my oil slick birthday party.

this morning was like a mirage. it was 7:30am and there was silence. pure, blissful silence. no one was stirring, not even a mouse. (geeze, i hope there aren't any mice to stirr).
i layed in bed as still as possible. afraid to even open an eye and make a noise that only a sleeping child could hear. i breathed deep. i sunk deeper into my squishy feather pillow and rolled to the middle of the bed (which is clearly the best part of any mattress.)
an impromptu late-sleeping-morning is exactly what a mom needs. this mom especially. it's something we haven't seen in ages...and after the last 2 weeks, i need it like little boys need muddy hands.

and then i heard it. exactly what you never EVER want to hear in the morning before you have appropriate clothing on. before you have brushed your teeth or glanced in a mirror. before your kids have stirred from blissful slumber.
a knock at the door.
i'm not gonna lie. i pretended for a moment or two that i didn't hear it.
then it got louder. and louder.
a third LOUD knock threw me out of bed, flying down the stairs as i chased some sort of sweatpants up my legs.

"good morning peco gas heater installer dude. nice to meet you. i'm the tenant, although i probably look more like a half awake monster at this point in time. disregard my shocked expression as i totally forgot you were coming today. don't mind me while i run back upstairs in my strange assortment of attire to put on something that more closely resembles clothing and then carry 3 crying children downstairs for breakfast...since they are now all awake at the exact same time, thanks to your thundering wake up call. please track your oily shoes all through the house on my freshly scrubbed floors en route to the basement. and by all means, bring 3 of your friends in the front door and have them track oil through the house as well.
it's going to take you 2 entire days to tear out the old 1920's oil drum and install the new gas heater? that's awesome. perfect in fact. i have nothing planned today or tomorrow. in fact, we sit around quietly all day, we don't need to use the kitchen and i don't get all strung out in stressful situations. today is a perfect day for you to start this messy project.
oh and today is my birthday.
yes, it's very nice to meet you."

i wish i were kidding. but that was how our morning started.
thankfully, it didn't end that way.
this little lady charmed our tears and stress away.

we are on day 11 post surgery.
there must be something magical about day 11.
hope has arrived.
my girl is back.
she looks at me like the little girl i know....she looks at me and smiles...she plays games and snuggles against me for a moment or two when she needs a rest. she giggles. she meanders and plays. she gets into stuff and pulls at my stacks of paperwork. she writes on things with a stray crayon.
she doesn't scream when i put her down.
she doesn't scream when i pick her up.
oh dear Lord, you're awesome. You gave us back our girl.
and You added a some surprise perks.
like this little number she has been rocking constantly...the super cheese smile.

it arrived a few days post surgery...as if her mouth does new things since being stitched anew.
she flashes this goofy smile and gets a good laugh from all of us, much to her delight.

it was thanks to this lovely lady at breakfast that our mood changed from "oil slick nightmare" to "it's a lovely day to be together."
she's back.
i couldn't be happier.

the morning was filled with crazy monkey fights and boys who pick out their own clothes.

and little girls who innately know how to nurture and feed a baby a bottle

this is one of my favorite all time photos...it should be filed in the dictionary under "contagious joy"

(ps, i have been thinking often of the day i posted this...i was dreaming of this day...TODAY...when i could finally see my girl snuggling miss flora. oh it brings me to tears to see it actually happening)

we've also had a strange assortment of food today. it's all i can manage to scavenge round the oil barrel remnants that are currently taking my kitchen hostage.

including something i swore my kids would never eat...the prepackaged pb&j. in my freezer because they were given to us (and i can't turn down anything for free), i pulled those babies out and for once, i was thankful for the ole frozen sandwich conspiracy.

speaking of my kitchen (rabbit trail ahead), one of my dearest friends gave us the best gift when we moved into our house, and every time i use my kitchen, i smile. she is one of the most loving and generous people i've ever met...and she's also insanely organized...i'm totally in awe of her.
she came over, emptied all the craziness out of my cabinets, and put it all back in incredibly organized (and labeled) bins. it rocks. everything has a place and everything in it's place. now i actually have a room in my home that can use that saying.

our kitchen is ugly. like seriously ugly. and since we are renting, i'm still debating if i want to invest the time in making it a bit better looking. until then, i treasure my lovely bins and perfect shelves.

** and last but not least **
i just simply must say again how much i appreciate all of the words of encouragement, emails, phone calls, texts, etc. in fact, i needed the encouragement more than i realized.  it makes a difficult few weeks feel lighter knowing we have a community of friends, weather we have met in person or not, who care...care about our family and this sweet warrior girl of ours.

she's quite captivating.

i've said it before, many times. but it's truer of her than i have ever experienced.

i have random strangers coming up to us in target, the grocery store, church...asking if they can meet her because they just can't quite keep their eyes off of her. sometimes it's hard to focus because i'm still so entranced by her. she has something so unique and fascinating about her. she's so delicate and fragile, and yet you can sense her inner strength in a way that makes you want what she's got...that special something that can't be learned or taught...she's got "it."

i think that's what i have missed most since her surgery. the void of her amazingness. her pain has been so tangible, we are all hurting with her. i never knew what it was like to grieve with a child...to walk through their pain and not be able to change it or make it go away. i've never had a child push me away in their deepest sorrow, but also not want me to leave...and i have been constantly praising God that we can live this with her.

i'm off to do some more of this...


  1. those bottle pictures are amazing. I remember when you posted on Flora too...I shortly afterwards ordered one for my girl...wish my girl would play with it instead of her creepy old plastic doll!

    This was such a fun post to read - her joy is contagious!

  2. the first part CRACKED me up. and the rest was just heartwarming. thank God for his beautiful mercy. :)

  3. I'm so pleased day 11 turned out the way it did - well, after the men arrived, anyway. Your birthday today ? Happy Birthday to you. Maybe this was emery's gift to you to see her back to herself again. With you saying that you're renting, does this mean you're going to have to move again soon - oh my goodness, your last 6 months have been so hectic. It's such a joy hearing you talk about your little one - the love just radiates in your words. I've got no idea what's ahead with the next surgery so please don't think I'm sprouting any sure knowledge but I'm thinking that maybe now you've finally reached your/her day 11 - next time will hopefully not as be as traumatic in the way that you know there'll be a day 11 coming, if that makes sense. Hey, and I love what your friend did for your cupboards, if she could fly a few thousand miles and pop over here to do the same thing I'd be most appreciative.

  4. I have been following your story since before you went to get her and it's so great to see her doing well! She's a doll!

  5. emery lin looks so happy in these pictures, in fact everyone looks so happy and loved. So happy to hear things post surgery are going well. xox

  6. Contagious joy is right - I can't help but smile too! It's so sweet to see Emery playing with her doll. I bet that was an awesome moment for you!

  7. Life at your house looks so fun and comforting. Your kids are so blessed Angie!!! :)

  8. Boo to the loud knocking and grungy men workin' in your basement...but yay! to see your little girlie smiling and happy! :) Glory to God!
    Happy Birthday! :)

  9. Happy Birthday! Wonderful to hear E is back to herself!

  10. Praise God for day 11. What an absolute blessing and treasure. She does have "it". You can just see it when she lights up. Such a beauty and such a warrior (just like you said). I love your boys too.. Even though it's Emery's big moment here, I love seeing how they are doing (being an all boy mom myself of course) and our youngest boys seem to both be very much alike. My son Eli is notorious for rocking his rain boots in any weather and with any outfit. LOVE that! Have a blessed weekend.



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