update

Today was an absolutely wonderful day! I say that because I got a(VERY much needed!) three-hour break from my role as "Mama." I absoluely love being a mom, and I love home-schooling my kids, and I wouldn't trade either, but those roles require a great deal of sacrifice. With five kids, the house is seldom quiet, and often it is noisy with a cacophony of kids calling, "MAMA!" When we began home-schooling, I gave up a lot of time that I could have been alone. Today, I took off for 3 hours and enjoyed a leisurely shopping trip to one of my favorite stores, TJ Maxx, swung by Marble Slab and indulged, and then went to my parents' house where it was really quiet and read my Bible. The afternoon was such a treat! (THANK YOU TIM!)

Enough about me right?!

Lily is doing great! She's learned the days of the week, working on the months of the year, the 7 continents, #'s 1-30 and counting by 10's, and trying to write her name. She's also learning phonograms (phonics cards) along with Molly Kate and Annie. She understands a good deal of English now, and we just wing it if there's something new. She still doesn't speak in sentences regularly, but she is putting more and more together as each week passes. Last night she said, "I can't see it," while trying to put her seat belt on in the dark. That might seem trivial, but 4 word sentences are a huge accomplishment in a foreign language!

Common phrases right now:

Mama, baf. (she LOVES the bath)
Mama, egg. (the child eats boiled eggs like they're M&M's- in a normal day, I limit her to 2-3)
Mama, schwimmin. (swimming:))
Mama, ANNIE (have I mentioned that Annie pesters Lily, and Lily is WAY too sensitive when it comes to Annie - However, this is getting better! YAY!)
What's that?
Mama, look.

I wish you could hear her say yes ma'am. It comes out, "Yesh mom." Too cute!

Lily usually wakes up around 7:15, and usually, I'm either just getting up, or just getting in from jogging about this time. Then, she often shadows me throughout the day - like a toddler would his/her mother - following her around the house no matter where she goes or what she's doing. I think this is probably a good thing, because it has to be good concerning the bonding thing. However, I'm thankful for the times she occupies herself playing with Annie and our next door neighbor, or even playing by herself too. She plays well, eats well, and sleeps well too! What a blessing!

Thankfully, Lily has taken to the American diet pretty well, and the ways I have adjusted our diet to satisfy her, have really been to our benefit. Lily would consume fruit from sun-up til sun-down if I let her. The reason I cannot let this happen all day is b/c it was causing wet beds at night, and I like my sleep too much to deal with wet beds when there is a solution. So, we are big fruit consumers until say 4-5 p.m., and then we switch to foods with less fluid content. On Wednesday I went to SAM'S and purchased 16 lbs of fruit, almost all of which is gone now. Today I purchased another 14 lbs. That's a lot of fruit! The other big item is eggs. I purchased 4 dozen today. Thank goodness they say it's the good cholesterol.

We took Lily to the University of Alabama International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham about 3 weeks after we arrived home. There we saw a pediatrician, a speech pathologist, a physical therapist, and a counselor. One of the things they told us to do, was to have Lily tested for parasites. We got a call Friday from the pediatrician that she tested positive for 2 parasites. Although this is pretty gross to me, I must admit I'm pleased to learn she has them for 2 reasons: 1. Parasites make the bathroom smell pretty wicked... 2. maybe Lily will put on some height and weight as she gets to keep all the nutrients she's eating for herself! (Lily is in the 3rd percentile in height and weight for her age. She hasn't gained any weight since being home, and she eats lots of food.

I'll try to get Tim to post a new picture or two tomorrow....