Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lots of Firsts

I was blessed to get the day off for Frannie's school field day (early May) and Kevin attended Grace's field day at her school. Frannie had her ballet recital, she received a reading medal and we joined the neighborhood pool which has provided us with a daily respite. Frannie can officially swim, I mean really SWIM (across the pool, across the deep end, etc.) and Grace finally feels comfortable with her floatie in the pool and putting her head under-water. We are traveling to St. Augustine on Monday for a visit with family and friends. Can't wait to eat some of that Schooner's food. Any and all of it! Oh yeah, and Kevin had the back yard torn apart and put all back together. Here is a BEFORE picture. The "after" is still a work in progress.

Friday, May 11, 2012

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

I get to work with clearly the most holy creations God has made. I get to spend my days having coffee with Moms who generally want you there, with kids who like to see you show up with fun activities and make baby-steps with them, enabling them to feel proud of their accomplishments. That's it. I get paid for this? Lord, when I get to heaven, can I spend half of eternity doing the same thing? Can I run and play with them and ask them all the questions I wish they could answer me here on this planet? The irony of their "value" here in our society is typical of a secular world. The first shall be last and the last will be first. I have been blessed to spend a good bit of time with a group of lawyers and then a group of kids like Ainsley. Kinda funny how the world values those rich men and women with Esq after their names (no offense to those lawyers out there, but you get my drift - especially those that are SO DANG IMPORTANT) and I have spent time with Father Ho Lung and Father Gregory in Kingston, both of whom are not as well known as Mother Teresa, of course, but they are Jamaican versions of her. Ainsley brought a ton of love into this world and the well-dressed lawyers with vacation homes at the beach ... well, let's just say I am grateful to have these experiences. Kevin is going to Boston to work Sox game today so I am incredibly jealous, ugh.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh Man, Go See This!!

I can't wait to go see this movie. Kevin has two friends from Alabama who helped make this incredible movie.

Thank you Baby Jesus for Spring Break! I picked up Grace from school today and she looked like she just saw Santa. We are so excited! Ten days of pure fun!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I can't stop writing letters to my Reps!

I am on the war path to transform the way our State BOE views my students and/or make them aware of how ridiculous rules affect a small percentage of the population. Do they care? We shall see.

If anyone with any decision-making powers got one look at my students or knew the first thing about them, no one would make them study chemistry, world politics and quantum physics!!! Pray for me people!

On a far happier note, look how cute my little chickens are (Grace nibbling during her St. Patrick's Day party and Frannie hard at work on her fairy. You would never guess by her finished product that SHE is the one with missing digits!):

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.....

Well, not really, but March brings .... SHAMROCK SHAKES! Yahoo! Lisa C., ha ha ha!

This photo of Grace shows her, after removing rubber bands that were on her head all night long! Later, Frannie, Grace and I were taking the car for a wash in the big MONSTER washing machine and although Grace is still petrified to do it, she wanted to go. So Frannie was comforting her .... she wins the prize for best sister (at least she gets this title for ten minutes - until she secretly pinches her).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Poor Little Kid

Poor little Frannie. She got ahold of this book and started asking questions about it. I guess Kevin read her part of it and she has simply broken apart about her birth Mom. It had to happen sometime, but I guess it took me by surprise. She was so upset about how much her birth Mom misses her that she has just sobbed and sobbed. I wanted her to know how much her Mom does love her and that she had no choice. I wanted her to know she can cry to me as much as she wants about it. And I also wanted her to know that only Jesus can take that pain away from her Mom. Frannie, Grace and I talked about how we will pray every time we think of her -- for Jesus to put peace in her birth Mom's heart and to somehow know Frannie is okay, loved, safe and happy. She showed me last night how she is going to kneel down and hold her hands in a praying position and ask Jesus to do that. It was so cute and sad. Grace didn't really know what to make of it all. She was sad that Frannie was so upset and she just wrapped her arms around Frannie and kissed her repeatedly on the arm. Oh, I could just squeeze that little peanut.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Candyland Championship

Lawrenceville is the site of the scarf-wearing Candyland Championship of the World. Nowhere else has a competition like this been seen in all the world. In a nail-biter, Grace Fay pulled ahead and overthrew the competition, winning 2 sets out of 3. She is, without a doubt, the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. All three competitors are seen above wearing their handmade, finely woven scarves. A rematch has been discussed.

Prayers go out to our boy Brett who is spending time in Scottish Rite. No updates today. Pray for Lisa to get some sleep. She's averaged about 72 minutes of sleep a day for the past 3 months. Mother of the Year? You bet.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thank you God for weekends

We went out for a wonderful meal last night in our neighborhood to Sushi Gallery. Grace has a classmate named Ella whose family owns the restaurant (Benihana-style with hibachi too) and it was such a nice Friday treat. This week was short for work, but it seemed like it lasted 13 days. My friend once said they put "an addictive chemical in wasabi to keep you coming back" and I believe that theory to be true!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oh Happy Day

Our weather is unseasonably warm, the girls are smart, happy and healthy, Kevin is working a fair amount (but not too much) and work is not too bad these days. I love my co-workers -- we have a great bond in our office and share a lot of laughs, my students aren't pulling my hair or kicking me in the shins lately. What more could a girl want? Oh yeah, are these adorable girls or what??

PS We have been loving my new version of chili: a pound of ground turkey, browned with 1/2 an onion, chopped fine. Add a can of black beans, can of white beans, can of red beans, can of corn (all drained) and a large can of pureed or diced tomatoes. Add 2 tbls of chili powder, a tbls. of cumin, tbls. of oregano, salt, pepper and a little bit of crushed red pepper. Yum!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thoughts on life

In a way, it's strange that people even read this blog, I am not always sure why I keep it up. My Dad used to ask me to update it all the time, but now he is gone and I don't think about it much. My friend Nancy and I had some time today to sit down and talk about some books we have been reading and it all got me thinking: my life is not always easy, but I have it pretty good here in Lawrenceville, Georgia and I have very little to complain about. I truly believe in God answering my prayers in many different ways: through words coming out of friends' mouths, through songs I hear, through birds tapping on my window, etc. God has been so good to even CARE about me, taking the time and effort to remind me of who is in charge and who gives me all these wonderful things in life.

When I entered 4th grade, I went to a Catholic school for the first time in my life and my 4th grade teacher, Sister Germaine (a large woman with an enormous backside who was nicknamed Sister "German Tank") told us a lot of profound things about God and a few of them have stayed with me for life. One of the most important is this: Your life is like one grain of sand. Think about eternity in this way: place your wet hand on a sandy beach and try to imagine how many grains of sand are on your hand. Now think of all the beaches in all the world and all the deserts and all that sand. Your life is just one grain. If you can obey God for your short, little life, you will be rewarded in heaven for EVER. Even more than a desert full of sand. Trusting in Him is not always easy, having faith that His will is PERFECT in all regards is not always easy to remember, but isn't that the point? If God knows all and He truly loves us, doesn't He mean GOOD for us? When we take the blind leap, God ALWAYS rewards us 100 fold, doesn't He? Can't we remember that and thank Him daily, allowing Him to use us any way He wants in order to do His will and bring Him glory?

I've had a few moments of miraculous "coincidences" in my life (haven't we all? Let's face it) and if anyone out there doesn't believe, I will be praying for you tonight and for the rest of my life because I wish heaven for everyone. Seriously, for Kim Jong Il, Hitler and Stalin. I hope to God you three did repent and gave your life over to Him at the end.

Saint Francis of Assisi (I believe it was) was asked once during a game of pool what he would do if he knew he would die the next day and he replied "I would keep on playing pool." What the heck does this mean, you ask? Hey, if you are not ready today, chances are, you will not be ready tomorrow. I watch a lot of medical shows and I am painfully aware of how quickly life can be taken away from any one of us, tonight, tomorrow or the day after. Have you ever known anyone who has died suddenly? Of course you have. We all have. Does the thought of dying scare the crap out of you? I am curiously looking forward to the day I get to go, but I hope the four of us Fays all get wiped out together, like by one big Mack Truck or Armageddon or .... you get the point. I don't want to leave my girls without a Mom. I pray that if death scares you, maybe you should do something about it right this minute.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the most comforting thing in my life. No amount of snuggly sheets, comfy slippers, drugs or a bank account full of money could make me feel better than that.

My favorite memory in the world: I was studying for some class behind Sever Hall, looking across at the Philosophy building which has a quote on the side of the building "What is Man that Though Art Mindful of Him." It took me about 5 years of searching to find out the origin of that quote: Psalm 8. And I discovered it while reading a quote from a Rabbi no less. I went to Psalm 8 and became obsessed with this psalm because I have always felt closest to God when I am listening to good music and seeing all of God's great works in nature. So about 5 years ago (I have mentioned this story before on the blog) my friend Noreen and I were camping, looking at the stars and I mentioned Psalm 8, asking her if she had ever read it. I told her the story and later in the evening after a few beers, she asked if I wanted to read her daily reading with her and she opened the page and shook her head in disbelief. Yep, the scripture she had never in her life remembered reading was right there for us to marvel over. Thank you Lord for all these coincidences.

I am looking forward to seeing my Grandma Egan Evrard again, of hearing my Uncle Bill laugh again, of seeing my hand-holding parents again and especially, meeting Jesus face to face. Wow, I can only imagine.

Nope, I'm not obsessed with death today, just thinking some thoughts about being ready and praying all my family and friends are ready too. I hope all of you are ready, wheather I know you or not. The more, the merrier.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Grace's Surgery

Grace is doing remarkably well. She basically had a little nose job. The doctor was able to split her front, top gum away from her lip and bring her nose together, basically giving her a nose job. She did great. Other than having some bloody scabs showing, she is on Tylenol now and eating like a true Evrard. I mean Fay (who are we kidding, the Evrards would squash the Fays in a noodle-eating contest). Here is the latest photo of her new button nose. Oops, she is sitting on the potty in this picture....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In case you have not seen this movie, take the time to learn about this incredible story, about which we don't hear enough in this country. Instead, on the "news" we hear about the latest on Brad and Angelina, but not about important information like this. Unless Charlie Sheen mentions it on the Academy Awards, no one seems to care enough to read what is going on in the world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I love this video

Look how little these little peanuts were (in China, Grace still with St. Francis hair):

Friday, November 11, 2011

Being pulled all over

Frannie has strep throat, home from school today. My student of 3 years was adopted (yeah!) by a woman in Missouri and I was much sadder to see her go than I anticipated (boo!). Frannie is gearing up for her big appearance in the Nutcracker and Grace is gearing up for her appearance in the O.R. on December 21. It's a GO. I will not talk to her about it until a day or two before so she doesn't get too freaked out. We are meeting our digit friends on Sunday for our annual Christmas picture! So much fun! I love this tradition! We've gone from 4 woman with 6 kids and here we are, four years later, 4 women with 15 kids and one on the way!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Okay, this is a little questionable in taste, but.....

Grace should be having her next surgery a few days before Christmas (around the 20th, we should hear today). Not my idea of a good Christmas gift to her, but in the end, she will be glad we did it. She is going to have the skin clipped under her top lip because it is attached to the gum (like being tongue-tied only Grace is lip-tied) and she is having some cosmetic work done on her lip and nose. Poor little bugger.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My little tiny girl

Happy Birthday to my biggest fan, Frannie. She always says the nicest things to me, how good I look, even when I don't feel quite so lovely. She loves to sign "I love you" to me, like it's a special code just between us. She truly wants to be right beside me at all times of the day and night (oooh boy) and even when I have to run 43 errands on Saturday, she would rather do that with her Mamma then stay at home watching tv. I am thinking about and praying very hard for her Mom and Dad in China, hoping that somehow they know she is okay and maybe, just maybe, we can go there one day and let them know who she is and how gorgeous, funny and smart she has become. Look how tiny she was!!!! She had not yet turned two in this picture.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big, big news

I know, it's the moment everyone has been waiting for, Frannie lost her front tooth. What a life-altering moment. Ha ha

I wasn't feeling so good yesterday and with Kevin out of town, my friend Nancy came and got the girls for me and kept them for the entire day! You rock Nancy! Today happens to be her birthday too. You rock birthday girl! They had a blast at a farm, as shown above.

Thank you Lisa for your friendship and patience with me yesterday, you know me so well :) Love you my friend :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bathroom Done

I need to get some pictures together from our weekend (not done yet) but we had such a good time at our school yard sale (the girls ran around playing for 6 solid hours and my buddy Kim and I sold hot dogs) and next we got to go over to Donna's house for an adoption potluck. Such a blessing to have such good friends and great weather! The girls jumped on the trampoline until it got dark. We met a woman who has two little cuties from China who is facing similar palate difficulties as Grace. We are having ANOTHER consult with the doctors on November 4 and Grace will probably be undergoing a surgery at Christmas-time. More later on what part of the anatomy and when...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home Improvement/Adoption Blog

Lots of home improvement going on lately: I went out and bought a claw-foot tub for a future master bath renovation and this weekend I worked a lot on our half bath floor. Not completely done, but the trim and the paint should be done this week. Here are some before and during shots.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The surgery saga

Grace is facing 4 separate issues in her mouth and face: shown here, she has a HOLE behind her two front teeth -- not a true fistula in the sense of a palate re-opening, but a new hole formed due in part, (my professional opinion yuck yuck) to her palate being pushed apart too abruptly after last year's surgeries. The plastic surgeon, Dr. Williams at Scottish Rite, is also proposing to do another corrective procedure on her palate, a frenotomy (frenectomy? frenotomy?) (separating her front lip from the gums because hers is completely attached thereby disabling her from puckering her top lip at all) and doing some cosmetic work on her lip. The scariest part of this to me (other than her risking life and limb) is the repair to her hole: Dr. Williams wants to cut a flap in her tongue, sew it to the hole above, wire her teeth together for 3 weeks and, in a follow-up procedure, snipping the two apart. I was nervous about the possibility of the palate rejecting the tongue flap/graph and/or deforming her tongue and screwing up her speech even more.

After asking for everyone to pray and receiving a 2nd opinion from another oral plastic surgeon, we are all feeling a lot more confident in the procedures and our faith in Dr. Williams is renewed. Sorry dude, I love ya, but I need to know God wants this surgery too.

I will post the date of impending surgery once we have any specifics. All the prayers are keeping her brave and funny as always. My favorite Grace story of the last few weeks: we were standing in the bathroom and I was brushing Frannie's hair. I got a whiff of gas and asked "Whose got the toots around here?" Gracie immediately pointed to her head and said "I got toots. I got ear toots." She means ear tubes. She's just so deadpan, it's hysterical.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I don't like BUSY

We do have lots going on. Grace is going to have to endure more surgery. Details are sketchy because although I love her doctor (her plastic surgeon), I have some concerns about his plan for repairing the hole in Grace's mouth (see attractive photo shown here). Donna gave me the idea to apply to Shriner's who will evaluate and treat for free. Grace also needs to have her p-flap evaluated to make sure it's working, which is possibly the cause of her continued speech problems (she sounds so nasal still). Kevin started SEC football work which takes him away for 2 or 3 days every week, not so fun. Well, it may be "fun" for him, but his family misses him. Today I have to take a Saturday class at school for the WHOLE stinkin day. The consignment sale has not been too successful despite working 4 thousand hours preparing for it. So far in the sale I've made $54. The sale is over today and I will know by 3:00 how much I've made. The girls both started ballet classes and I'm supposed to be tiling the half bath tomorrow. Right now it's lumpy concrete and aluminum mesh poking up in spots. By the way, I do love my kids and wouldn't trade them or my dear dogs for the world. Kevin also is a keeper.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thanks be to GOD

We had the best week with so many obvious blessings -- my Dad's house went on the market on Friday and there was an offer by Monday and a contract by Wednesday -- Grace's birthday was so joyous and truly fun for me. Frannie in particular impressed me with her mature selflessness during her birthday weekend -- celebrating with her rather than express jealousy. We had a great time celebrating our friend Danielle's 5th birthday today too -- I pray that both Grace and Danielle's Moms receive some peace on this day, somehow knowing that their girls are loved and happy. Thanks everyone for the fun times and gifts!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Frannie's First Day of School and Kevin's B-Day

We had a more relaxing few days (getting prepped for school stressed me OUT) and putting Frannie on the bus made me only slightly weepy. She got all gold stars for the week! Meanwhile, Grace and I surprised Kevin at the Braves game with a cupcake and lots of hugs.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What a Great Summer

Too much to say, but not enough time. Due to an aching back these days, I've spent very little time online. Back to school after a GREAT trip up the east coast to visit our beloved family and friends. What a rare treat it is to see about 40 people that you truly love within a few weeks of each other -- like attending a happy wedding only EVERYONE is invited and it lasts 3 weeks! My Weight Watchers Leader would probably not approve of all the beer I drank over the course of this 3 week sojourn, but that's her problem and she's just jealous.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And the Mystery Photo Reveals....

Yep, Grace got a haircut. In case you didn't notice. Not professional.

Frannie and Grace don't know it yet, but we are going camping this weekend up on Lake Lanier. My friend Shelley and her daughter Sophia (above) are joining us! Frannie was just obsessed about camping a month ago when I mentioned camping this summer and she is just going to SQUEAL when she hears the news. Don't tell her until Friday! She will drive me nuts if you do! Susan M, for the first time in my life I'm bringing a blow-up mattress to camp! Am I a whimp or what?! My back aches and I'm getting old, get off my back (ha ha). Ah, peeing outside and drinking beer around a campfire, nothing like it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Before and After

Okay, so I'm feeling a lot better about life in general. Kids tend to snap you out of it, right? I thought I would show you some before and after photos of Grace. Notice something different?

We are going on a trip to visit some friends and I am not exactly looking forward to the MILES, but visiting all our buddies will be worth every second of the gas money spent and the aching back from driving in the car. The girls are so good about long trips, that part doesn't bother me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sometimes I just want to curl up in bed

How is it possible that losing my Dad seemed so much worse than losing my Mom? Is it just that it's so final to have no more parents left? Was it more emotional because it was a military funeral? Did I somehow love my Dad more (or differently) than my Mom? Was it because my Dad seemed so much more "with it" than my poor mentally unstable mom and it was actually a relief to see her go? Am I destined to kill someone off every time I go on a cruise?

Note to my family and to anyone attending the funeral: when you saw the little box of ashes at the funeral, did you picture six guys hoisting that little, two-pound box on their shoulders or was it just me?

Thanks goes out to my friends who all came forward and took care of the girls (Laura and Kerri especially) surrounding all this. I actually left church a tad early yesterday, wanting to cry on Father's Day. I'm so happy for my Dad and for his reunion with his family, especially my Mom, but Father's Day this year was just yucky and despite celebrating my daughter's wonderful Father with them, I wanted to just curl up in bed all day. Kevin is a great, great Dad and an even better husband to me -- he drove almost 400 miles to attend the funeral with me -- a surprise because he needs to work and turned around and drove 400 miles home, alone to get up and go to work early. God bless you my dear.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yeah, What She Said

I was JUST mentally composing this exact article and Tara beat me to the punch (just kidding, she is WAY too articulate and educated to be compared to little ole me....)
See page 32 for her article on our President B. Hussein and the role he is playing in the start of all hell breaking loose in our back there <--

To digress (a lot) and to zoom into our own tiny corner of the universe, I am getting prepared for Friday's departure and my own separation from my two little ones. Didn't think it would be so hard, but ... PARTY!!! Really, I am not looking forward to seeing their reaction when I tell them and they realize I will be gone six whole days, whoa. Pray for my little ones and for Kevin to have fun with them. Hide the scissors, Kevin, I found a chunk of hair in the trash and Frannie's princess dress has undergone some experimentation with "little girl scissors" as she put it. Egad.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Me and the Pops

I love my Dad, really, but we are an awful lot alike - not always a good thing. He is pretty sick and I want him to be happy, but I would also like to see him live another month or 20. Not sure if that will happen, so please pray for him.