Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2015 Review (Part 2) - Christmas!

Bore you with all the details of Christmas?... I'll spare you. But seeing the holidays through the eyes of our newest daughter was amazing. She is such a blessing to my heart. God gave this gift to us. Seeing her gifted personality emerge these past 9 months has been a breath of fresh air to this often tired weary mom. Adopting kids from hard places (I'm pretty sure most adoptions start at a hard difficult place) can often be overwhelming. But lately there are more triumphs than trials...
Praise God!
We had a wonderful Christmas... a first for Lizzy! And as for my sometimes lame December birthday, my hubby and all the kids got me this guitar! It's a Little Martin and I love it <3 Perfect size for me. I stopped playing years ago after I injured my neck. It was too painful to hold my arms out from my body to play. It pulled at the muscles in my neck and cause painful episodes that lasted for days. Then the arthritis began in my neck.  I became discouraged and stopped playing (and singing) for several years. But maybe I will play once again since I can hold my arms closer to my body and play with my new toy.  My desire to sing and write for Jesus burns within me once again! Thank you beloved family!!!

Happy Birthday to me!

Finding a Christmas tree tradition! They are happy, really

Lizzy's first really cold day... ever! She told me "Mom, I think it's winter" haha!

Breakfast and visiting with Santa! The youngins' and grands

Santa gives some pretty awesome gifts!

Lizzy is ready for her first Winter Concert at School

Lighting the Candles

Making homemade decorations Lizzy and Micah

Goofy kids! My tree decorators!

Micah is really into his work!

So precious!

Mom reaching the high spots

Take note the shirt is off! Good thing too! That paint ain't washable

The branches on the tree were so flimsy, Daddy needed to help

Evan's art

All the boys got into the act of making decorations

We set up a little "shop" in the diningroom so the kids could shop and buy each other a Christmas gift. They all had $20 in Monopoly money they could spend. (They actually had real money they bought the MM dollar for dollar.  For their shopping they used fake because fun gets chaotic here and money gets lost) . All gifts were $3 or under, except for a few things. What they didn't buy for each other, I donated to our hematology department's "Treasure Box" - a gift box for the kids to pick a prize after they get their IV's. They had fun doing it! Daddy and Arielle were the store keepers. After they purchased the gifts we wrapped them.

Levi is hanging a little stocking made for his mom (Amy) about 32 years ago! 

On Christmas Eve it was so warm. We went out Christmas light hunting. Roasting in the HOT PJs

My four youngest babies

Santa Came!

Christmas morning stockings are opened while mom and dad wake up, and than family devotion time...

Then the kids all cut the ribbons to enter Christmas!

It all looks jolly and fun and for the most part it was...

But every year someone melts down... oh well... no pictures of that, just happy faces :) 

My oldest baby girl Amy with Daddy... she is having her third baby in May!!! Yay!

My third oldest Bradley and daughter in law Melissa. And new baby Aaron! Oh my heart. 

My grandbaby Micah with Melissa's sister. Janine. she joined us for breakfast on Christmas morning(as well as her mom and dad- but I didn't get a decent photo of them together!).

The children lol love this bunch of hoodlums! 

Evan performed a little concert for us

Pop-pop gushing

Grandmom and Pop-pop Jim

My second oldest daughter Lauren, and significant other Mike... showing off their lovely gifts lol

Arielle, Amy, and my son in law David got into the sillies too. 
Love these two!!!

My best friend <3

Arielle with her babies! Sophie and Maxine

A few days after Christmas... Brad with his sisters and Mom <3

This was probably one of the most low key Christmases we've had in a long time. There's been adjusting and rearranging of family position in the Fithian pack this past year. Apparently being the youngest is an important place. Change can be difficult for some of us. But now we are well into a new (unknown) adventure and changes of 2016! Hoping to post soon about some new plans, changes, and goals. God bless you!

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 review! Part I

(all my photos were somehow deleted from my computer for the first half of 2015, these spring photos are from my phone... Thank you Jesus that I have them!)
2015 was a year to remember for the blessings it brought to my personal life. Our family grew, our children grew, and I grew. But along with the "wonderful" came "growing pains" in our home. It's not easy to bring a new child into the home. Especially one who comes from a "hard place", and introduced to siblings who also began life in a hard place.  We did not have a welcome home party for this reason. Staying low key initially is the best way to mesh together as a family to find our new "normal".  I'm glad we did, it was a fruitful time for our family. I have found first hand that this solidifies who the family is and validates each members place. All food and initial source of comfort should come only from Mom and Dad. Many families cocoon for several months. Personally, I think I would go nuts doing that completely, but we "cocoon" in our own way. We do go out, but we stay together as a family. Some kids find it difficult to cope when there is too much stimulation. Lizzy never had a problem with the sights and sounds of an active summer life. But she would often seek comfort and love from just about ANYONE. I'm sure she would have walked away with any kind person. She has come a long way in a short time. She knows who mom and dad are and looks to us for comfort.

 And she tells me she loves me... BIG!

She is still developing a love for daddy. She will hug and snuggle but on her terms only. Baby steps.
 Learning to trust.

The China trip and the months that followed were hard on the other littles. 
But this final adoption trip was amazing.
We began 2015 planning our trip to China to bring home Elizabeth. Brad stayed home to take care of the boys, but Arielle came with me. Since then, Lizzy has been ONE of our biggest blessings of the year (but not the only one)! She is perfect in every way and it is amazing how well adjusted she is for all that she has been through. You can access our travel journal HERE if interest in our China travel.
First Morning home, up bright and early!
 She is still reserved and will not quickly give her heart. After a few months of falling in love with her, it was natural for the words "I love you" to roll off this mommy's tongue. But for Liz it was a little more difficult. It wasn't until late fall that she said "I love you mommy".

And she meant it. 

First Trip to Nemours/Dupont/Hematology... This doll was waiting for her! Love the ladies at Dupont Hematology!

Lizzy's first transfusion at Dupont

Giving mommy her first flower... one of my favorite photos!
Family Time
Spring/Summer 2015 was an awesome family time. We visited the Aquarium, Philly Zoo, Cape May Zoo, Franklin Institute, the beach, the boardwalk, a multitude of parks, Skyline Drive, Gettysburg, Festivals and Fairs, Zoo Camp etc!

 Every time we go to the zoo the kids get on this bear. This time, after I took the picture, I noticed the sign asking us to stay off the bear... oops

He is my heart

Lego Display at the Franklin Institute in Philly

Science Festival, Philly, Spring

Raining Pink!!!
Becoming best buddies with my grandson Micah

Cape May Zoo

Learning that no means no and "I love you" means forever.

Warm spring days with a new scooter

Trips to the park with our beloved Flannery family branch

Annual Red Bank Battlefield photo... Each year more kids added to the cannon! 
Ocean City!
First Ferris Wheel ride
First Carousel Ride
10 years old!
The stare-down
Family Vacation Beach House Fun
Beach Time at Ocean City

Forth of July

Flannery Fun!

Becoming a US citizen


Skyline Drive, VA

Luray Caverns

Aunt Liz with her Nephews

Zoo Camp #1

A Celebration of Levi!

Nana and Levi spending time together

Arielle just Chillaxing
More Beach time
Walks in the woods on HOT days

Happy Birthdays!
Zoo Camp #2

more Ocean City!

More Birthdays
Woodsy walkin'

The love of my life, my hero

At the end of a full summer Brad hurt his back and was out of work. But with much rest and prayer he went back to work in October. Praise God for healing. The Fall was full of firsts for Lizzy once again. And it was exciting to view it all through her eyes. Homeschooling started in September at the shore salt marshes. It was fun! But in October we decided to enroll both Lizzy and Asher in school. Asher still struggles to read. He is smart, but feels dumb. We have done everything to help him and have hit a wall. Since his health has been stable for over a year (glory to God!), we made the decision to enroll him. He will also receive speech therapy, something we had been paying for. So this will take a financial strain off our backs. Right now he is being tutored at home, but enrolled in school. It would be nice if we could continue this. The child study team and I decided to keep him home until the testing was complete. We will find out when he starts before the end of the month.

We began the 2015/16 school year down the shore in the salt marshes identifying birds, looking at different flowers and wild life. It was fun and the way school should always begin. I am praying we can once again homeschool the three littles together in the future.

First day of school

The end of summer turned into the beginning of fall and pumpkin time at the farm!

Our big girl and her daddy

He is the best!
Evan is growing too fast. I can't believe he is 10! I'm not sure I can call him a "little" anymore :(

Same goes for Levi, when did he grow up!

I love this kid, he is my heart. <3

When we first got Lizzy she struggled walking up steps and never wanted to exert herself. But now she runs, jumps, climbs and loves every minute of it!

Time to dress up!

The pumpkins with the pumpkins
The  family minus Aaron (but he's in there, just not born yet haha)

Wonder Woman!

A motley crew

A new driver
9 years old!
A perfect mommy

Another HUGE blessing in the Fithian Family
Our son Bradley and his wife Melissa had their first Baby
Aaron Benjamin

One of my 2015 favorite photos...this was only moments after Aaron's birth.

PopPop with the newest FITHIAN!
Lizzy with her new coat and new backpack, a little nervous too!
A decision to send her to school,... Kindergarten
She now loves school, and her teacher, and her friends! But she comes home everyday and tells me she misses me <3
Thanksgiving starts with decorating. The beginning of the Holidays! We also found out that our daughter Amy will be having a new baby in 2016! 
Decorating the Thanksgiving tree - a recent Fithian tradition
Aunt Lauren and Uncle Mike meeting baby Aaron
Maybe one day we will have a room big enough for us all to eat Thanksgiving dinner together!

Grandmom Bert and Poppop Jim meeting their great grand son <3

More Holiday/Birthday photos to come in Part II of the 2015 review! And I'll include our misplaced Holiday card that was supposed to go into the mail before the 1st. Oh Well.

Family update, visions and dreams, and prayerful thoughts for 2016!
God Bless!