The weather here today (and, in reality, most of this week) has been pretty lousy; it’s pelting down rain and the wind is blowing right now. We’re trying to make the best of it by getting caught up on stuff that just seems to have been overtaken or lost in the scramble these past couple of months.
I was going through some pictures our friend John took during the course of the soccer season; pictures of most of our team and quite a few of Li. He got quite a few really good ones; here are a couple.
ThisÂ picture of Li has to have been taken on one of the few halfway decent days on which we had matches, given what she’s wearing and given that her hair isn’t streaming out behind her from the wind. Until the final two weeks of the season, most of the matches were played in some combination of extreme wind, rain, or snow.
Given the generally lousy weather we saw all season — I can remember only two practice sessions all season that I was there in shorts without warmups — it was somewhat fitting that we closed our season out on the Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend with an early match under grey skies and light showers at the State Cup tournament. The exception to that was a local tournament a week ahead of State Cup, where we did get to play in relatively warm weather and under sunny skies. This picture of Ian is one of the few John got where the players aren’t all wearing at least one layer under their uniforms.
I’m headed for DC for most of this next week, and as much as I like DC, I’m not looking forward to being gone.
I just never know what I might find when I walk into our living room. Leave a two year old little girl with a developing love of “the beautiful game” — although I think at this point, her love of the game is based on the fact that her adored big brother Ian plays and every match is an opportunity for her to get to spend a couple of hours outside — alone in a room with a box full of new balls and look what happens…
Soccer is in full swing at this point, occupying a big chunk of our lives, and has been accompanied by the usual early Spring soccer weather: snow, wind, rain, wind, sleet, wind, rain, snow, hail, clouds, wind, and the occasional explosion of a ray of sunshine poking through the clouds. Despite the lousy weather so far this season, Li hasn’t missed any of Ian’s matches. She must dream about it, as well; one morning last week when we brought her in to snuggle up in her little bed in our room at about 2:00 AM, she mumbled “Watch soccer?” in her sleep.
The weather has finally begun to turn to something resembling spring, noticeable particularly just these past couple days. I’m guessing we’ve yet a few snow flurries to suffer through before we can really say, “It’s over!” but it is nice to see the occasional crocus without snow, the lawn greening up (slowly), and the first early signs of leaves beginning to bud on one of our trees. With highs in the upper 50’s, we’ve been able to open windows and let some of that wonderful fresh air in, as well. Deb’s outside right now, doing some early season work in the beds and I know the lengthening and warming days are good for both her and Li.
Li has been sleeping significantly better over the past month or so, with only two or three nights that I would call poor. She’s to the point where she usually wakes up around 2:00 AM and we bring her in to sleep in a small bed in our room for the rest of the night. That change alone has made a big difference for all of us, as we don’t feel nearly as sleep deprived as we have until recently. She’s counting to 10, enjoys showers (in addition to her more-normal bathtime), is stringing more and more words together, has finally learned the word “No” (we knew, unfortunately, that would come eventually), and is showing a more varied palette when it comes to mealtime (although, I think she’d live on homemade apple cider and homemade apple sauce if we let her).
We spent Easter last year in Guangzhou, China as we were in the midst of our adoption journey to make Li part of our family and to bring her to a new life here with us. Although we didn’t attend worship on that Easter Sunday last year, we were definitely thinking about the parallels between what she was going through and our own adoption into God’s family.
Again this year, as we celebrate Easter — admittedly in a more traditional way — and talked this morning in Bible study about why this day means so much to us, I am reminded of the parallels… and I am reminded how profoundly these simple acts of love have changed us in untold ways.
A year ago yesterday, we were handed a little girl, bundled up in about 5 layers of clothes. We were already in love with her; it took her a little longer… within a matter of seconds, she started screaming and didn’t stop for several hours until, exhausted, she fell asleep on my chest in our hotel room in China. Our lives haven’t been the same since.
What a difference a year makes. Those first few days were tough for all of us (and probably tough for the people in the hotel rooms near ours!), but bolstered by the prayers of friends and family, we all survived. She is still a very “spirited” young lady, and there are many aspects of that strong will and personality that we started getting to know a year ago that show through every day. She has grown in every aspect of her development, and that growth has been matched only by the growth of our love for her.
We celebrated “Gotcha Day” with my parents this past weekend; we celebrate this incredible gift we have been given every single day.