28 March 2009

28 March 2009

today is the one year anniversary of the day we came HOME with stella. i can't even describe how good it felt to be HOME with her. once we landed on US soil and made it through immigration, we were so relieved. then, when we flew into KC, we were met by our 2 closest non-family family members :) aunt jilli and uncle jason picked us up at the airport. it was so odd to have other people see us as a family and see HER. everything seemed so surreal until we got HOME. i think i was terrified someone would take her away from me. we have been loving on her a little more this week and squeezing her a little tighter. we can't believe it's been a year :)

today we had her second birthday party. she doesn't officially turn 2 until wednesday, but today seemed like a good day for a par-tay. we had lots of good friends and family there. stella LOVED being the center of attention and played her part well :) i made these funny hats for everyone to wear and we had lots of food - and cupcakes of course!

opening a present from Aunt Cathy before the party.

playing with my new bowling set from nonna and poppa d.

daddy and his girl.

dancing with marti.

i LOVE the way she is looking at marti!

happy happy girl!

my favorite manly shot of the evening.

quite possibly my new favorite picture :)

dancing with marti again.

bowing with marti. she had a whole choreographed dance she was doing with stella all night!

blowing out my TWO candles.

eating my YUMMY YUMMY cupcake from little bird bake shop. aunt meagan owns it and make the BEST. CUPCAKES. EVER.

fingerpainting fun!!!

giving reese kisses night night.

playing ball at the end of the night.
uncle jason teaching stella to use her finger puppets he and aunt meagan got her.

she loves them :)

we love all of you for coming to the party! stella had SO much fun!

24 March 2009

our very first GOTCHA DAY!

i can't believe one year ago today we held stella for the very first time. i can't believe it's been a year, yet i can't believe she hasn't always been with us. she is the very best thing that has ever happened to me. the very best thing that has ever happened to us. i think i could cry at the drop of a hat at any given moment this entire week. i can't imagine my life without her and would never go back. i wouldn't change one. single. thing. all the heartache, all the pain, all the agony. all of it brought me to her and she is everything. nothing i could type could ever capture my exact feelings about this day. we are so grateful to be stella's parents. things are exactly as they should be. i'll just leave it at that and get to the good stuff . . .

mommy and daddy both took the day off to spend as a family. we started our day with a lazy morning in bed. all 3 of us watching cartoons in and out of a sleepy daze. smiling and knowing what today was. we had breakfast at home and got ready for stella's first trip to the zoo! it was really chilly this morning and our trip was cut very short because it poured down rain! i didn't get many pictures at the zoo because we were running around so that she could see as many animals as possible before the bottom fell out!

this is stella's first view of the "monkmees" as she calls them :)

she LOVES those monkmees!

stella and daddy watching a peacock! i wish i would've gotten a picture of her face when she stood right next to one. hilarious. she froze and just stood there with her forehead all wrinkled up and her mouth wide open!!! too funny :)

after the zoo we had lunch, then stella and daddy took a cozy nap together :) it was a perfect thunder-stormy afternoon for a nap!

after naptime, stella had art-time. she LOVES to color :) and of COURSE she needed to wear her tutu for that!

concentrating VERY hard!

this was our VERY FIRST family photo - taken in guatemala on 3/24/08.

we decided we needed a ceremonial photo to commemorate today - 3/24/09.

23 March 2009


one year ago today, we were on a plane at this very moment. on a plane to guatemala. one year ago today, we knew we would meet our daughter the following day. i can't even describe my feelings. i have been very emotional the last week or so. our lives have changed COMPLETELY in the last year. stella is our whole world. on one hand, we can't believe it has already been a year. on the other hand, we feel like she's always been with us!

things haven't always been easy in the last year. we've been through alot. i have chosen not to talk about alot of it because it's what i do. but i think it's time. stella's adjustment to her life here with us was amazingly easy. michael's adjustment to fatherhood was seamless. he is SUCH an amazing father. my adjustment to motherhood, however, is another story. i honestly had moments when i thought there wasn't a motherly bone in my body. i had read many, many stories on other blogs about mothers who had that "instant" connection with their children. i didn't expect that for myself, but i also didn't expect things to develop as slowly over time as they have. don't get me wrong. of COURSE i loved stella the instant i saw her. i just didn't feel like a mother. she always preferred michael over me and it was difficult for me. i spent tons of time crying wondering what was wrong with me. i was frustrated and sad.

well that was the beginning. things are totally different now :) very slowly, i turned into her mother. apparently, i AM motherly :) i DO have patience. i DO know how to handle her tantrums. i DO know how to make her happy. i DO know what she is saying when NOONE else does. i DO love her more than life itself. it just happened. i woke up one day and realized that i am stella's mom. she is my daughter. and this is exactly how things are supposed to be. we have SO much fun together. i am still a goer and doer. i have to constantly remind myself to SLOW DOWN and enjoy every second with her. we are going to wake up one day and she will be 13 and completely embarrassed by us :) so for now, i am loving having an almost 2 year old :)

i do wonder how being an adoptive mother is different from a birth mother. i wonder if i had given birth to stella if i would have felt totally differently. would i have still had a hard time in this transition to being a mother? this is one thing i will never know. it doesn't make me sad anymore. i know that i am stella's mother and that God made her just for us. i KNOW THAT inside and out. but it still makes me wonder. as every, single friend - one by one - gets pregnant and has their children, it actually makes me feel even more isolated from that world. it's a world that i will never know. it seems like a parallel universe for about the first 9 months and then seems to collide back as one. do i isolate myself, or is it just that all new moms need a transition period? i'm thinking it might be a little of both. for now, i'm just going to separate myself, both to respect "the transition" and to protect my heart a little. there are still some tender spots in there that i choose to ignore most of the time. it's easier to ignore if i protect them.

22 March 2009


this is us washing our hands afterwards :) she was SO proud of herself! she kept telling daddy "potty" over and over, so he put her on her potty and she WENT!!! she's been constantly asking to sit on it, but usually she doesn't actually do anything. this was the first time! i'm not expecting anything miraculous, i'm sure this was a fluke . . . PLUS i'm not ready for her to grow up so fast!!! but it was a BIG day at our house!