True Love: The feeling when you first look in your child's eyes, the tiny little hand gripping your finger, and you can't imagine your life without him or her.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011 {Sunday Snapshot}

I've been trying to come up with a good way to wrap up our year, in blog-form. After checking other people's blogs, I finally decided to steal combine a few of their ideas. I want to go back through & remember some highlights from each month, seeing as next month marks 1 year since I began blogging. P
***WARNING: This is a LONG post!!***

So, we'll start at the beginning. The beginning of 2011. The beginning of our family blog.

January 2011
January brought more snow for us. We were trying to figure out where all the new Christmas toys would go (& thinking about the chaos that would come next Christmas with double the toys!). I was getting ready to start another semester at school- my last before we would leave for China. I had to keep my grades high (which wasn't easy), as it was fierce competition to get into the major I wanted.

 I'm rarely seen in any pictures, so I really like this one. Yeah- it's a cell phone pic, but oh well. 
(Matt isn't the best at taking pictures, so I don't let him use the camera much)

Xandra & I helped daddy by trying to clear the snow off the driveway & sidewalk. We didn't do a wonderful job, but we had fun!! We were about 14 months into our adoption journey at this point- working on tons of paperwork. 

February 2011
February brought us more snow, of course. And snow days. We celebrated our 1st Chinese New Year with our FCC. I spent most of that evening day-dreaming about what it would be like when we would celebrate with our son. We were approved by the NVC to get Milo's visa, which was the final step before China would send us Travel Approval. And we decided to sponsor a little girl through Love Without Boundaries

March 2011
March brought a major natural disaster- Japan's massive earthquake & subsequent tsunami. It was devastating & truly brought home just how small the world is- that everything has an impact. Back home, we began to see the sun again, and spend a little time outside. I got lasik surgery, so I would be able to see our son during those inevitable middle-of-the-night wake-ups. The biggest news for our family was getting our TA!! We got our immunizations in preparation for our big trip. 

Another cell phone pic- but I really love it. Sun through the blinds. Pretty. :)

April 2011
April brought my first (& probably last) photography "job." I helped our friends capture their wedding day. We purchased our plane tickets, and continued the countdown until we finally met our Milo. I tried to help a fellow-blogging-mama with donations to bring her 2 girls home. We got an incredible gift in an update on Milo & more recent pictures!! Xandra celebrated her birthday (very early) with her first friend party before we left for China. And I finally finished up the winter semester at school! Now I could concentrate only on our trip!

 I was on my way to school when I got these pictures & update. I heard the ding on my phone of a new email & waited until I was at a stop light to check. I opened the email to find those beautiful eyes staring back at me. About that time, the light changed & I had to drive. I nearly drove into the curb - thankfully, I had enough sense to put the phone down at that point so I didn't injure anyone - I was so excited!! As soon as I parked the car, I just sat staring at him (I did somehow remember to forward the email to Matt) & was late to class. ;)

May 2011
Amidst all of our preparations for the BIG trip, I decided to address some of the questions adoptive parents are asked. We have thankfully not dealt with many judgements (at least none to our face), but I wanted to put it out there for people who may be too shy or embarrassed to ask. Of course, May brought our son to us. I had trouble with the internet in China, so not many pictures got posted during our trip. We overcame our less-than-adequate guide in Shanghai, and managed to have a fairly smooth, though a little disappointing trip (we didn't get to see hardly anything in China- no tours, no sight-seeing). 

I was able to play catch-up once we got home, so everyone could see our pictures. We had the normal jet-lag sleeping problems to overcome. We also found out that Milo is very stubborn. Case in point, he held out waited almost 20 days from the day we met him to reveal that he knew how to walk! What a stinker!! And we began enjoying each other as a family. On a side note, I found out in May that I had been accepted into the Sonography program at school!! Yea!! :)
M Pool 5-30-11

MX Pool 5-30-11

June 2011
I'm so happy we were able to bring Milo home when the weather started getting nice. We spent a lot of time outside, burning off energy & exploring new things. We celebrated noted the 4-week-versary of meeting Milo. We celebrated Father's Day. I finished up Milo's Gotcha {Forever Family} video. And we continued to deal with a bit of jet lag.
Oh this boy!! Love him so much!!

Could this outfit be any cuter?? HA!! 

July 2011
We continued to play outside & enjoyed our baby pool & water toys a lot. We found out Milo has pretty much no fear, so I've had to go on blood pressure medication (not really, but it feels like I should sometimes!). We introduced Milo to one of our family's favorite "traditions"- eating a TON of seafood (aka Matt's crab boil)- YUMMM!! We took Milo to his Int'l Adoption Clinic appointment, where he was assessed slightly behind his age group, but overall very healthy & improving daily! And we celebrated Milo's 2nd (but 1st with us) birthday!! 

August 2011
In August, Milo started daycare with Xandra. We thought the transition might be a little smoother if he could see Xandra there. I was saddened to learn one of the little girls my blogger-friend was trying to being home had passed away. Milo made us giggle with his sense of humor. And Xandra started Kindergarten. {sigh} She's getting too big for my tastes.

One of my all-time favorite photos of Xandra. :)

September 2011
I felt adventurous, and decided to set up some finger-painting for the kids. And coloring became a favorite activity. We continued to experience various illnesses. Ugh. I took Lisa's photography class, and began practicing my new skills

Could they be any cuter??
They're finally figuring out how to play together & love each other.

October 2011
We enjoyed the cooler weather of fall, and went outside as much as we could (I've found that 2 kids stuck inside the house all day leads to lots of fighting & yelling- get 'em outside to burn off that energy!!). I had big plans for my fall break from school. And we went to our city's annual Fall Fest. It was an important couple days for Matt, who was in full campaigning mode (running for our city council). We all managed to get sick at the same time, which is never fun. Milo started learning & using words - so exciting!! And of course, we celebrated Milo's 1st Halloween.

November 2011
We are reminded over & over just how determined our Milo is- he just doesn't stop until he's figured things out! We began a bit of a downward spiral when Milo decided that sleep was overrated, and he didn't need any. We also had another bad experience with our social worker, and felt for the first time that we were being judged as "bad" parents. It left a very bad taste in our mouths, so to speak. Milo also (maybe due to lack of sleep) experienced a very bad day (grieving?). We're still learning about each other, so we try to take each day as it comes. And, we got out all the Christmas stuff to start decorating!!

Love, love, love our little big man! There's nothing he can't do!!

December 2011
December continued for a while with our Milo-induced-sleep-deprivation. It lasted about a month, all told. It was a very difficult time, because lack of sleep will do some crazy things to you. There was more fighting, yelling, tantrums, and all-around unhappiness than I would like to admit. And most of it was from the adults. Not a good time. And I had one of those "wish I had never gotten out of bed this morning" kind of days, where everything went wrong. Milo had his first Christmas program with his daycare & we attended our FCC's Christmas party. After the initial November vote, an official count of all of the provisional & absentee ballots, and a recount of all precincts, Matt was finally officially sworn into our city council (with a win by only 3 votes!). I took Milo & Xandra to paint some pottery. We enjoyed some unusually "warm" weather on Christmas Eve. We celebrated Milo's 1st Christmas!! In the midst of all the holiday celebrations, Matt & Xandra decided to come down with the flu. :(

What a year!! Overall, I think we've had an awesome year! It was life-changing. Of course, we've had our ups & downs (who doesn't?). I'm so grateful for all our family is & has been blessed with. I'm also grateful to have this record (both written & through pictures). So, even if I don't have much of an audience after this hugely LONG post, I'll enjoy it!!

Next year's goals:
> Work on & FINISH Milo's life book
> Rework Milo's Forever Family Video (I'm kind of a perfectionist like that)
> Try to calm down... (2 kiddos has shown me just how "high-strung" I can be)
> Along the lines of calming down, I want to work on not raising my voice as much as I have this year (I don't like the guilty feelings I have after I finally calm down... & it's not fair to Matt or the kids to let myself get that worked up)
> Oh yes... & work a little harder on my diet :)


Sunday Snapshot


  1. What a wonderful synopsis...yeah, I read it all! :) Blessings and joy in this new year!

  2. A great year in photos and words. A great way to remember such an eventful year! Beautiful kiddos!


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