Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Monday, November 23, 2009

Claire's Day

Friday was Claire's Day!
Her 4th Birthday.

As is our tradition, we took her breakfast in bed. But, since she knew we were coming, she was ready and waiting....and laughing!
She was soooooo excited!

Can you tell?

She had been counting down on the calendar all month!

Service with a smile! I do make the other kids serve the birthday child. I think it's a good way to learn to but others first.

Later in the day, I finished the colonial/pioneer dresses that I'd been working on and we had a little photo shoot.

They came out darn cute, if I do say so myself!

One week, start to finish

Super darlin'.... I might be a little biased.

Does it get any cuter????

The girls wore them all day Saturday because we had early Thanksgiving with Lizzie before she left for a mountain trip with her other family. Unfortunately, the gathering that these dresses were made for was totally rained out on Sunday. But, they wore them to church....if you can imagine all the attention they got for that! I assure you, they were the only children dressed in bonnets, long dresses and aprons.......among about 600 people in attendance!

Anyway, back to Friday.
After our photo shoot, we had Claire's birthday dinner party. Just family this year. If you remember, last year she had the party that never ended. Three parties actually! One for my family, one for Paul's family and one for just us at home. By the time we got to Christmas the child thought Christmas was just another birthday party for her!
So, we decided to tone it down this year!

She didn't notice. She was too excited!
Can you tell?

She really enjoyed her cake!

Can you tell?

Really enjoyed it!


She was so excited!

Can you tell?

And apparently, we have an aspiring doctor on our hands!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Story Didn't End.

When I started this blog almost two years ago, it was simply so family and friends could keep up with our adoption story. International adoption is a whirlwind and while we were caught up in the vortex of that experience, we didn't have time to update everyone that was asking for updates.

When we got back from China we thought our story was coming to a close. Boy were we wrong!

I am just starting to grasp the fact that this adoption story is endless. All adoption stories are endless.

If you read this blog even just once in a while, you know that Claire is doing splendidly. She really is! I can honestly say that I never expected her to bond so well, so fast. I had no idea that it would be like she had always been here with us. I'd heard the stories of so many families that said it really was like their child had been handpicked just for them. Seeing is believing.

But even so, I get reminders all the time that she is still processing everything in her own way and on her own time table. I didn't think, that after 18 months, we would still be talking about bonding.

I've come to realize that bonding isn't one step in the process. It isn't a hurdle you get over. It doesn't happen, it develops. Bonding is the process.

When we were handed our angel in China, she looked around at us seemingly in shock. She did not cry. I wanted her to cry. Crying is healthy in this situation. She rode back to the hotel with us in curious quietness. She did not cry. I wanted her to cry. She sat on the bed surrounded by new toys while we worked out some details with our guide and planned our next meal. She did not cry. I wanted her to cry. She ate in silence, everything I put in her mouth, and again looked at us with curious eyes. She did not cry. But, as the afternoon wore on, it apparently occurred to our babe that she was in unfamiliar territory, with strange people, and she was tired. It was at this point that Claire finally cried. She cried and would not let us hold her. She would not let us even wipe her nose. But, it was good. Because she cried.

And for the next few days, her behavior was textbook. She was grieving. She was grieving the loss of everything she knew and in her grief she attached to her Daddy and rejected me. She allowed him to hold her, feed her, play with her. She pushed me away if I even came near, and shook her head no to me if I looked at her when Paul wasn't in the room. Others have said that these little ones can't bare the betrayal of their foster mothers abandoning them, which is exactly what it was like for her. She'd been left with these strangers and she had no understanding of what adoption meant. She kept looking for her other mama to come get her. And, so they will not have anything to do with their new Mamas. For other children they bond with the Mama and reject the Daddy because they may never have seen a male before.

Our girl was all about her Daddy. The entire time we were in China. But, those 12 days in China were all about bonding. Even if she would have very little to do with me. She learned to depend on us for food, shelter, laughs, love and help. She was building trust.

Once home, her personality blossomed. She looked for us and smiled at us and laughed with us. She preferred us to others. She didn't give hugs and resisted kisses, but she allowed us to hold and hug her. And over time she began to hug us and then allowed kisses and then kissed us and then.....

Then one day this summer she spontaneously hugged me and said, "I love you, Mommy" and I realized that this was a first. She'd never done that before but until she did it, I couldn't appreciate how much it would mean. She did this on her own. When she was ready. It couldn't be rushed. And it took over a year! Love and trust had to accumulate before it could occur on it's own.

And even now, as I sit here and think, I can come up with several things that about Claire that probably have more to do with attachment issues than just her personality. For example, if you look her directly in the eyes, while holding her and speak about how much you love her, she will often just dissolve into tears. It's like she can't handle that kind of blatant raw love yet.

That's okay. I'm still going to do it and one day...maybe one day she will look in my eyes and speak of how she loves me. Until then, we will continue to grow and bond together on this trek that doesn't end.

And, along with bonding comes the fragile atmosphere of adoption that involves their past. Because really, her life did not start with us, you know. And our reaction to her pre-adoption life will apparently speak volumes to her one day. According to all the experts (other adoptive families).

Why do you think I read other adoption blogs? Because I need confirmation that I'm not messing up, people.

Blessing or curse, Claire doesn't seem to remember anything to do with her life in China. She was 2 1/2 when she came home. She is extremely verbal now. Yet, she can relay nothing of her life before us. I feel strongly that it has something to do with the fact that her little body was so filled with toxins from some medical issues that have since been resolved.

I am waiting for the day that she makes comments I don't recognize about things I don't know about. Like her foster family. Which she seems to have no recollection of. At all.

I hope I have the right reaction when she finally starts disclosing.

And I hope and pray that I will have some answers to give her when she asks questions. It is the primary reason I follow the blogs of some many other adoptive families. I'm looking for answers too.

But as I've said, she doesn't talk about it.....even though I do. Just so she won't think she can't. I talk about China. I talk about her foster mama and baba. I talk about food she ate and things I know she did. Thankfully, a few things were recorded in a diary that I was given in China. Because I know she is going to want to know something at some point.

And this is what I'm thinking about on the eve of Claire's 4th birthday. In 18 months our girl has gone from shocked....

To happy and confident.

A girl that loves her Mama and

definitely her Daddy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I'll let this video of Isabel's sign language class speak for me today.

They say it all anyway!

Monday, November 16, 2009

On The Homefront

So, I was sitting in my rocking chair in front of the fire, darning socks of course drinking my breakfast tea and lounging in my PJ's when my dear daughter reminded me that I need to make her a dress for the Thanksgiving Gathering next weekend. Next weekend, people! Are you sure it's not still August?

There are several things to note at this point, besides my inability to keep up with a calendar:
  1. I have never sewn a dress all by myself....let alone one that isn't stamped EASY in clear bold letters across the top!
  2. For some reason, which is no longer apparent to me, I actually told her I would undertake this task last week!
  3. My mother, who made a wedding dress without a pattern, lives three hours away and she totally forgot to pass down the sewing gene!

What was I thinking, y'all???? Words like grainline and casings and nap are confusing to me! Well, I know what a nap is....but, I don't think taking a nap right now is really going to make this a cinch, you know! How exactly do you baste a dress???? A turkey, I can baste. A dress?

There is one thing my mother did equip me with, my sewing machine. I had to dig it out of the attic and drag it down to the kitchen. As I looked at the pattern I had allowed my daughter to select, I silently kicked myself for not searching out an EASY pattern! Again, what was I thinking????

I scratched my head and took a look at the stuff inside the package. Maybe there were some EASY short cut type instructions in there! Nope. There aren't even helpful hints in there! They write this stuff like you already know what you are doing!

I guess that's because no beginner would have attempted this frock? Great! I called Mom. No, I don't have time to Fed-Ex the pattern and stuff to her and get it back in time. I'll just have to do it myself! But, Mama! There is always this dress at Vision Forum. But I refuse to spend another dime now that I've already spent that same amount on fabric and pattern and eyelet and notions....whatever those are!

So, fine! How hard could this be? Didn't pioneer mamas make dresses for their girls all the time? By hand? Why then, can't I? One step at a time. Another call to Mom. Sleeves. SLEEVES are the bane of my existence! Who figured out how to make those work? First I tried to pin them in upside down. Couldn't figure out why nothing was matching up! This is so not as easy as it looks on T.V.

Hours into the project.... there is not a straight stitch in sight! But, I dare you to say anything about it. Carolyn Ingalls, I am not!

And after the better part of a day............

I ended up with this!

Go ahead, laugh! I did too! Laughed so hard I almost wet myself! And, if you are laughing, you don't know any more about sewing than I do. Because, that looks exactly like it's supposed to! Thankyouverymuch!

Until you insert the elastic. HA!

And, then it looks like this!

Little hands (Isabel) help with hems.
I think I've got a handle on this now! Maybe.

Couldn't I be done yet? No, we needed to add some eyelet. You know, for that feminine touch. Plus, it was paid for, folks. So, I was going to use it!
Because, what is prancing around in your colonial day finery without a little lacy accompaniment? Really?

So, how did I do, MOM?

Need I say, Isabel is thrilled with it! She won't take it off! And that fact, made it all worth it.
Now I have to go make the apron and bonnet.
Help me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


November 13, 1996
A dream come true

Parker Norman Gour is born at 5:33pm
He weighs 6 lbs 1 oz
perfect and healthy

Paul Noah Gour is born at 5:48pm
He weighs 5lbs 9oz
perfect and healthy











It seems like they were born just yesterday, and then,


It's their 13th birthday and my babies are young men!

Okay, maybe it's possible it didn't happen that fast. It sure didn't seem to go by fast when we were changing double diapers and giving double bottles....and listening to double screams until 2:00 in the morning. When we would just put them in the car and drive around until they fell asleep! But, everyday it seems to go by faster and faster.

I can't seem to slow it down.

So, we enjoy every minute that we have.
It's hard to believe that they could actually be leaving our house in 5-7 years!

This is what 13 year olds look like. Get a good look Significant Source. This will happen to you too! And, I am aware that they look suspiciously like 12 year old boys....but, no! They are definitely not 12. They are 13. There is a huge difference.

Pray for me y'all!

Because if Noah shows me his armpit hair (the ONE he's got) one more time......

No, pray for their father. You see, he has taken the boys on a guys only weekend. A coming of age trip, so to speak. To ummmm......have some man time. In the wilderness. To do manly things. And have manly talks....about stuff. Manly stuff. If you catch my drift......

And y'all, we are such homeskoolers
that we bought a curriculum* for this.

Complete with projects!

Our kids are so gonna get us back one day!
*Passport 2 Purity

The Triplet

In all my memory lane skipping this week, I found I forgot something.
Imagine that!

I was browsing through pictures and it totally occurred to me.
THE TRIPLET TURNED 13 a week ago!

She was supposed to have a 6 week lead on the twins, but you know how competitive they are. They weren't about to let her have that. I'm quite certain they were struggling against the drug induced bed rest I was on to try and beat her to the finish line. But, Megan won....the birthday race away. Okay, she's pretty darn fast and beats them at leg races and swimming races too. But, the boys would rather not discuss that at the moment....or the fact that she is noticeably taller than them now. So we won't. Discuss those facts. At. All. Nope.

And so now she is 13.


My virtual triplets are growing up.

But, I still have all these cute pictures!

Poor kid spent her summers sandwiched between these two yucky boys! The older girls wanted nothing to do with her and she was almost 5 before Isabel was even born. But, she was trooper. She just learned to do whatever the boys were doing and determined to do it better. And boy did....oh yeah, we aren't discussing that today. Are we?

Every year we celebrated their birthday together.
Then one day Megan woke up and realized that arrangement was not normal.
She put an end it too!

But, she'll always be The Triplet anyway!

Happy Birthday Triplet.....I mean Megan!
Love you!