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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stationery card

Christ Wishes Religious Christmas Card
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Umm... where did September and October go?

It can't be November already? Is it? Wow... I know I will win the "worst blogger" award for lack of consistent blogging. Our life has been pretty hectic for the last few months and the next couple of months aren't looking much better... LOL. So, we moved back into the house. Yay!!! We were all so glad to get to come home, but gosh, was it stressful. Boxes, boxes, and more boxes everywhere. I still have only a path for us to walk through the garage. The neighborhood feels oddly different because of the daily reminder of the destruction that came our way on April 27. I have to admit that I am still grieving through this. The beauty of our neighborhood is having to be rediscovered and some days I just don't see it. I see a whole bunch of dirt where trees used to be and my favorite walking path is no longer there. But, enough of my whining. The kids are glad to have their stuff back and I'm glad to finally be back home. October... hmmm... well, sometime around mid-month, I came up for air, after being buried in boxes for a month or so. Football season was well upon us... in fact, running our life for a while. Cole played on junior varsity and dressed out for Varsity on Friday nights. The first couple of varsity games left me swiping tears after seeing my baby, my little Cole, standing there among a bunch of sweaty, smelly big boys looking more like a man than a boy. Where did the years go? I got it together after a few games, and now I only cry about it in secret. Ha, ha... The Glencoe Yellow Jackets have had a good season and are going into the second round of playoff games this Friday night. It has been sooooooooo busy, but I've loved it. On October 31, we dressed out a Stuie, an extremely handsome cowboy, and a little Chinese Minnie Mouse. I love Halloween dress-up... so, so fun. We've already started planning for next year. But its' a secret, can't tell you just yet. Our little sister has really made some strides in the last couple of months. For starters, she is talking now... a lot. A few months ago, I was beginning to be concerned that we couldn't understand much of anything she said. Fast forward to now, and she is speaking in sentences and sometimes I have to ask her to just stop talking and let my ears rest. Paybacks, I know... LOL... She's still a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse addict, likes cheese-curls for breakfast, and is pure comedy most of the time. Her favorite toys right now are puzzles, costume jewelry, and lip gloss. Yes, lip gloss. The girl loves some cosmetics. She is more beautiful every day and sometimes I just can't believe she's ours. The biggest news of this week is that I was able to go back to work. I've been out for a while due to complications of my lupus. I've been on a new medicine that I hope will allow me to continue to improve. God has blessed me with a fantastic job and I am grateful to have that to go back to. I know He has a plan for me and His ways are the best ways. A new friend of mine will be coming home from China on Thursday. She and her family waited for over five years for their little M. Unbelievable. When she began the process, her agency predicted a twelve month wait... then it turned into two-years, then three, then four, then five YEARS. God teaches us lessons during waiting times in our lives and this story is such a perfect illustration of His perfect plans for all of us. The daughter that God had knit for this family hadn't even been born during the waiting time... so the wait was necessary. And now, it all makes sense. My life has been changed for the better when I began to accept that God's got it all figured out... I can stop worrying, I can stop biting my nails, and just rely on Him to guide us. So, if you are waiting on God right now for something, I hope you are encouraged that He will work it all out, whatever it may be. I'm going to challenge myself for the next few weeks to spend time blogging about thankfulness... I'm always up for a challenge. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Glimpses of Summer

Just a few more photos of summer sweetness, random stuff that I must share with all my bloggy friends.

Much love,

So Long Summer...

We're gonna miss you. Till next year...

Well, I can't believe it, but the summer has ended and it's back to school again. The summer was good. We traveled a lot and crammed as much fun as we could into June and July. We went to the beach with my family in early June, Griff and I took a CRUISE in July, and then one more beach trip with Griff's family to end the summer break. I enjoyed my children this summer. We are still living at Aunt Ruby's little house, patiently waiting for our house to be renovated. My kids have been awesome about the whole situation. I am extremely proud of how they've handled this enormous inconvenience. I keep reminding myself and them that God sometimes wraps up blessings in bad things just to surprise us. That seems to be enough for them and is generally for me unless I'm just having a particularly bad day. Mia has come so far in the last few months and I sometimes can't believe she hasn't always been with us. Cole has grown into a man and I cry in secret because I know he's growing so fast and I'm going to have to let him fly. Garrett read the entire Harry Potter series this summer... he's my little studious fella. And Nolan... he has gardened, fished, and has made me giggle so many times just because he is devilishly yummy... he's my little blond-haired boy.

As I said before, God wraps up blessings in hurts sometimes and I continue to struggle with my lupus. My doctor finally decided to let me try a new infuseable medication specifically for lupus. I got my first infusion last week and it's still way too early to know if I'll respond. I am prayerful that God will bring healing to me... but the sickness has allowed me to be off from work for a while, which has given me the gift of time... time with my babies and I have loved it.

The house rebuild is still underway. My contractor is a cousin, so he can't hate me forever. I'm starting to get restless and starting to ask the same question a lot... "And when do you think you'll be done?" He just laughs and I know he secretly wants me to get to go home as much or more than I do.

Oh, and how could I forget? The garden... yes, the garden. My dad planted this ENORMOUS garden and we have spent many hours picking vegetables and putting them up for winter. I even purchased my very own FoodSaver thingy, so I am officially a domestic nerd. My goal is to have my freezer stocked with all things fresh, so that this winter when I'm craving a nice, wholesome bowl of vegetable soup... I can simply walk to my freezer, pluck out a bag, and in a little while be lapping it up. Gardening is so fun to me... as I love to watch how things grow. Again, a gift from God, because if I were working right now, I would have missed this. My mom and I had fun putting up tomatoes and soup stock together and I learned lot. Blessings.

So, my babies rushed off to school a few days ago. Cole was excited about going to high school... I know... sniff, sniff... Garrett was on-the-fence about his back-to-school opinion, Nolan was ready to get to first grade so he can learn to read... "cause I can't read the Wii and that makes me mad", he says. Mia was not excited about returning to preschool, but appeared happy when I picked her up. A new year begins and only the Lord knows what's in store, but I'm excited just the same.

I hope you all have had a fun-filled summer with the ones you love. I sure have.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fast Forward Four Months

Wow... that was fast. The last time I blogged was in February. So much has happened since then, so I'll do my best to fill you in. I know so many people have probably all but given up on this blog, so I may be the only person reading any of this. But that's okay, it will be therapeutic for me to get it out. Where shall I begin?

The day of the Chinese Festival (my last post) my grandmother was taken to the hospital with chest pains. She ended up being there for over two months. She had to have triple bypass heart surgery and aortic valve replacement. She really struggled for weeks and I honestly didn't know if she would ever leave that hospital alive. But she did. She was blessed with great doctors, wonderful nurses, a devoted family, and most of all the hand of the GREAT PHYSICIAN, which is our Lord. Our family is very close and this alone was a huge stress on everyone. We are just so thankful that she has recovered and I now see that she's getting back to herself again. Praise, praise, praise.

By March, my job was beginning to take a toll on me physically. I was recently diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia. The long commutes to work every day and the stress of a demanding job and raising a large family started catching up with me. I was slipping a little every day. Medicines weren't helping and I didn't know what to do.

April began like every other April. Baseball season was in full swing, with Nolan playing T-Ball and Garrett playing Minor League with Griff coaching both teams. Cole was on the golf team again, so many days were an interesting endeavor trying to get everybody where they needed to be. The baseball park is one of my favorite places, though, so I can't complain too much. I've always loved a good baseball game, especially when my kids are playing. Then... April 27th came. What a day.

The tornadoes that swept through Alabama left it's mark on my neighborhood. Our street looked very much like a war-zone. Luckily, we weren't at home when the tornado hit our neighborhood. After the storm passed, I drove home and couldn't get through to my house for all of the large trees laying in the street. I got out and ran all the way home... screaming and it felt like a slow-motion dream. It's like I could hear myself screaming, but I didn't feel it. I went to the back of the house to discover that the large windows in our family room were blown out. I walked into my house through the window opening and found my little Westie, Gus, running around barking. I know he must have been terrified. There was glass, water, and debris everywhere. I just couldn't take it in. All my things... my picture of my babies lying in the floor shattered and wet. My furniture blown everywhere. But the candlesticks were still in place on the mantle. Weird. The front rooms of the house seemed to almost be untouched with the exception of debris here and there. Upstairs was also pretty in tact. The next few days that followed the storm were dreamlike. People called or came by and I don't remember. Strangers were cutting trees down and dragging off debris. My neighbors were sifting through rubble looking for anything recognizable. The movers came in and moved everything to storage. We moved into a rental house my granddad owned that had belonged to my Aunt Ruby. (I blogged about her last January when she passed away.) Luckily, the house was clean and vacant, so our sweet friends showed up and moved bare minimum stuff for us.

As I said, my lupus was flaring and I was exhausted, before the storm hit. Afterwards, I didn't know if I could keep it up. My doctor and I talked and I made the decision to take some medical leave from work to try to get some rest and regain my health. So far, I haven't had a great deal of improvement, but I am about to try a new medicine which I am so hoping will allow me to feel like me again. I want to go back to work. I never realized how much it helped me.

Now it's June and we are still living at Aunt Ruby's. We are crammed into this house like a big foot in a little shoe. We have one bathroom and two bedrooms. Remember, there are six of us Fairleys now. My bedroom contains a double-bed, Mia's crib, and a cot for Nolan. Cole and Garrett are sleeping in the other room. Sometimes when I lay down at night, I think that it is so wonderful to have all my babies near me. Other times, I think I may very well lose my mind due to the lack of space and no privacy. The only repairs done so far to our house is a new roof. We finally got a settlement from the insurance company and now we wait for our mortgage company to release funds so that repairs can begin. This has been VERY SLOW and I'm reaching the threshold of patience. I find myself wanting to shout at everyone... JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN. I want our home back. Yesterday. Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth???

The damage to our beautiful neighborhood and the damages to our home have really been depressing for me. My eyes still cannot believe what I see when I drive down our street and see the landscape stripped clear, with a few exceptional trees that weren't blown down. My neighbors next door and across the street are having to demolish their homes and rebuild. I know that there will be better days ahead and that God's promises are true. God has held us in His hands throughout this situation and sometimes when I am so low, He speaks some word into my sad soul to encourage me. He has used my friends to lift my spirits and keep me hopeful.

The bright side of all of this is that I'm basically getting a new house. If I can just settle down and be patient, it will be beautiful again. One of my favorite songs right now is "Blessings" by Laura Storey. It is so fitting for what is happening to us right now. I am beginning to see the light, the good aspect of such a bad event. Another praise is that my kids are enjoying living in this little house and playing outside, helping my dad with his enormous garden, and just little things kids do that live in the country. My aunt Ruby had a green thumb and she has flowers planted all around this house. My favorite flower is the gardenia. Right outside the house is a huge gardenia bush in full bloom. How could she have known that all of her flowers would bring me such simple pleasure? Here again, sweet blessings from an AWESOME GOD. He is so into the intricate details, isn't He?

So, unfortunately this has not been a very upbeat post. Honest, but not the usual stuff I talk about. Maybe I can get back to doing that again. (That is if anyone is still interesting in reading... LOL)

By the way... guess what I was doing one year ago this week????? Yep, packing for China. Can you believe it's already been a year. She is doing well. I will tell you all about her later.

Much love to all of you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chinese New Year 2011

So, we decided to check out the Chinese New Year Festival in Birmingham on Saturday. It was interesting, to say the least. There were lots of acts and we only made it until intermission, as Mia was getting tired and restless. Mia really enjoyed one particular performance, but I couldn't describe it to you now. I was getting hungry... LOL... Anyways, we saw several other families that we knew there from our adoption agency and other families that were encouragers during our "waiting" process for Mia. I enjoyed seeing so many Chinese families that obviously live in the Birmingham area. I noticed several small babies and it made me wonder what my baby girl must have looked like at that young age. It made me sad to realize that I had missed that stage of her life, but grateful that I have her now. She is really giving us a run for our money right now. Sister has begun to throw what I like to call "hissy" fits. I think the correct terminology would be "tantrums". She, like most all two-year olds, wants to be in control and for some reason mealtime triggers an urge to dictate where, how, and what she eats. She really prefers to sit in my lap, and inevitably she has to be removed from the table for a few minutes to get her calm. I know this is a phase... this isn't my first rodeo with toddlers. But this realization does not make it any less stressful. I wanted to post some pics from our day. Have a good week, everyone.