Sunday, October 14, 2018

nopety nope nope

I don't like halloween at all.

Not one little bit in fact.

But I do love to decorate.

And I do love to craft and make stuff.

So in that mindset, Halloween isn't so bad and it does kick off the decorating frenzy that is the holidays.

A couple of years ago I bought some little rectangular blocks of wood at a craft shop and some people-ish shaped pieces and after a few hours the girls and I, mainly Rosie and I had sawed, sanded and painted a spooky halloween town. I store all the little pieces in a tin and it has become a favourite moment that I just love when I take off the lid each year and look at all the designs within.

Yesterday I decided we were lacking in the decor department so I ran to Joanns and picked up some cheesecloth and little polystyrene balls and voila, some ghosts were born.

You can keep your scary Halloween and I'll celebrate with a cute hallo-weenie

Saturday, October 6, 2018

a day with my big

Lily has an assignment due for art class in college and in order to be able to do it she needed to visit an art museum. Today we checked that of of her list and her and I had a really lovely day together.

I didn't take my camera as I assumed that no photos would be the order of the day. I was wrong, the only exhibit that was camera restricted was the Picasso gallery.

Perez Art Museum of Miami. PAMM
First you must goof around in the car wash display.
I ♥️♥️♥️this shot of my big. 
crazy right?
so many tiny details. Must have been one helluva night before. hah
I could have spent hours just looking
this is off to the left 
and this just as you walk into the collection
this looks curved from this angle but its a flat piece on a wall.
this look Holocaust-ish and very grim. Yet at the same time a certain whimsy came from it
because why not?
eye catching
I looked at this from across the room and said to Lily, hah, welcome to the 80's. She went and looked and said, mum you were right. Well hell yes, every Coconut Grove art show back them had this stuff. 
My absolute favourite installment.
there were so many people traipsing through that I laid my phone in the floor and took whatever was above.
Hew Locke is the artist and it's time for me to find more of his work.
Truly a fun and giggly afternoon with Lily. Tomorrow I turn myself over to the Little as she has a science fair project due...gag gag gag. I need to drive her all over town gathering her samples.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

lifes most significant moment

When I close my eyes I can transport my mind back 15 years, with perfect clarity.

Every last detail is as alive and raw as it was, 15 years ago today. The nerves, jitters, guarded excitement, and the love. The love has grown exponentially.

I didn't sleep much the night before, partly because of the time difference but mainly because I was a hot mess of what if's. I got up and went downstairs for coffee, who the hell could eat with a day ahead as gargantuan as mine?  Many of the families were still arriving and our room turned into operation baby day and was a hub of activity.  Families we had been in touch with through conference calls from our agency and through emails. Some we had got to know quite well and others we knew nothing about but here we were all gathering in a hotel room in Wuhan China  and all with one thing on our mind, 2 o'clock and being downstairs and waiting for the bus.

And just like that it happened, it was time.  I have never been so nervous and excited at the same time, there really does need to be one word for this emotion.  As the bus drew closer the the Civil Affairs Office you could have heard a pin drop. 12 families that were so lively just an hour before were all feeling the magnitude of the moment
 The bus stopped and we walked towards a building. A modern high rise, which seemed like a weird place to me, so very un-Chinese. We couldn't all fit in one lift so we took two and as soon as we stepped out 2 things struck me, the oppressive heat and the sound of babies.  I must have chanted in my head, please let her be here, please let her be here, over and over. I had been trying to prepare for the moment when the Chinese officials called my name and said, no baby for you, we changed our minds. That room was hot. Wuhan is known as one of the 4 furnaces of China and it wasn't about to disappoint. We had had daily temperatures well over the hundreds, one day it was 111 degrees and the top was 116. No A/C and a bag of nerves made things HOT.

No time to focus on that, the room was suddenly bustling and our guide told us the babies were being brought in. I wanted to puke I was absolutely terrified I would leave with empty arms. 
An official started to talk and then Kathy, our guide, would translate to English. The lady didn't stop talking and I couldn't concentrate. I remember trying so hard to listen but I would hear 2 words and check out over and over. Please stop talking please just tell me, is there a baby for us, for me?

And then in they came, being carried by their Ayi's. I scanned the crowd for her face, some many little ones, so many nannies, where was she? And then I saw her face.

JacobDawnCope, one word. We were called to the front and handed Li Yu Ni. She was mine. My heart was complete in that one moment, she was mine forever. This child that was born in my heart and had taken so many years to appear in front of me was right there. She was handed to the unhusband and I wanted to grab her but I knew I would scare her even more. 

As my world pivoted to the right way up, hers went crashing to the ground. Handed to a complete stranger who looked so different, smelled so different and sounded so different she panicked and started to cry and the cry turned to sobs as she whipped her head from right to left to find out where her people had gone. But we were her people now and she had no idea what to do. I kissed my finger and ran it down her cheek, I wanted to smother her in kisses but knew it would just upset her more. She was in my arms and I could feel her tiny heart beating out of her chest in fear, I could smell her for the first time and feel her. It was without a doubt the best moment of my entire life up to that point. Time stood still and baby after baby was handed over but I knew nothing. I wanted to run up to the roof and scream, I have a daughter, I am a MUMMY, do you hear me? 

And just like that we were going back down in the lift and back to the bus. 

I was a parent to one hot sticky little girl who was terrified and crying but still the most amazing perfect child in the world. She fell asleep on the bus and didn't wake up until long after she was in the hotel room. She looked around, appeared to think, oh no, this isn't a dream it is really happening and burst into tears.   This time she was consolable and at the moment my girl started to emerge, show her personality and her likes and dislikes. 

I found a pay phone and called my father and said, Daddy, we have her and she is absolutely beautiful and he said, of course she is she is one of us.  ( just writing that makes me cry)

I walked on air, nervously but on air for hours. 

Lily Yu Ni Cope, I love you more that you will ever know, I admire you, the person you have become. You are tenacious and vocal, those traits never changed. You are fiercely loyal to those you love and an incredibly open minded caring individual. You know what you want and how to get it, you have no time for small minded and petty. Discrimination of any kind sends you spinning. You are so amazingly bright and so absolutely gorgeous. You push my buttons like no one else and you make me laugh until my cheeks hurt. You are the most uncoordinated kid I know and every time you say, but I'm getting so much better we both laugh. Your role as big sister is one that you cherish and take great pride in. You show compassion as if its a fashion trend, don't ever stop. The adjectives attached to you are endless but the description of you I like the most is, you are my daughter. 

I love you kid, thank you for allowing me to be your mum.

To all the other families of the White Rose Club, happy family/gotcha/love Day.  It is an honour to share this day with you and an even bigger honour to have you in our lives. The bond is truly like no other.

And so, in no particular order I share with you my heart.
Guangzhou China, her last day of being an only child
a random shot from Buttefly World.
Family has always been very important to Lily and she adores my brother and his  late partner.
Grandpa. No words needed
Snow...oh the squeals. Boston
Grand Cayman.
Fort Myers
The lighthouse at Bill Baggs
7th grade
Tuanfeng SWI. ( her orphanage ) It's rare to get photos, I am so lucky
Her empty eyes sadden me also at the SWI
her crib.
England this summer
her 13th birthday
grand Cayman
8th grade prom
Harvard Square 2 years ago
Matheson hammock
One of my all time favourite shots. We had been home for 3 months and were starting to venture out. Nicolas is  the son of one of my closest friends. These 2 were quite a pair. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

first week down

Holy mother of god, this has been one long arsed  first week of school but we made it.

Rosie is fine, loving it. She realises that middle school offers some independence and the opportunity to make some of your own decisions. It also allows for a tiny bit of freedom before classes start and also at dismissal. She, so far, likes her classes and her teachers so is giving everything an A+ rating. I'm proud of her and how she has taken it all on the chin, once it got started. I also am not surprised as she truly has come so far.

Lily has taken the return to school on the chin but the changes for her have been harder. For almost 2 years she worked at home, worked at her speed ( which was always on track and most often accelerated) and did things when she wanted to too. For example, Mum, where are you going? I'm going to work and then to run errands and I'll be home. Oh, can I come, of course. And she would and sometimes school work would happen en route to these things and sometimes it would happen when she got home. I always kept her on a strictish schedule but always allowed her some freedom.

Well now she has HAS to be on the bus  by 8.10, in this class and that meeting, at particular times she doesn't have an entire curriculum to work through at her speed she has the teachers curriculum and homework schedule in their time. It took a few days for the perfectionist to find her groove and she still is a little  way to go but all in all it's coming together.

Some first week hiccups:
* no school bus at all for Lily on the first day.
* AP BC Calculus was giving her a fit but she spoke to someone and sorted it all out
* the little arsehole that has taken to calling Rosie, Chink.
* my work schedule was pure insanity and I wasn't around for them as much as normal.

Some first week highs:
* Both are loving the independence
* Both are making friends....even Lily!!!
* Both are extremely happy
* they are happy so I am elated.

Ok we are ready lets do this
I'm ready Mumma
cool as a cucumber...externally
And so part of my heart was ready to take on the 2018-2019 school year.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

every damn year

Every single year since Lily started school something is inevitable and that inevitable thing is that summer is over way too fast.

I love travelling with the kids, I love seeking out the next adventure and more than anything I just love being with them. I am not the mum who says, OMG summer is going to be so long, I cannot wait for them to go back to school. I will say that it will be nice to have Lily in school again as she has homeschooled for the last 2 and I have never been alone as she was always there. I truly loved it but sometimes if it was a long day and I just needed a quiet place to hide, I couldn't cos the kiddo was there and she needed someone to talk to.

Tonight the lunches are made, the book bags filled and the uniform and clothes set out. We have been sticking to a school schedule for the last week so that tonight doesn't come as a shock, or worse, tomorrow morning doesn't kill them.

I loved this summer, every single day.

I don't want it to end but growth is part of life and they need to grow. This time tomorrow I will be regaled by the first day stories and school will once again be the norm.

Sunday, July 29, 2018


We came back from England and 3 days later the girls went on their annual Boston Maine trip with the unhusband. They were gone for 10 days and 2 days after they got back my cousin Stephens 2 daughters arrived. To say it has been a brilliant summer would be an understatement.

If you aren't from here it's possible that you don't know that the summer in Florida is our rainy season. Its hot and humid, the sun doesn't always shine and the thunderstorms are of epic proportion.

The girls got into the swing of things pretty darned quick and realised if they wanted to do things, waiting for the rain to stop was not an option. So we did all kinds of crazy stuff in the pouring rain and once, accidentally during a storm. Since they have been here many times their bucket list was short and concise and I was pretty damned sure I could make it all happen plus plus. And I did.

Airboat ride in the rain
jealous of the fabulous fashion statements huh?
so many big giggles and smiles for miles 
glasses and rain...urghhh
after the boat ride we went to see the the rain
better you than me pally
baby gator
and just like that the rain stopped and the sun came out.

High on the bucket list was Pennekamp. It was raining a steady non Florida sort of rain at home so I said lets just head south, it's always nicer in the Keys. Hah. Not so much
we headed out, 2 kayaks and a paddleboard
when out of nowhere this massive thunder freaking storm blows in.
visibility, well there was  no visibility
the rain pummelled and it hurt and we all laughed so much
Peace again
the photos are blurry cos the rain and my phone was in a wet bag but it was messy
rain doesn't stop fun
Sophie and Rose two man boarding...who knew there was such a thing.
Lily attempting to get on too

Next day was bowling. Funny how that happened as there was no rain at all that day.
I loved this bowling alley, really flash
these 2 are hilarious together
It's so easy to get to the Keys from where we live and I find life down there is quieter and I love that so we headed south frequently.
this was such a fun day
that's a big lobster
Robbies is famous for it's tarpon feeding, but if you look closely at these next few you will see that Lily fed herself to the tarpon
nom nom nom
at this moment Katie turned to offer her fish to Rosie as she was D.O.N.E.
those monster fish have teeny teeth.....luckily
always the over achiever.
Love Robbies
the sister is missing, she was having a moment
I'm not actually sure how many trips we made to Pennekamp and how many things we did that I failed to photograph. I do know that we did some heavy duty shopping, well the girls did and we ate at lots of restaurants. I would facebook with my cousin almost daily and we would remind of things they wanted to do. Half the time they did and half the time they didn't. All I know is it was great fun, great fun. We laughed a lot and the girls really got to know each other. Next time Stevie O Im sending mine to you