Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bouncing cousins

Matthew's birthday celebration was Saturday, and his parents pulled in a great, big Batman bounce house for the occasion. We were able to go over in the morning to get some bouncing in before the festivities began in the afternoon. These kids bounced for hours and had a great time! Happy birthday Matthew!

A Day to Celebrate

Today is a special day because:
1. It is Matthew's birthday (6)
2. It is Aunt Colleen's birthday (undisclosed)
3. Two years ago, Madi was baptized!
We chose this date for a few reasons. It was close to Christmas. It was during the holidays and was easy for our visiting family members. We also felt like it would be easy to remember! The ceremony was performed by Deacon Lee Levenson at St. Vincent Ferrer, our parish. It was also special because Madi's little friend Jackson Roberts was baptized during the same service! With Uncle Andrew as Madi's Godfather and Aunt Colleen standing in for Aunt Kathy, who was unable to make the trip, it was a beautiful and moving service.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jammin' Madi

We had our Murphy family Christmas party last night. Madi received her first guitar as a gift from Aunt Sheila, Uncle David, and cousins Murphy and Myles. Murphy, being the gifted musician that he is, was able to tune it for her. Myles, who plays bass, enjoyed jammin' out with her. She also was able to experiment on Murphy's drums and play piano with them. We are grateful to have musicians in the family!

Baking with Aunt Carol

I don't often bake with Madi. Thankfully, she has two people in her life that adore baking with her--Grandma Murphy and Aunt Carol, our next-door neighbor. Aunt Carol gave Madi this great Santa cooking ensemble and invited her to bake for most of the morning one day over the holidays. It was so much fun for Madi and awesome that Jimmy and I got some housework done!!!

Madi's new hairstyle

Does anyone remember the banana clip phase? Well, I went through it for quite a few years in my early twenties when I had extremely BIG hair. Madi came across my clips the other day, which look like some kind of salad mixing utensils. She loved them instantly and insisted that I put them in her hair. I had to snap a picture just for nostalgic reasons:-)

Madi's Creative Projects

Madi does the funniest, most random things sometimes. This weekend she was gathering lunch bags and wrapping them in Kleenex. Then she would secure them with my hair clips. She collected them in a basket and said she was delivering them to people. Some of them finally ended up in her new set of baby bunk beds she received from Aunt Kathy and Kelsey for Christmas. I think she was still in the spirit of giving!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas

It is so easy to get back to the true meaning of Christmas when you see children sing and praise Jesus. Yesterday, we attended Matthew's Christmas pageant at St. Vincent's. Matthew was a shepherd, and his line was, "Come and worship everyone! Hear the Christmas story of God's son!" He was so precious. All the children were so precious. Madi especially loved the song "Happy Birthday Jesus". She can't wait to be on that stage someday too. Great job, Matthew!

Tag, you're it!

I love this picture! Yesterday we were visiting Grandma and had so much fun playing tag--really it was Madi running back and forth to tag us and we would tag her back. After a while, she started to get frustrated and complained that she didn't want to be it! The beautiful pajama top was an early Christmas gift from Marie and Bob. We had to take the pants off because she was such a little sweaty thing, as usual!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seeing Santa Claus 2008

This year's visit to Santa was amazing, to say the least. We were again joined by Grandma and Grandpa Murphy. Madi embraced Santa wholeheartedly. She waited patiently in line for almost an hour. The longest part of the wait was when we were next and waiting for our turn. I could see her fidgeting with excitement. And finally it was her turn. She walked over to Santa and handed him the rose that she had so proudly brought for him. She handed him some pictures she had drawn (actually they were caricatures of Santa that Jimmy had drawn) that were tied in a golden bow. Then she dove at him and gave him the biggest hug. It was such a moment. I had tears in my eyes, and I know Jimmy did too. She'd come such a long way...

Santa proceeded to ask Madi what she wanted for Christmas, and she was able to tell him about the pinata that she's been hoping for. He quizzed her for more information about her special request. It was all so precious and priceless. Then Santa gave her a jingle bell, and thanked her for coming. Madi was thrilled with the whole experience. I have a feeling Santa's going to bring her more than just a pinata this year. She's been a very, very good girl:-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seeing Santa Claus 2007

Madi's first trip to see Santa was in the company of both sets of Grandparents, her Aunt and Uncle and cousin Matthew. It was not a very pleasant event for Madi with the exception of the family gathering. She had no idea what was going on and insisted that I remain right by her side with Santa. My brother has the disk with the photos, so I'll try to get them and post a photo soon.

Last year was much better. We prepared Madi's wish list in advance. She was a bit tentative when she first laid eyes on Santa, but we assured her everything was fine. She brought her baby Xiao Xiao for the occasion, along with Grandma and Grandpa Murphy. Madi handed Xiao Xiao over to Santa first--to make sure he could be trusted with her precious baby. Then he wooed her with a beautiful silver bell. She was on his lap in no time; although, she still continued to act a bit shy. Madi gave him her list and voiced her requests. It was a wonderful experience.

We went for a great dinner at Legal Seafood and continued shopping in the mall after dinner. Grandma Pauline and I split from Grandpa, Jimmy and Madi to go into a store. When we came out, we couldn't find them. Shortly thereafter, we heard a child yelling, and it was clearly Madi's voice. We then saw Jimmy and Madi running by with Grandpa following behind. Jimmy was holding Madi up and she was shouting, "Tanta! Tanta!" They were chasing Santa Claus, who was about twenty feet in front of them. All of a sudden, she was the bravest kid in the bunch!

Her three requests from Santa last year were: a baby tiger, fizzy water (La Croix, preferably), and M&M's. She was obviously a good girl last year, because Santa delivered all of those things and more!

This year, she wants Santa to bring her a pinata...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We'll miss you, Miss Dawn!

Yesterday's happy news was followed up today by sad news. Miss Dawn, Madi's teacher from her Little Owls class is leaving the YMCA to pursue a better career opportunity. Miss Dawn is a very special person in our book--in many people's books actually. One of our first 'Mommy and Me' classes together was under her leadership. Madi and I took her class together for about 9 months.
Eventually, I decided that I wanted to begin working out, so I began leaving Madi in the babysitting room occasionally. What a painful experience. It was like ripping Madi's heart out, and mine too. She hated that room. I'm still not sure why--the women were very good to her. I suspect there were too many babies, and she wanted to be a big girl.
One day, I walked her to the babysitting room, and she flipped out like she'd never flipped out before. It was probably her fourth or fifth trip there. She took my arm and dragged me down the hall crying for Miss Dawn. I knew that Miss Dawn was teaching a class at the time, but I was in complete shock. Something (Madi) compelled me to walk into Miss Dawn's Little Owls classroom that was in session. We walked in the room, and I know I looked like a deer in the headlights! I just stared at Miss Dawn and said, "Do you take 2 1/2 year olds?" full knowing that the class was for 3 and up. She, like the saint she is, saw the despair on my face and took Madi into the classroom without question and sent me on my way to the gym. My entire workout was filled with confusing thoughts about what I would do next week if Madi flipped out and how I would get out of this one. I felt that I had really gotten myself into a difficult situation. When I went to get Madi after the class, Miss Dawn cheerfully greeted me at the door and announced that Madi did great. She also offered to begin taking Madi into the Little Owls class even though she wasn't 3 yet. Miss Dawn had solved all of my problems!
Madi trusted Miss Dawn in territory that hadn't been treaded before--new places and new faces, and ones without Mommy included. I know there will be many other 'Miss Dawns' throughout Madi's life, but the original Miss Dawn will always hold a special place in our hearts for helping us both deal with the pain of separation. We wish her only the best and we love her dearly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The email we received today...

"Good Morning Mrs. Murphy, I received and interfiled the documentation. Your I-800A application was approved late yesterday. The Approval Notice went out in the mail this morning."

We have been waiting to hear this since August!! What does it mean, you ask? Well, the US Government has given us the 'green light' to adopt again! We still have some hoops to go through--the certification and authentication process--our completed dossier going to Holt, and finally--our dossier going to China, but this is a HUGE step that's been completed so we'll celebrate with a toast tonight!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving in Michigan

On the ride from the airport, Madi began pointing to bridges (overpasses, really). She was obviously moved by this abundance of bridges that she had never seen before, so she came up with, "There are too many bridges in Michigan!!" and she would slap her legs for effect. She complained about the bridges all week, especially because of the fantastic reaction she was getting!

I thought about blogging a few times during our trip, but my heart kept telling me to live in the moment and enjoy every minute with the family. So I did. We had such a nice time in Michigan. We laughed alot. Yes, Madi saw snow--not a lot of snow, but she saw snow fall out of the sky. We met Kelsey's boyfriend, Nick, who is very sweet and good to Kelsey. He gets a thumbs-up from the Aunt and Uncle in Florida (and from Madi too:). Refer to the slideshow for photos.

The puppies were very cute. Madi loved Hogan (aka Hoggin) and Hollister and slept with Aunt Kathy and the puppies every night. We would hear them get up in the morning to take care of the puppies and make them scrambled eggs. Kathy makes them each a scrambled egg every day. You heard me--they eat a better breakfast than most people! Madi was constantly saying, "I love you boy" and "I love you girl" in her special little accent. Madi was Kathy's "little helper" all week. Kathy let her have a hand in everything just about. She was an award-winning Aunt, to say the least, and Madi was glued to her all week. Kathy was playing with her constantly.

We went out for a couple of really, really good dinners with Kathy and Kelsey, and Nick joined us one of the evenings. Madi was a champ at both restaurants we went to. She was praised pretty much everywhere she went and received special treatment because of her behavior. Yes folks, me bragging again about my daughter!!! On our way home from dinner one night, we drove through some neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. We found one house that was absolutely decked out in Thanksgiving theme. We had never seen anything like it. Please check out the picture in the slideshow. Anyway, Madi was so impressed that she asked us if she could draw them a picture. The next day, she proceeded to draw them some pictures and insisted that we deliver the pictures to the house. So, we drove over and walked up to their door (which had a 'no soliciting' sign!), and rang the bell. The homeowner answered and glared at us as if we were solicitors--until I explained our motive and the fact that we were visitors from Florida. He seemed pleased enough with the delivery, and Madi was extra-pleased with her good deed.

Thanksgiving dinner was spent at home with Kathy, Kelsey, and Kathy's best friend Gary. Gary is a wonderful, kind-hearted man who we've known for many years now. He is absolutely hilarious and always adds levity to our family gatherings. We love his company. Anyway, it was just the six of us, and it was perfect. We wore our most comfortable clothes and adhered to no schedule. Kathy single-handedly made a wonderful spread for all of us.

On the ride back to the airport, we decided to count the bridges. We counted 141. Turns out Madi was right about the bridges afterall! Kathy and Kelsey, I know there is so much more to add. We have so many funny things to remember and reflect on that I could blog on forever!! Thanks for a wonderful time.