Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lucy's "Recital"

Lucy has been working very diligently to learn a new song on the piano to surprise Daddy for Christmas.  I decided early on in the learning process that we would pretend like she was preparing for a big "recital," and that getting dressed up, introducing herself and the song, and entering and exiting the "stage" were a must! Lucy loved this idea, and it motivated her to work really hard!

It was great fun teaching her the song, and even more fun watching her enthusiasm and excitement as she prepared for the big reveal and eventually reached her goal.   She worked especially hard on the correct fingering,  the flats, and reaching those high notes with her tiny little hands. After much practice, some difficulties and frustrations, and a ton of progress, here it is......... "Silent Night:"

(Brian loved it!)

Lucy's "Recital" from Karen on Vimeo.

From all of us at the Barnes' household, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Five Years Ago

My Dear Lucy,

It was five years ago that we met for the first time.........

From the moment you entered our hearts, there was never a doubt that we loved you. 

We always had such faith and confidence that you were the missing piece for our family......that you were how our family was supposed to be formed.  And I can honestly say that five years later, I feel the exact same way.  The three of us fit together perfectly.

At that time when we first met , there was so much that we didn't know about you. We had yet to learn who you were , what your personality would be like , what your interests would be.......

To say that it has been an utter joy to be your mom these past five years , and to get to know you and learn all  about you , is an understatement.

Your sensitive spirit may be one of the things that most defines you. You feel deeply, and hurt when you know others are hurting. In other words, you don't like it when you know Mommy or Daddy (or anyone for that matter) are upset about something. I hope that as your parents we can always respect and nurture this side of you.

Your enthusiasm for learning --and all things new-- is to be admired. You literally have asked me on numerous occasions lately when you are going to get more homework! Let's hope this persists!  In general , your excitement about things is quite infectious.

Your animated spirit (they called it "spicy" in your province in China) is equally contagious.  There usually is never a doubt how you feel about something---your face and your gestures leave no one questioning!   Sometimes the scowling and frowning need some redirection , but we will take the bad with the good , as  when you are happy or excited or loving , it is so beautiful to witness and receive. 

Another thing about your sweet self , Lucy , is that ever since you were a baby , your need to be with us and cuddled and held is something we have cherished. While at times this can be problematic (like when we have to be separated), and this probably speaks to some of your history, it is usually something that all who know and love you have no problem indulging.

You are easy to love, Lucy.  It has been the joy of our lives to have these last five years to do just that.

Did I mention that you often like to walk to the beat of your own drum?  Like the fact that when everyone else in your class said they would like a dog or cat or fish as their pet of choice , you said "lamb?" 

And lately, you have been showing more and more courage and bravery.   You have wanted to take risks and show your abilities to do new things.  Like in gymnastics with flipping over the bar all on your own.  Or , what about the fact that you got it stuck in your head-- months ago-- that you wanted your ears pierced?  I thought maybe this was a phase and you would outgrow the notion.  Yet even with the knowledge of what goes into getting your ears pierced,  you weren't changing your mind.  You wanted to do it!

So your dad and I decided:   let's let her go for it!. And what better time and day to do it , then on our special Forever Family Day/5 year anniversary?

Your courage and bravery came shining through with this........

And so did you enthusiastic and contagious spirit.  It has been beaming out of you these past few weeks.  You have literally been counting down the days.....getting so excited every time the thought enters your mind that you are actually going to get your ears pierced.  "I can't believe I am going to do this!" was an incessant phrase that your dad and I have been hearing!

I had it all planned out.  I had even called Claire's the day before , to make sure there would be two people working and they could do both ears at the same time.  (There was concern you may not want to do the second ear if we did them one at a time. ) 

When we got to Claires , a glitch surfaced.  It seems the second worker had chipped a tooth (really?) and was not there.  "Would you like to come back tomorrow, Lucy, when two people will be here?"   You were having none of that idea!  You had been waiting and waiting!  You were ready to go and would just deal with one piercing at a time!  I have to admit, I was a bit surprised about this. Your courage impressed me!

Off to the races you went.... picking out your earrings:

Daddy consoled you and calmed your fears when they bubbled up over your excitement :

You thought it felt funny and "cool" when they were cleaning your ears....

Here you are getting ready and promising Erin (the Claires employee) that you would  go through with the second ear after she gets the first one done.......

Marking the ears....


I kept telling you "the anticipation is going to be worse than the event---so lets just do this!"

And, here she goes!!!!!

Erin was fantastic!  She went quick, so you hardly had time to think about the pain in between ear one and ear two.  Here you are trying to decide if you should cry or not.....

But in the end----no tears were shed!   Brave girl!

On a compositional note, I am just so thrilled that the pretty model lady on the wall is in all of our pictures with us!
Once it sunk in that it was done, and you actually had your ears pierced...well, complete and utter joy and excitement!    ALLLLL night long!  It was so contagious and pleased your dad and I so.

Afterwards we took you to your fave places to eat, to complete our celebration of five years together as a family..... Dewey's Pizza:

and Graters Ice Cream.   I would say the entire day was just about perfect.  But only because you are such a joy, and your bravery and excitement added so much to the entire celebration.  

Thank you Lucy, for being the biggest blessing of your dad and I's life.

We love you,
Mama and Daddy

In other news, there has been lots of celebrating and preparation going on around here.

It was so fun to have Papa, Aunt Lisa and Lindsay here for Thanksgiving.  I regret not taking more pictures , but this was one that I did take, and I am glad about that. We had a special place at the Thanksgiving table for my Mom.  She wouldn't have liked the fuss, but she is always so present in my mind (especially at holidays) and I decided I wanted a visual reminder. 

And of course, with December upon us, many of our annual traditions have kicked in.  Like going to the mall with Abby to see Santa:

For those of you with older children and out of the phase of taking your kids to see Santa at the mall, I'd like to take a moment for a public service announcement.

To the detriment of the season, the entire process has become very commercialized and  annoying (for the parents, mind you, not the kiddos).  I wasn't aware that I needed to go online in advance to get a "reservation" to see Santa.  Yes, really.  Therefore, we had a good 30 minute wait.

Also, I  wasn't aware that if you decide to take pictures of your child with Santa, you will be scolded and shoo'ed away with "NO Pictures allowed!"  You either buy their $30 picture package, or no picture!   Yes, really---again!

Below is my attempt at getting a picture while being shoo'ed away----the rebel Catholic-school-girl side of me does not die easily!

Despite the drama for this Mama, the girls enjoyed themselves. 

Next, our annual trip to Big Tree Plantation to cut down our Christmas tree......

The weather was actually quite pleasant, compared to years past.  Although the white snow is more picturesque, I was happy with the warmer temps!

Here's our tree!  All 10 feet of her in her glory!!!!

Here is Brian cutting it down and Lucy watching.  At some point I realized: he is cutting, and Lucy is right there, and I am taking pictures, and a tree is about to fall!  Maybe I had better get off the camera and help before it topples on my daughter!

Mission accomplished!

And lastly, our annual trip to Iron's Fruit Farm to make gingerbread houses.  As usual, the lighting is awful in this place (nothing that their apple cinnamon donuts don't make up for!), so the pics aren't all that great. (This photographer still doesn't know what she is doing....)  But I cherish the memories of this, so had to post.   Lucy and Abby just loooove doing this.  And for the price (only $8!!!)  it is sooo worth it!

Here's to a great month of December......

And a prayer for all our family and friends that they have a blessed Christmas season (with no mall Santa drama)!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Monthly Visits

My sister and I made a deal awhile back :  that we would do our best to see each other once a month.  Living only two hours apart, this has been a pretty attainable goal for us so far. Lately, our monthly visits have turned more into bi-weekly visits.  It has been wonderful..... no complaining here!   The blessing of these visits can best be summed up in one way :  by watching the ease and comfort and love shared between Lucy and her Papa, Aunt, and cousins.  It is priceless!   I am so glad that lately our monthlies have become weeklies!

As a result, my camera has been working overtime! And I have to admit, some of the editing and organizing of my photos got lost in the shuffle!   But finally, I am caught up!

This was a fun outing we took to Connor Prairie in Indy.... a must-do activity for any Fall enthusiast.

Per their website, Connor Prairie is the "nation's finest outdoor living history museum."  They really know how to do it up right in the Fall!

Interactive music jams are just one of the many things we partook in....

Lindsay's rock star boyfriend, Luke, joined us.  As captain of their high school soccer team, he lead them all the way to the state championships----and they won!  for the second year in a row!  and he scored two of the three winning goals! But he would never tell you any of this , which is why I am! Yeah, like I said , he is rock star......

The hay ride is the best this side of the Mississippi , complete with a headless horseman chasing you on his horse, and a great tour of the beautiful grounds.

We also went to an old log cabin, in the dark, lit by candlelight, and listened to haunted ghost stories.   Lisa and I were laughing because it probably wasn't the most appropriate thing for Lucy.   You win some--- you lose some!

These puppets looked a little creepy to Lucy when I showed her the picture below, but she was not complaining during the show!  This is the second time now that we have seen a Stevens Puppets show; they are unforgettable!   The owners do all the creating and maintaining of the marionette puppets, as well as developing the shows, which are interspersed with hilarious adult humor.

This was "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

We also went to an open house recently at Lindsay's High School, so we could hear her choir perform.  This is Lindsay with one of her BFF's from grade school, Audrey.

Awwwwwwhhhhh.....How much does this girl love her Papa?

And how much does she adore her Aunt Lisa?

Lindsay's choir, "Golden Voice," did not disappoint.  They were incredible!  And,  if we just so happen to live in Indy when it is time for Lucy to go to high school, she will without a doubt go to Guerin.  This school is so filled with the Spirit.  The teenagers are unbelievable! I just loooove this school!

And if  Lucy doesn't go there, then I will just settle for making her the official representative :

(picture courtesy of Aunt Lisa)