Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year Celebrations Begin…

Happy Chinese New Year!
As you can see it is Year of the Horse. Starting strong we did many activity sheets and made masks. All of us will get new haircuts and I will pass out “Red Luck” envelopes when Noah returns from Space Camp. We will also read our CNY book, do some sweeping, eat oranges, wear our Chinese clothing for pictures, try some Chinese food and make some lanterns. So much fun starting this tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year!

CNY copy

Snomaggedon 2014

If you want the full story on the pages below,  just scroll down for the rather lengthy play by play of our Snowmaggedon experience. The “fun” snow pictures will be a separate post!

snomageddon 1 copysnowmageddon 2 copy

It started off just a normal day. Threat of snow was in the air but not imminent. Hurriedly, Noah the girls and I rushed out the door at 8:40 a.m. After dropping the girls off at school Noah and I headed to another appointment. At about 9:30 a.m. I noticed that snow was falling fairly steady. By 10:00 a.m. I was concerned. Eyes wide with wonder, Noah and I hurried to the car. Must retrieve girls! I knew by the look of the parking lot time was not our friend. Frantically, I called Eric and begged him to head home immediately. Upon reaching the interstate my heart sank. It was already getting treacherous. Bundling up the girls we tore out of the parking lot of the preschool...or I had hoped we would. Instead, we barely made it up the hill. I had the fleeting thought to just head straight to the Edington’s not but a half mile away. But I brushed it away and set my mind on home. Not my best decision. Sliding, skidding and stressing we arduously made our way down the road that we hoped would take us home. Cars were out of control everywhere you looked. Knots of tangled messes of metal littered the streets. My hope of home was fading fast and my blood pressure was rising in equal amounts, as was Noah’s. We made it down Highway 150 as far as Publix when we saw an impassable scene, so we snuck up the steep hill to Publix and found it clear of ice and snow! Tearing across the parking lot at 5 mph we wove our way back to Highway 150 where it crosses beneath I-459 and the picture above shows you what awaited us there. Pressing on to the goal we continued. By now, I had my parents on speaker phone for moral support. When the car began sliding into the next lane without me doing anything…it was comforting to have them with us. Only by the grace of God did we actually climb that hill past the Target and I mean that. Thank you Lord Jesus! We inched down the other side and finally made it to CVS. I decided that there was no way we would be able to climb the hill before us and make the left turn onto South Shades Crest. Clambering out of the car we rushed the doors of CVS only to find them locked! What?! However, an employee hurried to open them in order to let us know they were closed and the registers were down. Seriously?! They let us in and after a potty break for all, the kids ate their school lunches on the floor. Another woman in the store offered Noah some bread, lunch meat and a banana- kindness of strangers. Soon the manager informed us she was closing the store and walking home, so we’d have to leave. Sigh. Before I could even gather all our things she also told me she would open a register and I could buy whatever I needed. Score! Pull ups, wipes, bottled water, Gatorade, Goldfish, animal crackers, applesauce, cashews, and fruit bars...check! I decided to try the impossibly steep hill at CVS to position myself on South Shades Crest from a different angle. It worked! However, after over an hour on this road the realization that we’d have to abandon the car sank in. Who did I know? Who could help? We were sitting very near to our old neighborhood when the Holy Spirit whispered the name, “Alex.” in my ear. Of course, the Sheppard’s, our old favorite neighbors! Alex used to babysit for us all the time. I texted her to see if she was home, praise Jesus she was indeed. They invited us to come over and Alex came to meet me on the road to help with the girls. The walk to their home was half a mile, it was snowing, and 19 degrees! Upon arriving to their home we were informed that the windshield was actually 9 degrees! I still am not sure how my littles made it that far, again...God. My right hand was numb and purple. How I had the notion to keep the girls hands in their jackets as we trudged along I’ll never know...wait...Jesus again. MEANWHILE, Eric tried to make it home but only got as far as West Valley Avenue when he deemed it better to head back to the office. But before doing so he spent hours helping people and pushing their cars out. His home base was Naji’s Pita Stop, they kept him well supplied with coffee and plenty of food. He decided to head back to the office as the sun was going down. A woman, who lived on Valley, needed a ride home, so he took her home on the way to the office. It was getting late and the trek from Valley Ave. up Beacon Parkway he said was brutal due to the cold and setting sun. In the office, he set up camp by using cushions from the tops of two drawer filing cabinets. He had never understood their purpose, a place to sit perhaps, but was grateful to have them to make a make shift bed. Co-workers, who had made it home, contacted Eric to let him know to raid their food stashes. He settled down for the evening with his laptop and internet for company, which for him is good company. Back at Camp Sheppard, the rest of the Williamson clan were being well taken care of by Gail and Alex. The kids loved Alex! Brownies were made. Bellies content. While the kids watched cartoons, the “adults” watched the weather station and got reacquainted again! Later, Mommy made a palate for the girls on the floor and put them easily to bed. Nothing like a ½ mile hike in the snow, uphill, in almost sub-zero weather to wear out your kids. Noah and I watched a bit of Animal Planet then hit the bed. As Yaya woke me up 4 times, Eden once and Noah multiple times, (I should have put him on the floor instead of in bed with me!) I thanked God, each time that we were in a warm house and not our car. Morning came too early for me, the girls were up at 6:30 a.m. A large screen T.V., paper and crayons, and books entertained my children most of the day. Perfect angels! About 11:30 a.m. Alex and I headed out to my car to get “kid food” and pull ups. We wanted to survey the situation to make a determination about our chances of getting home. No go. Roads were still slippery with ice and the cluster of cars blocking the intersection were still doing that very thing. Taking some pictures along the way we enjoyed the time out. When we returned with the kid food, my children were thrilled! Poptarts all around! Eric phoned to let me know that he would try to make a break for it around 2:00 p.m. Praying silently, I tried not to get my hopes up. He called around 2:00 to let me know he had gone the long way around the mountain to get home, putting him on the opposite end of Hwy 150 and he had to abandon his truck. Back on foot he was still helping push people out and he pressed on with determination to reach his family. I got a text at 2:30 letting me know that he had caught a ride to the back entrance of a neighborhood that joined the one I was currently in. However, he was still a good distance away. Back at the Sheppard’s, Glory to God, Kevin (Mr. Sheppard) made it home. He relayed to us that we could likely make it home if we got the car. Alex and I bundled up again and headed out to get my car! Luckily, it was a breeze getting to my car and bringing it back to the house thanks to some good Samaritans who were directing traffic. Back to Eric. After, pushing out three more cars, Eric was noticed by another driver and she gave him a ride all the way to the Sheppard’s home! I saw a white car pull into the drive way and Eric stepped out of the car. Running like a goof in a bad romance movie, I threw myself into his arms. By this time I already had the car packed up and the kids ready to go. Gail put some warm soup in a bowl for Eric to take home and there were hugs and kisses all around. We rallied to the car. We carefully drove home. We made it! Never, in recent history, can I remember being so happy to be home with my entire family with me! Later the kids got some good “snow time.” But that’s a different page. God is so good!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beautiful Hard Moments

Friends we are 19 months home with our dear Yaya, a little over a year and a half. Much has changed. Much has improved. Growing physically, mentally and emotionally we watch our daughter start to bloom. We wait eagerly for her to blossom. We know it is coming but it is hard fought and it is still out on the horizon. We can see it and it offers hope…offers hope…Offers Hope. True words on different levels. Here is an exchange that was amazing and hard and served as a reminder to me that God is still doing the hard work of restoration in our daughter.

<screaming heard from the back bedroom> Eden runs into the playroom crying and informs me that Yaya just pulled her hair and hit her in the throat. Now this is not like Yaya to do this but not unheard of either. I try to calm Eden down and I check her over quickly for any “real” damage. I can still hear screams of rage from the back of the house. Running down the hall, calling Yaya’s name I wonder to myself how long this rage may last and what on earth triggered it. Thrashing around on the floor in the spare room is where I find Yaya. I run to her. I scoop her upright and hug her tightly to me. Standing and somewhat resisting my embrace, Yaya stomps her foot and points accusingly towards the door and screams, “ She left me! She left me! SHE. LEFT. ME!!” Quickly the Holy Spirit downloads into my mind the rush of words I need to say. The words she needs to hear. I marvel at how quickly the Lord allowed me to assess this situation. That may sound strange to say but so often, “I miss it.” I assess wrong and make things worse. At any rate, I begin to tell her. “Yaya, you are not alone. You are not in China. You are in your home. You are with your family. You are in your Mama’s arms.”  She breaks in, “And you love me.” My heart rips wide open, “Yes, Yaya, and Mama loves you. Sister loves you.” With each short sentence she comes down a level. Finally, I feel her weight shift and she leans into me to support her.

Eden appears at our side. I look at my sweet Eden and tell her this, “ Eden, Mommy is very sorry that Yaya hurt you. It was wrong of her to do that. However, I want you to know why she did that. You see, you and Noah come and go as you please in this house and feel very safe anywhere you are. You feel safe if left alone in a room. It isn’t the same for Yaya.” I feel Yaya nod her head affirmatively next to mine. “Eden, a long time ago Yaya’s Mama left her alone, and never came back.” Yaya, softly murmurs, “Yea.” Looking into Eden’s deep brown eyes, I see dark pools of compassion. I continue, “Eden sometimes, and I know it sounds silly, but sometimes when you leave Yaya alone in a room, she feels the same way she did when her Mama left her. She can’t explain it, but she feels scared and alone and angry. And even though she knows in her head where you are in the house, she still feels scared. So when you tried to leave the room just now, that is how she was feeling.” Again, Yaya whispers, “Yea.” At this point I’m thinking, “Can these girls really comprehend what I’m saying? I mean I’m almost too deep and pyschobabbly for my own self.” Quietly Eden asks, “Mom, can I talk to Yaya please?” She steps in front of her sister and puts her little hands on either side of Yaya’s cheeks and tilts her forehead down until she is touching Yaya’s forehead with her own. She quietly whispers, “Yaya, Daddy is making a fire in the fire place, do you want to come with me to see?” Yaya nods. Taking Yaya’s hand in hers, Eden leads her out  of the room saying, “Come on, let’s go.”

They run down the hall.

I lean back and weep.

Beautiful hard moments.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eden’s Birthday Photo’s

This has taken longer than I had intended, which means I’ll get Christmas out around July. Here are Eden’s pages for her 4th Birthday party at Build A Bear workshop in the mall. A good time was had by all.

eden bday 1

eden bday 2eden bday 3eden bday 4eden bday 5eden bday 6eden bday 8eden bday 9eden bday 10 copyeden bday 11