Tuesday, February 28, 2012


My how time flies... one year ago today the Lambert family of three met our sweet sweet Wawa. It was not at all the day I had dreamed about for 4 years... I woke up that morning and put on the outfit I had planned on wearing months before we even packed. I seriously asked Lambert if I should wear the pearls or if that might be too much. He thought it was too much. I changed the outfit because it was too hot. I did and redid my hair... the humidity was terrible, much like Houston. We were picked up by our driver and guide around 2:00pm and on our way to the civil affairs office where we along with 5 or 6 other families would meet our children. We packed the camera and the video recorder. I had every trick in my bag as far as snacks and goodies for our sweet girl. I had heard that the first introduction could be difficult so I was armed. I was certain that those mothers that experienced difficulties were just doing something wrong. I had already prepared the music that would accompany our slide show that we would post on youtube later that afternoon. All the families gathered in anticipation to meet their new additions. The excitement and nervousness was thick. I instructed our guide on how to used the video recorder and Lambert's job was to take good pics with the new camera I purchased the day before we left for China (not a good idea if your planning your packing list now). Wawa was the first to come out of the room. She was wearing a red and yellow sweat suit and she was held by a young woman with long dark hair. I approached her slowly and held out my hands. Hoot was by my side. Wawa looked confused and scared. So did Hoot. Lambert was snapping away and Becky our guide was obediently filming this monumental family moment. I realized quickly that this wasn't going to be pretty and that I had better get out the goodie bag. I took her from the young woman's arms and proceeded to try to calm her down. She was screaming in my ear so loud that I couldn't even think straight. Her breath was the worst I had ever smelled. She was soaking wet from sweat and so I was I. I looked around the room unsure of how much time had passed and realized everyone was staring at us. I felt the pressure to get it together. Becky was still filming and I politely asked her to turn the camera off while I fumbled through my bag of tricks.. Hoot was by my side offering her dolls and snacks. He was such a trooper. Becky was still filming when I lost it and ordered her in my loudest obnoxious American voice to turn the damn thing off!!! I could feel all the eyes on me and I just wanted to hide. I also felt Lambert's concern. I knew something was very wrong and I could see in his face that he was not doing so good. The room must have been 100 degrees. I was not at all concerned with what I was wearing anymore. All the other families were counseled by their orphanage representatives but we were there alone with this screaming child. For about 30 minutes we were left alone. Lambert went searching for our guide or someone to assist us. Finally after about 45 minutes our guide returned and Lambert discussed some of our concerns. We were not told about some of Wawa's physical needs. We were completely caught off guard. We sat in the room with this terrified child and our son absolutely sick. Everyone left with their new happy children while we waited and waited for answers. The civil affairs official suggested that we not sign the adoption certificate and take Libbie to an independent western doctor the next day. We agreed and took her back to our hotel. She would have nothing to do with me and clung to Lambert for dear life. In our original paperwork the orphanage staff described Wawa. In their description they defined her as a child that "enjoyed crying". I remember thinking what a cruel description. We learned that day and in the days following that description fit her perfectly!!! She wouldn't stop. There wasn't much we could do to console her once she got started. I felt helpless. I couldn't hold her or even be in the same room with her or she would start and not stop. Lambert was on his own and not doing so well. We spent the next day in Guangzhou with Wawa waiting and waiting for the "most famous western orthopedic doctor" to see us. We waited about 9 hours in a hot crowded hospital waiting room with 10,000 other people. We were finally called to his office. We were surrounded by about 30 other parents in a 10x10 room when we heard his opinion. He suggested that we not adopt Wawa. His expert opinion was that she would never walk unassisted or feed or dress herself. She would need the expert medical care that the orphanage staff could provide for her. He did not think we would be able to meet her physical needs and there would be another baby girl more sutiable for our family. I don't think I have ever felt more alone in my life. I knew at that moment we would be coming home without our daughter. I knew it. I hadn't talked to anyone in my family or friends. I had no words from the moment we met her. I literally could not talk about it. Our small family unit was 6000 miles away from anything familiar facing a critical decision that had to be made. My eyes were almost swollen shut I had cried so much. Hoot was so good. He was on his very best behavior. He was selfless and helpful. He tried to entertain her and assist us any way he could. I questioned why we ever brought him with us. This poor girl demanded so much and the conversations Lambert and I had were not ones wanted to have in front of our 6 year old son. It was hell. We were so very tired and hopeless. We would wait until Hoot would fall asleep and then spend hours talking. Lambert and I made the decision that we would send Wawa back to the orphanage the next morning. I had prayed earlier that evening that if it was God's will for us to bring her home He would have to orchestrate it through Lambert. I could not manipulate him or nag him into a decision. It would have to come from him. So when Lambert said we would take her back I agreed. My heart was broken. At this point I had only held her briefly at the civil affairs office. she wouldn't make eye contact with me and I had to leave the room for her to go to sleep. We called our adoption agency and told them that we would not be coming home with Libbie and to please make arrangements to get us out of China ASAP. I called my family and best friend and made arrangements to be picked up from the airport in 2 days. We prayed some more and looked at scripture together and then we both fell asleep. I remember waking up at some point and lying there in the quiet thinking I just can't believe this is happening to us... I can't see what God is doing. Why did he bring us here to leave without her? Was this not his will for us to begin with? I had so many questions! We still had jet lag so at about 3AM I awoke to Lambert standing over her crib crying. He didn't know I was awake. He was talking to her so sweetly. I tried not to make a sound. He was heartbroken. He finally asked me if I was awake and I said yes. We talked quietly and asked again why this was happening to us... then he said, "why not us?" Why would God bring us around the world for us to return home without her? We both knew it was God's will. She was our daughter no matter what... he told me to hurry up and call the agency back to tell them we were bringing our daughter home with us. We never went back to sleep. It was such a sweet time for us as a couple. Our children were both asleep and we were a family of four. When Wawa woke up that morning she looked at Lambert and her first words were "Baba" which is Daddy... God is so faithful. We saw what he was doing when we trusted him. We both had immediate peace that he would see us through any challenges... and he has. The days that followed were not easy and she still wouldn't have anything to do with me while in China, but we were at such peace with our decision. Looking back over this past year we have seen how mighty God is. Wawa has impacted so many with her fighting spirit. There is nothing she won't do. She has blessed our family beyond measure. In many ways it seems like she just came home, but it also feels like she has always been with us. I am so thankful we didn't listen to our flesh... all the fears and what if's that almost brought us home without her... Fear is not from God. He says Fear Not!! It's impossible to fear not without Him. i thank God everyday for his ever present help in time of need. I'm also so thankful to everyone who prayed for us while we were in China. I've heard people say they could feel the prayers, but we really could! It was amazing. I have never had so many comments on my blog. Everyone was so very supportive and we could feel it. So in honor of our first official family day.... we will have our cake and eat it too! Hoot is baking now! lib DSC_0549 This looks like it could be a smile... it's not. she was just catching her breath so she could start up again... that is snot and tears all over her face.. it might have helped if I would have scooted back out of her space!! she held tight to the only two objects she came to us with. We still have them in her little box. We took it out the other day and she said, "don't cry" she remembered. DSC_0544 Lamberts eyes are closed to keep from gagging over her breath. I don't think she had ever seen a tooth brush... however she has beautiful teeth and fresh breath now! DSC_9819 Lambert said today, it's funny when you find yourself in a dark and scary place how hard it is to see the way out or what good will come... time does indeed fly and once you're through the storm clouds the good that came becomes clear.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Under ansthesia in the morning... racing in the afternoon

Libs had her pins removed and casts changed Wednesday morning.... she is usually a happy little patient, but not this time. We're not sure what happened, but the child turned CRAZY on us. She was combative and angry before she went back to have her pins removed and she was the same way when she came out and hour later!!! We have never witnessed anything like it. We wondered where our girl went and more importantly when she would return. It took about an hour before the angry drug wore off and she was back to herself. Once it wore off she was READY to shop for those red shoes she has talked about for the last month. She watched the movie Matilda and fell head over heels for red shoes. Around that same time she saw that her big girl friend Miss Kate also had a pair of red shoes... it was her mission to find those shoes. We promised her that when she had her cast removed we would go shoe shopping and find some red shoes. This proved to be a difficult task... we searched high and low for red shoes that would fir her new AFO.. The AFO is much slimmer than her last pair, but it is still difficult to find shoes that are deep enough to accommodate the brace. Mary Janes are hard because the straps don't reach far enough across over the brace to be secured properly. We found one pair of ITALIAN shoes that worked (we were told these were great with AFO's) but they weren't available in red. We ended up with a cute pair of pink Converse... she loved them and we came home and ordered the red mary janes from Zappos. they should arrive in a few days. Best of all they were on sale!!@!@ So, we returned home around 3:00 and after a very short nap she was ready to head outdoors. The weather has been warm the last few days so we took full advantage of it. She was in her Nascar and off to the races. She is using her walker to get reacquainted with walking. Her little muscles are very weak so she is learning to walk all over again. With her strong will and determination I'm sure it won't take long and she will ditch the yellow walker and be back to her normal self! Just before the angry meds kicked in DSC_9884 DSC_9929 DSC_9931 She's back!!! One year ago tomorrow we boarded a plane to head to China@!!! Hard to beleive it's been a year! What an amazing year it's been. We have been so very blessed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Chapter

I've really come to love photography. Since Libbie has been home I have found myself taking the kids out for photo shoots, enrolling in online photography and editing classes and taking photos for other families. I have been praying for several months for God to show me if this is something I should pursue. I have a part time job working from home that I is working out great, but I have a need to create. I enjoy decorating, but don't think I'm talented enough to make a living doing it. I've always loved to paint with all mediums, and I have grown to love photography and the art of editing. Many times I do nothing, because I'm afraid... afraid to fail, afraid of rejection, afraid of commitment, afraid of what people might say, afraid of competition, afraid afraid afraid.... but what does his word say about fear. Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand Romans 8:15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” It was through much prayer and bible study that I felt lead to start a very small part time business. It was also through his word that I came up with the name.  illuminate photography Eph 5:13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. It's amazing to me what light can do for an image. It can transform a photo from blah to beautiful. I love light and airy photos. I also love that God illuminates his word through the holy spirit so that I can understand what he wants me to see and ultimately do! Webster defines illuminate this way: To make light; to throw light on; to supply with light, literally or figuratively; to brighten. bible.org defines illuminate this way:Illumination can be defined as “the special ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby He enlightens men so they can comprehend the written Word of God.” I wrestled with a name for a long time. I didn't want a cute name or an edgy name. I'm very traditional and almost just went with my name, but when I came across illuminate... I knew I had the name. I actually had business cards and some marketing design done last week. This morning during church our pastor must have used the word illuminate a dozen times. Lambert and I looked at each other and knew that illuminate was an answer to prayer. All the what ifs and fear that I have all come from my head. I have to cling to what i know and that's the promises of his word. I don't know successful this business will be or if it will take off at all, but I have a peace about moving forward so that's what I will do. One step (click) at a time in faith. I thought I would share my first little marketing flyer... I will probably still tweak it, but I love the colors. Spring_Fling_Marketing Spring_Fling_Front Spring_FLing_Back_1 DSC_9795 DSC_9809 i love his toes DSC_9844 DSC_9847 DSC_9872 DSC_9819 DSC_9828 DSC_9814 DSC_9866 I bought this little dress in Indiana at an antique store. Its very light and gauzy and I really hoped it would fit her. I just know it used to belong to a little amish girl... or so I can dream!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Inspiration and a Dinner Party

3283928769_7416eb3a4c This is not my photo, but I love it. I think it's from here http://atimeforeverythingjournal.blogspot.com/ I love to entertain. I love to cook and prepare. I love the company and the fellowship. When Lambert and I first married he could not understand this love. He hated the prep work (mad cleaning frenzy coupled with many breakdowns and usually followed by tears from exhaustion). However, we have both changed a lot over the years. I don't panic near as much as I used to. This comes from experience. People don't care if your house has a little dust or if every project hasn't been crossed off your to-do list. My kitchen has been a work in progress for almost 6 years now. We finally got around to removing all the wallpaper and painting, but it still needs work. I have learned that friends just like to be invited to come and eat and laugh. When we purchased this home I knew it was the perfect house for entertaining. It needed some TLC, but it's a great house for friends. We don't have a pool (so so sad) or fancy furniture, nor a big screen tv!!(sorry Lambert) but most of our friends comment that we have a very warm house that just feels comfortable. I think that's the best compliment a host can receive. So my good friend Kim... recently hosted a dinner party for a few friends. It's been a while since we had invited more than just a couple or two over so I decided it was time. I started thinking about the guest list and what I would cook and before I knew it, I had a full blown dinner party planned. In typical Shirley fashion... I haven't started preparing... it's tomorrow evening. My house looks like a train crashed right through the kitchen, down the hall to the bedrooms pulling every stitch of dirty laundry onto the floors... I haven't gone grocery shopping (now Houston is having torrential down pours and flash flooding warnings that should last through Sunday!) Good thing Lambert has a truck!! Luckily (not lucky that she is sick) we were supposed to have dinner with Nana tonight but she isn't feeling well so we will be dragging our littles to the grocery,flower,home improvement, discount stores this evening. Lambert is such a good sport. i'm certain he will have two crowns in heaven... i'm so looking forward to shopping with him tonight. he knows shrimp and I haven't a clue. I would end up with frozen cocktail shrimp if it were up to me. the party is sure to be a success. I have a plan and a fun game. I'm making a fabulous dish and home made pralines... how could anything go wrong

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Wild and Crazy

So I have been known to be a little modest, maybe even uptight. But last night after a great dinner and a glass of wine... I was feeling a little loose and free spirited. We had a sitter for the kiddos and Lambert made reservations at a wonderful restaurant. We laughed and reminisced about 14 years of Valentines Day pasts and reflected on this past year. If you remember what we did last year, it involved a new Simple Human trash can for our kitchen. I swooned over it for months and Lambert came through for me on Valentines! We had a nice dinner with Owen and then we made our way to The Container Store to the sratch and dent section and there she was in all her glory!! 70% OFF. It's hard to top an evening such as that! So last night was very sweet... okay romantic. AND then...Lambert and I did something I swore I would NEVER EVER do. I've seen it done and scoffed at people that do take part in this activity. People have been doing it for years, mostly young hip people. I'm sure there is even a name for the position. (I wouldn't know because I'm not young or hip) but we talked about it over dinner and then went straight home and did it.... I wonder if I should even post this for the blog world to see..my dad reads this blog sometimes. Are you ready?? I would never do this in public so we had to go home for this. DSC02902 Notice here we even switched places... very edgey... DSC02911 I call this the reach around self portrait. DSC02905 I promise we weren't drunk we just look like it. We cracked up doing this and there are some very ugly pictures that resulted, but we had so much fun. I have to say these shots were taken with a crummy point and shoot camera and the images have not been edited or touched in anyway. i'm sure you were wondering how we acheived such awsome shots!!! DSC02908 DSC02921 I know... were living on the wildside these days and we just get crazier every year! You should try this for yourself if you haven't already. Happy Valentines!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wintery Night

We haven't seen much of a winter here in Houston. We've had a lot of rain the past few weeks, but it doesn't get too cold. This morning we awoke to temps in the 40's. Hoot had a basketball game at 11:00 and he actually wore Under Armer under his uniform. When we got home he just wanted to soak in a hot bath. We decided tonight would be a family night. Family nights consists of cooking together, possibly a family game and then a movie. I asked Hoot what he thought we should make for dinner and he said, "grilled cheese and tomato soup!" YUMMY. Perfect for a cold evening. He doesn't eat tomato soup, but he will eat my creamy tomato basil (sorta,just a few bites). So we did just that. We headed to the grocery store for fresh tomatoes, basil and a loaf of french bread. After a short nap, we all gathered in the kitchen to prepare supper. Even the Doll took part in the prep work. She loves to stir and stir and stir and stir... anything... so I gave her a large bowl and a whisk and she went to town stirring the cream for the soup. Hoot and I cooked the tomatoes in olive oil and garlic and he helped prepare the butter/oil mixture for the grilled cheese. In December I wanted to make a quick soup a couple days before Christmas for my sister and I to snack on while we wrapped, cooked and prepared for Christmas day. I have made tomato basil soup a million times, but I thought I would try something new. So, I started pulling ingredients from the pantry and this is what I came up with... it is toooooo die for (not a low fat soup, but so yummy) DSC_9699 DSC_9715 DSC_9718 6 Roma tomatoes 2 garlic cloves good olive oil 3 sprigs fresh basil (chopped fine) 2 tbls Worcestershire 1 box beef broth 1 package light cream cheese (softened) 1 cup whipping cream or half & half 1/2 stick butter saute the tomatoes in the garlic and olive oil add the worcestershire and beef broth then use a bullet to puree the tomatoes mix in the cream cheese and simmer for 30 minutes add in the basil, cream and butter and simmer on low for 30 more minutes. serve hot and top with shave parmesan cheese. ENJOY!! It's great with a salad or severed with gushy grilled cheese sandwiches!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Granna is cooler than your Granna

I consider myself a virtuoso in the LEGO arena. I have dedicated many hours researching the orgin of the privately held company based in Billund Denmark. I have bid and been outbid on EBAY many a late night... trying to score that hard to find Frankenstein mini figure. I have purchased EVERY minifgure collectible package that Target stocked trying to complete the latest collector series! This mom knows the difference between a Bioncile and a Sizler... I know every licensed theme from Star Wars to Toy Story and all the other 13 themes in between... I could go on... However, I was not aware that a Lego Brick Bible existed... If I knew this, I can tell you I would be the coolest mom EVER... but I did not... GRANNA found it. I don't know what super power she possess that guided her to this most awesome gift known to mankind (or at least to boys ages 5-13)!! I would like to have just a little of her super natural wisdom that leads her to such amazing gifts. She is probably the best gift giver I know. She seems to always find the PERFECT item for whomever the receiver is. I have been the recipient of such great gifts. I think she has reached the top, with the Lego Brick Bible. I don't think this can be outdone. thank you Granna for making Hoots Day! This was a baptism gift that he will cherish for years to come. I'm thrilled that he will spend (hours, days, months) in the Old Testament learning scripture that he can hide in is heart and have fun doing so. I think this is GENIUS!! DSC_9687 DSC_9688 DSC_9689 DSC_9691 DSC_9692

Monday, February 6, 2012

Creative Energy

I might have a touch of spring fever. We haven't had a winter to speak of here in Houston, which isn't unusual. I've felt a little couped up and haven't been able to put my finger on it, until... yesterday. My friend over at 3 Peanuts http://3peanuts.blogspot.com/ hit the nail on the head. I'm ready for change. Lambert and I have been married 14 years and we have lived in 5 different houses in those years. We built a house, purchased another house and re- modeled and then moved again to our current house to do the same. It's been 5 years and I feel that urge to re-do. We're much like a gypsy family. The housing market in Houston, much like the rest of the country is in the ditch. There are homes in our very small neighborhood that have been listed for 2+ years... I absolutely love our home and could live here forever. It's the perfect size for us. It was built in 1949 and it has sooo much character. However, we are on the opposite side of town from EVERYTHING. We live in a smallish suburb so it's not a long drive to get places, it's just not convenient. (I'm not whining either). I've shared before that I would love to pack up and move to Indiana (TODAY). I have longed to live on a small piece of farm land in an old farm house and watch my kiddos romp under the big shade trees and get lost in the corn fields. It doesn't help that my parents retired there about 8 years ago. Izzy's acres http://izzysacres.blogspot.com I look at REALTOR.COM daily... (this also doesn't help all my nervous move energy). I love houses. I love to look at house magazines and I love stalking HAR just to see the interiors of local homes on the market. I inherited this passion from my Grandma Sally. She introduced me to my first decor ting magazine in 1997. I still have the magazine. i haven't put them down since. I love architecture and landscaping. My favorites are the kitchen and bathroom. I pour over details. I'm so thankful for the internet. Sometimes you can't see details in the magazines. I love that I can blow up a photo from the web and see every detail. Kim posted some photos yesterday from Houzz and I immediately went to the designer's webpage to see more. I am smitten with this home. If was ever to have an affair... I would be just like Bunny Williams... it would be with a house. image15big 163114817723576414_Wi2Qj15u_c I love the sink in this kitchen. It's a salvage find... even better! image13big image8big My dad created a similar bathroom for my step mom... he could so build this for me. Lambert bought an old clawfoot tub years ago. It's been re-finished and is just waiting for me to use it. image18big image23big