Saturday, December 31, 2011

Five Years Today

It has been five years.

Five years since I heard, "6:00 a.m.", five years since I was told that there was "a problem", five years since the first time that I held my precious baby in my arms and promised to love her forever.


It has been five years since our lives were changed forever.
We have changed in every imaginable way - and all for the better.

Addison Ellis Henderson has taught us more in five years about love, acceptance,
patience, determination



and grace


than I could have learned on my own in my entire lifetime.


Each year that has passed has taught me more about myself, this world and the sweet Baby Girl I hold in my arms each day.


I will always believe that the first year was the hardest year of our lives and when we hit that one year mark, I allowed myself to breathe.
I knew then that we really would be ok.


...and with each passing year, our lives that were so full of fear, turned into lives of comfort.


As we celebrate today - Addie's 5th Birthday - my mind drifts back to those first few seconds of her life and I look to where we are today and realize that I wouldn't trade a moment of the experience and the honor.

I thank each one of you for standing by us through these last five years.
We need your continued support and love each day.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Morning

Julien woke sometime after the break of dawn.
As with years past, Addie was still sleeping when Julien opened his presents.
I really like it that way because I get to pay full attention to Julien and enjoy watching him open his presents.
Just like with the Easter Bunny, we tell Santa that we will buy presents for our home so that he can focus on presents for all the other children who need him.
That way, Addie will always know that Daddy and Mommy bought her presents on Christmas morning and she will not be confused or afraid.

...and just like years past, we bought fairly for our children...
We try desperately to teach them that it is not about the number of presents under the tree...or in the vicinity of the tree...

A Steelers Mr. Potato Head.
I did good!
Well...we do live in Alabama.
It has to be expected.
Tell me about it...I could have used a five or six hour nap as well!
Julien said he had a really nice Christmas and he did receive some really nice gifts.
I realize that nothing will ever compensate for the four-wheeler that we will never buy for him, but I think these gifts somewhat dulled the pain of not having a four-wheeler (I said somewhat).
After much begging from Julien, it was time to wake Addie.
Unlike each year before, this year Julien insisted that he be the one to bring Addie downstairs.
He was thrilled to take all the credit!

Waiting on her was a present one year in the making.
This ended up in Jenn's home last year and was such a big hit with her girls, that I decided Addie needed one too.
Chris and I bought it way back in March and was able to hold off giving it to Addie until Christmas (we were quite proud of ourselves).



We opted for Calico Critters instead of Barbie's.
Addie is definitely not ready for Barbie's and we are perfectly fine with that!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Baby Number One

Chris' Nanny gave Addie money for Christmas, which in turn bought baby number one of the Christmas Season.
When we were at Chris' dad's house, Addie fell in love with a baby doll that belongs to Chris' sister and I decided then that Addie had to have her.
I took the money from Nanny and bought the Adora Baby straightaway.


She is such an adorable baby and imagine my surprise when she came with a note that she was "washable", but in this world where we always have to walk on egg shells and be careful of what we say so that we don't offend anyone or throw the world off its axis, I never would have thought I would have seen this on the box:


I'm sure somebody somewhere is going to take offense that the company would imply that a real baby was machine washable and will eventually modify the packaging.
Either that or I missed the "CAUTION" note in the box, explaining to me that I cannot put a REAL baby into my washing machine.
It's a good thing I have thoroughly thought this through and understand which baby is machine washable and which isn't.

Despite any potential confusion, this baby powder smelling, satin bodied baby is fitting in quite nicely in our little home.


Christmas Eve - Just Us

Me and my stuffy nosed baby.
Addie knew from all of the activity at the house that we were having a party and she kept a close watch on the windows - anxiously waiting for people to arrive!

She took a picture with me and with Chris, gave him a quick kiss and back to watching the windows she went.
We are such dorks.
Here - a  picture of me and Jim Carrey Julien.
Chris and I walked into a wrestling match a couple weeks back and found another mom cutting Julien's hair (and the hair of several other boys). 
It was either cut their hair or they didn't get to participate in the match since their hair was touching their eyebrows.
Not really a lot of options when you are sitting on bleachers in a middle school gym...
A huge change from his hair this past summer and not a bad change at that!
Carli in a headlock - it doesn't look brutal at all.
I think Addie is watching to make sure nobody is going to try and sneak up and rip Carli from her hands.
That poor dog...
Merry Christmas Eve to you all!
This is where the camera got put down and in all of the commotion, I didn't get a chance to get many more pictures....
The kids got exactly what they wanted from my family.
Addie ended up with four new baby doll's this Christmas and she loves them all.
I think Chris will have to start building onto the house so that we can have a room for all of Addie's baby doll's. 
Not that he would mind, considering books and babies are what makes Addie the happiest.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Carli

My family came to our house Christmas Eve.
When I say "my family", that includes Carli.
That sweet little face caused a bi-polar kind of night.

She was sweet and sat and watched all the excitement for about 22 seconds before Addie got her little hands on her
and then for the rest of the night, Addie refused to let her go.
When we tried to take a picture, Addie thought my brother was going to take Carli from her and massive tears emerged.
The tears started to dry up and Addie's already stuffy nose made it impossible for her to breathe.
My poor baby was having a rough time!

Yes.  That is her pouty bottom lip sticking out.
She dared anyone to try and touch Carli.
There came a point in the evening when Carli did escape Addie's grasp. 
It was then that Carli spotted Alley.
She started barking and growling at Alley, but when Alley got fed up with it and decided she was going to come into the living room to set Carli straight, Carli ran and hid behind my mother's legs.
What a scaredy cat dog.
Carli is a lot of extra work, but she is such a sweet dog and loved by us all.
It was nice for her to be a part of the celebration this year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Gathering Number Two

Chris' mother and brother came over this morning for Christmas.
Addie did a really good job opening the presents.
She still needs assistance, but I can definitely see some progress since last year!

It was quite labor intensive at times.
Julien had a sleep over last night and was barely able to stay awake during the visit.
So excited about her present!


Julien let Addie have the honor of opening his presents.

Listening for further instructions...?
Chunk is such a mess!
(Christmas gathering number one was at Chris' dad's this past Sunday. We didn't have the camera with us.)

In Case You Were Wondering

Yes.
Alley is still being tortured this Christmas Season.
She doesn't appear to mind...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Party at School

Addie had her last preschool Christmas Party on December 16.
The kids sang songs for us and it was really sweet.
Addie was so thrilled to be in front of everyone and to see all of her friends singing, that she just stood there smiling and giggling.
Her teachers told me that she did well following along with some of the hand motions and singing parts of the songs during practice, but the excitement of it all prevented her participation at show time!

On another note, Addie is so in love with her tutu.
The entire way to school, she kept saying, "party"!
(because she knows that dress up time = party time)
She insisted on wearing her tutu the rest of the weekend as well.
I see no problem with it at all.
If I could get away with wearing a tutu, I would as well...I guess it's a little late to ask Santa for one now...
After the program, it was time for the book exchange.
Addie was thrilled to participate!
It took a little effort for the kids to catch on to the game,
but, they were very pleased with the results.

Addie loves her new book!

I seriously have no idea where the month of December has gone.
I am not ready for any of the events coming between now and the end of the month and I just need for time to slow down a little.