Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lily~Standing Tall

On Friday (5/25), Lily got a stander!!  We were so excited for her to have the chance to stand up, we went straight to our favorite Physical Therapist (Aunt Ashlie) to try it out....

She wasn't too sure at first and kept saying, "I'm scary"...she means scared :)

 When her tears started, I wanted to give in and get her out.  So thankful for Ashlie who kept us both on track and talked her into trying for 2 minutes.

Still not happy, but playing ball with Aunt Ashlie while GuGu watches.

Ready to catch it...but sill not too sure about this standing up. 

Things got better once she got to play the iPod!!

Lily amazes me.  I know that this was scary for her, she's never stood this straight and tall before.  Since Friday, she's gotten a good pair of tennis shoes and she's standing a little more every day!!  We rolled her to the kitchen sink and let her brush her teeth standing up.  She thought that was such a big deal.

She teaches us daily to never take the little things for granted.

Happy Girl in her "tickle jammies"...they are silk PJ's :)

Lily's stander has given her so much more confidence.  She is bearing weight on her legs so much better in just a week.  Her most favorite thing to do now is swim, swim, swim!!  The pool gives her so much freedom.  I can't even put into words how it felt to watch her take her first steps in the pool this week.  She had to cover her mouth with her little hand to avoid getting a mouth full of water from all of her giggling.  She just couldn't stop laughing as she did laps around the shallow end.  We sure need our own pool, y'all!!

She is truly a miracle and I'm so honored to be on this journey with her.  We are realistic and know that it won't always be easy, but I wouldn't trade a second of her sweet little giggles and her great big, sassy personality!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mama Moments

Six months ago, four excited, anxious Bambergs woke up way too early and piled in the bed all together to talk about our upcoming day.  None of us knew what to expect, but we knew our lives would never be the same.   There was never a doubt that God had brought us to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia to change us...make us better, stronger, more faithful.

Wow!!  It's been six months since our sweet Mei Mei was brought to us in the hotel lobby.  Six months filled with testing, surgery, hard pants, worry, and a few tears.  Six months filled with laughter,happiness, and complete peace.   Peace that comes from knowing God and having complete faith that He loves us enough to get us through anything.  He reminds me daily that we're right where He wants us.

November 29, 2011

I could say so much about how our lives have changed in the past six months, how much better we are because of our sweet Lily, how proud I am that we haven't allowed a diagnosis to define us or slow us down.  One day I'll blog on all that, but right now I'm nostalgic.  Remembering the three most precious times in my life...when I realized  that I was a Mama.

I'll never be able to describe how it felt to hold Mary Ashtyn, Reece, and Lily for the first time.  We loved them from the minute we saw their pictures and videos.  I knew they were mine months before I held them.  Our first meeting with each of them was so special but not as special as that first realization with each of them that they were really finally mine.

With Mary Ashtyn, we visited her for several days before everything was official and she could leave the orphanage.  We would sit in these tiny little rooms with no air conditioning in 100 degree heat and play with her and try not to drip sweat on her!!  I know that's gross, but it's so true :)  We loved her and were so ready to get out of there and take care of her ourselves.  Late one afternoon, we FINALLY got to feed her.  She finished her bottle and drifted off to sleep in my arms.  That was my moment, I knew she was mine and it just felt different.

Waited so long to be her answered prayer!!!

Three years later, we were freezing in Kazakhstan as we met our Reece.  He made us smile so big with his chubby cheeks...cutest baby, ever!!  We spent several days visiting him in his orphanage.  Those nannies hovered around us.  If they didn't think he was happy enough, they'd take him out of our arms to toss him in the air and get him giggling.  They tossed him around so much one day, that he threw up ALL OVER ME!!  It was lovely, not!  We were so tired of being watched as we tried to bond with our son.  My Mama moment came as we took him out of the orphanage and sped toward the airport to fly out of his birth city.  We didn't get a picture, but Trent was videoing.  He asked me how I was, and I just broke down as I hugged Reece for the first time without three or four women watching me.  He was bundled up like that kid from "A Christmas Carol" but he finally belonged to us!

Reece with his nannies on the morning he left the orphanage...they came in before dawn to say goodbye.

Lily's Gotcha Day story is here.  It's so hard to believe that it's been six months!!  Because she was older and grieved so much more, I was very cautious with her.  I wanted so badly to just put my arms around her and cuddle and kiss her a million times, but it wasn't easy at first.  As we traveled by van back to her SWI (Social Welfare Institute), she wanted to sit in my lap (Insert GASP here, no car seats or seat belts on ANY of our adoption trips).  As she snuggled against me and went to sleep, I wrapped my arms around her and cried.  She was mine and my heart was so full, it dripped out of my eyes a little!  Yeah, I cried...what else would I do??  It was even more special as I whispered to Mary Ashtyn and Reece about my special Mama moments with them.

13 years and a lot of wrinkles later, I've still got that goofy, proud look on my face :)

Every good and perfect gift is from above.
James 1:17

I am so very thankful for my perfect gifts. Our sweet miracles are our greatest treasures. 

Happy Six Month Gotcha Day, Lily!!
Our Perfect Chinese Treasure

Sunday, May 27, 2012

School's Out!

It seems like just a few days ago that I was posting about the kids' last day of school for the 2010-2011 school year.  Now the 2011-2012 year is over.  How did another year go by so fast???  So very proud of Mary Ashtyn and Reece, they both had an excellent school year.

Reece had All A's for the school year and the highest average in Social Studies in his classroom.  We are so proud of him!  It's hard to believe that he's finished with his first year of middle school and will be a sixth grader next year.

Reece and Grandy (Trent's Dad) after the Awards Program

Reece and some of his friends.  Watch out 6th they come :)

Mary Ashtyn also got All A's for the school year, a Citizenship Award, and received awards for having a 95 or above for the year in Language Arts and Social Studies.  She was also named to the 7th Grade Elite for being in the top 10 academically.  I was a very proud Mama!!  It seems impossible that she will be in 8th grade next year...her last year of middle school!

7th Grade Elite

My Favorite 8th Graders :)  Love these sweet girls!

As proud as we are of them academically, we are completely thrilled with the people they are growing up to be.  Reece and Mary Ashtyn have been through so many changes since Lily became their Mei Mei.  Even on the tough days, they keep going and hang right in with us.  I've watched them become more compassionate and understanding, not only to Lily but to everyone.

Last week, we finally told them how involved Lily's Muscular Dystrophy really is.  It was so hard.  Watching Mary Ashtyn pick up Lily and cradle her like a baby after she found out broke my heart.  Holding my sweet tender hearted Reece as he asked "why" and grieved for all the things his Mei Mei couldn't do was almost more than I could stand.  Waking up the next morning to hear them giggling together reminded me how blessed we are.

Can't forget Silly Lily, who will be in the first grade next year!  Praying that my heart can handle my baby starting school!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lily Update

Our little ladybug is doing so well!!  She continues to amaze us daily with her determination and over the top personality.  Wow!  She keeps us smiling...

Every night before she goes to sleep, Lily likes to look at her Bible.  She flipped through the entire Bible and told us that Mickey Mouse was not anywhere in her Bible!  I told her that the Bible was a special book that teaches us about God's love and Jesus.  Silly Lily was quick to tell me that she knew all about Jesus..."he flies all around up there (pointing up) and looks at me with binoculars"!!    We were quietly laughing too hard to ask if he wore a cape or had a big J on his chest!

She was sitting on the floor clapping her hands and saw a bug fly by.  She called out in a sing song voice, "where are you, bug?  Come here, I've got two hands for you" as she clapped even faster.

Mei Mei loves Mash and Reece.  She has started calling Reece "my boy".  When I asked her if Reece was her boy, then what was Mary Ashtyn.  She quickly answered, "mean to my boy"!!!   She has now started calling Mary Ashtyn, girlfriend :)  So funny to hear, "hey, girlfriend"!

Lily had a neurology appointment on 5/14.  Trent and I were so excited to hear that she has FINALLY gained weight!!  3 pounds may not seem huge, but it was to us.  One of the major issues with MDC1A (Lily's Muscular Dystrophy) is eating/swallowing difficulties.  Dr. Pierre was very pleased with Lily's weight gain and let us know that he wasn't worried about her swallowing.  HUGE praise!!  We will have some evaluations completed later,but what a relief for now.

Dr. Pierre agreed that Lily is very high functioning based on her diagnosis of Merosin Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy.   He would like to see her using a forearm walker...which would be fantastic!!  It will take a lot of physical therapy, training, and PRAYER.

Lily is such a blessing.  Although we sometimes worry about what the future holds for her, it is impossible to dwell on the negative.  She is so full of life and joy!  She has taught us so much in the last 6 months, mostly how to enjoy the little things each and every day.  Lots of things have changed and our lives will never be the same...thank goodness!! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Make a Joyful Noise

Still trying to catch up on my blog posts :)  My Mother's Day began with breakfast in bed prepared by Mary Ashtyn and my day just kept getting better.  I am so thankful that I got to spend the day with my Mama and my sweet miracles.  We topped off the perfect day watching Lily, Reece, and my brother's boys sing in our Children's musical at church.  It was so special to sit with my Mama and my Granny and watch my children and nephews sing about God's grace.  My heart was so full.

Lily and her cousin, buddies!

Reece looks so excited :)

The CBC Kids

Reece nailed his speaking parts!

Lily & Matthew...helping hands

Lily, Matthew (beside Lily), Reece, & Steven (wearing the sunglasses around his neck) singing away!

Reece paying attention while Lily & Matthew have their own little conversation :)

These two make me smile!

Proud of my Reece man!



Brayden, my youngest nephew, sang with the PK precious!!!

Steven, Lily, & Reece after the musical  

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Psalm 98:4

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Remember Us??

May has been a crazy, busy month.  Obviously, I totally failed the Photo a Day challenge.  We have not been home long enough for me to post anything.  Between baseball, musicals, and majorette camp, it has been non-stop.  It's been so much fun over the last 2 weeks, it will take a few posts to catch up.

The first two weeks of May, Mary Ashtyn's majorette line hosted a mini-majorette camp.  I offered to help and thought Lily might enjoy watching.  She was so excited to see several girls that she already knew.  She sat with them as they were called out to get in line.  The sponsor called her name and she was so proud.  She happily sat in a chair lined up with the girls.

The next thing I knew, she was put in a small group to learn the routine!  I had every intention of taking her out if she seemed upset that she couldn't do exactly what the other girls could.  I've said it many times before, but this little 30 pound beauty is my hero.  She sat in that chair smiling and twirling away!!  She couldn't do the turns or even lift the baton past her shoulders, but she couldn't stop smiling.

As the first practice ended, the girls got to show their stuff.  Lily learned every eight count of the routine and was beaming as she performed!  She left practice so excited and had to show everyone her routine. She twirled for her Daddy and Reece, she twirled during Reece's baseball game, she twirled in the car, she twirled everywhere!!   They had four practices and she couldn't wait get to the gym each day. 

Our mini majorette performing at the local Relay for Life.  One of the cutest things I have ever seen is Silly Lily with her hand on her hip "shaking it".  How proud and blessed I am to be this little diva's Mama!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 4: FUN!!

Yeah!!!  Today is an easy one...


We have fun everyday around here.  One of these three always  has something fun going on:  baseball, musical, majorette performance and on,and on, and on!  Even if we just stay home, they make life FUN!

Today was a fun day celebrating our oldest.  Mary Ashtyn was inducted into the National Jr. Honor Society this morning!!  Talk about proud, we were over the moon.  We received a letter in the mail a few days ago to let us know that she had been chosen.  The school asked us to keep it a surprise.  Since this is a long standing tradition (my parents kept it hidden from me a hundred years ago),I was determined not to tell Mary Ashtyn.  She did ask if she got a letter, but I told her no.  SHE didn't get a letter, Trent and I did :)  So I really wasn't telling a lie...right??

When the phone rang before 8:00 this morning, I was tickled to hear Mash's sweet voice asking if I knew that Honor Society tapping was at 10:00.  It was driving her crazy wondering if she was being inducted.  It was hilarious because I did the same thing to my Mom on the day that I was tapped into the Honor Society over 25 years ago :)  I remember how it felt to be sitting in the gym and see my family being escorted in with all the other parents.  It was even more special today to walk in with Trent, my Mom, and Lily to see Mary Ashtyn's face light up.

Love this smile!!

After the ceremony, we checked out Mash and her crew of friends, who were ALL inducted, and headed to celebrate!

Mexican, of course!!

So thankful for this sweet, smart group of friends!!

Once they noticed Lily waiting patiently while we made pics, they had to get one with her too :)

Just another day of FUN around our house making more memories with our sweet miracles!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 3: Something I wore today

Make Up!!!

If you have seen me lately at Wal-Mart or picking up the big kids in the car rider line, you know that putting on make up has not been a priority lately.  This is my public apology for those of you that I have scared.  I am really sorry...but I've gotten lazy :)    

Day 3 done!!!  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 2: Skyline

I have a confession...I don't think I'm going to make it through the May photo challenge.   It's only the second day, and here I sit at 10:30 pm trying to scrounge up a picture of a skyline.  I take lots of pictures, but they're all of my kids!!  No skylines to be found anywhere.

I thought a lot about the skylines that we've seen over the years.  We spent several hours gazing at the Republic of Kalmykia (Russia) skyline as we wondered what happened to our quiet, peaceful brand new 7 month old daughter that we left the orphanage with...she screamed for hours her first night with us.  Thankfully, she quieted down once she wrestled her bottle away from me and was able to feed herself.  We watched the sun rise over that same skyline as we stood on a balcony too excited to sleep as the sweetest little miracle snoozed in the middle of our bed.

This isn't a Russian skyline, but look at our adorable first child.  Mary Ashtyn was and is our dream come true!!!

Almost three years later, I stared at the Ust Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan) skyline from our hotel room and held our second miracle as he slept on my shoulder.  He was too congested to lay down and I was happy to snuggle with him through the night.

Again, no skyline...but look at those cheeks!!  I still love to snuggle with my sweet Reece.

Ten years went by and who would have imagined that we would ever hold another child in our arms as we stared at the skyline of her birth country.  Wow!!  I think we spent the most time looking out at the Inner Mongolian skyline holding our sweet Lily as she grieved....crying, praying, begging God to help us comfort her.  As she adjusted to us, I held her and gazed at that skyline, wondering if she knew that it hurt us to take her from all the she had ever known.

My whole world getting once last glimpse of the IM skyline before we flew to Guangzhou .  

Y'all...there is a skyline in that picture!!!  I seriously just found it.  Bring on Day 3 of this Photo a Day challenge, I can do this!!!  LOL

God amazes me!!  He had this perfect plan to bring our family together, to send us across the world three times and place our children in our arms.  As I thought about skylines and tried to find a picture from each of their birth countries, I could close my eyes and remember holding my babies in my arms on our first night together.  Sweet memories of my sweet thankful for Mary Ashtyn, Reece, and Lily and for the One who knew they were mine all along.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1: Peace

May Photo Challenge

I'm going to TRY to do the May Photo A Day...first pic coming soon :)  If you want to play along, please leave a comment and a link to your blog!!