First family photos!

Here is a sneak peek at our first family photos. Jamie Brown of "Apple of my eye" photography was the amazing artist behind the camera.

We are thrilled!! And so in love with this precious gift from God, Abigail Mei Robinson!

What have we been up to?

Life has been full and fun, with momentary temper tantrums (by the child, though sometimes secretly by Mama too, where the child can't see her) and a whole lotta lovin'. On Friday, Sept. 28, we will have been home from China for two months, and we will have been a family for 2.5 months. It honestly feels like we've been a family since Abi was born. There has been so much bonding in each of our hearts for each other that it's now hard to imagine that we ever lived without her.

Our days consist primarily of: Breakfast, walk, play, lunch, nap, play, dinner, play, bedtime. The "play" sometimes includes friends with their children, and other times it's just the two of us. I definitely try to get out every day though! We both go crazy if we don't. :) I will admit though, sometimes I just want to stay inside because it's much easier than getting us both ready and out the door. :) I also do housework while Abi has her own playtime each day. I've also learned that getting up before everyone else gets up allows me to have some quiet time to myself, a nice cup of coffee, and some delicious time with Jesus. This makes a big difference in the way my day starts, and in my day in general. Also, during Abi's nap time, I usually spend an hour of it reading or taking steps to some dreams of mine, and an hour of it doing a project around the house. I've really enjoyed that time too.

Our weeks will now consist of therapy one to three times a week centered mainly around helping her gain greater mobility and useability with her right arm and hand from the brachial plexus injury that took place during childbirth delivery. She has already progressed so much and has a lot of use with both her arm and hand. But more therapy is needed. We had two therapy appointments last week, and we have three this week. Then it'll go to twice a week for her arm/hand, and hopefully she's also going to get language help since English is her second language so it is coming in slowly.

We are now sleep training Abi after getting the blessing from our social worker. I felt she was ready for it, but wanted the professional opinion from an adoption expert. My social worker said she was ready! So we started the Ferber approach. Abi is doing great so far, though it definitely includes around 7 minutes of crying. It's hard on Mama and Baba, but we know it is in Abi's very best interest to learn to self-sooth and put herself to sleep. It builds confidence, creates milestones, empowers Abi down the road, and most of all - gives her a really great night's sleep which is critical to healthy growth and development. So, we do our usual routine of bath, books and cuddling, then I put her in her crib awake (though she is tired and ready to be in her crib), and then I say I love you and good-night, and leave the room. If she isn't asleep within 7 minutes, I go back in and comfort her by rubbing her back for a minute, then leave again, and this time for a few minutes longer. But so far, she has fallen asleep within 7 minutes. I'm excited for her for when she feels confident and comforted and can just fall asleep without crying. I know the day will come.

We've started some "Love and Logic" methods (Jim Fay / Dr. Foster Cline) and Loving On Purpose (Danny Silk) on Abi with a few of her behavior issues :) and it seems to be just the right thing for her. Abi has a strong will (which we applaud) and she's also very intelligent, so to parent her with love and logic will prove to be both empowering and relational - both of which cause Abi to come alive. We already see it in the little things we have started. 

We went out of town last weekend to visit some friends of ours, who also are senior pastors, in Monroe, Wash. We had so much fun, and enjoyed such rest and relaxation (coupled with deep belly laughing) that it felt like we were gone for two weeks...not just 2.5 days! It was refreshing!!

We had our first family photos tonight! We got to see a few of them, and OhMYGosh, they are fantastic!! I can't wait to share them with you. The amazing photographer Jamie Brown,, is the artist behind the photos.

We return to pastoral ministry on Oct. 1. Our incredible church gave us a three-month sabbatical as of July 1 to receive a break (it had been eight years since we church-planted, and we had not taken a break yet) and most of all - bond with Abi. It has been a gift from heaven. And we are now ready to step back in, and very excited about it.

It feels really to catch our breaths and have a new normal down. While we are all bonding really well, there is still more bonding needed, and we continue to make it our number one goal to be connected to Abi at the heart.

This was a long post tonight, and certainly much longer than I ever post anymore. But something in me just felt like sharing my heart and getting you all caught up!

She'd smile more in this one if she didn't want to see the picture so bad! She didn't quite understand that I had to take the picture first, then she could see it. :)

Abi came out one day with my hat on. :)

Abi LOVES ground cherries!

Too stinkin' cute

Abi and Ada...cute, cute and more cute.

Post-bath time. Baba gives Abi a bath and Mama puts Abi to bed. Love these two!!

Our precious friend, Binnie, came over to play with Abi and me one afternoon.

Nothing is going to stop this girl!! (She has my kitchen apron on, and was later marching around the house with this pole.)

Abi sleeps in her own crib, except at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning...then we all snuggle and fall back asleep in our bed! This is one of my most favorite photos ever.

Abi was playing in her room, and came out with her Dr. Seuss hat on. I can't take the cuteness of this kid!

Baba does bathtime, and the two of them have quite a ball together!! Here is mohawk Abigail!!

Beautiful wedding, darling flower girl!

Andrew had the privilege of officiating (his first!) wedding for our friend Amber and her now husband (and our friend now too!), Ari. We got to do their premarital counseling too, and they are so precious and lots of fun! When we got home from China, they asked if Abi would be the flower girl. We said sure, we'll see if she walks down the aisle! :)

We practiced for a few days, but Abi was either interested in the flowers, or the basket, but not necessarily the two of them together, and was definitely not interested in also walking down the aisle while dropping flowers. But hey, life's an adventure and this sure was one!

Andrew did a beautiful job officiating the wedding, and these two precious people headed off to honeymooning in DisneyWorld!

Pictures taken before the ceremony...

Beautiful bride

Flower girl getting dirty and playing with the dog before the ceremony. (Insert: nervous Mama.)

Nope, doesn't get any cuter than this. It just doesn't.

I wonder how she'll do in the ceremony?

Pictures taken during the ceremony...

She takes one look at the crowd...

...and dumps all the flowers out, then throws the basket. Hilarious!! (And this is SO my daughter!)

Daddy and daughter

A photo from the ceremony

Such a handsome pastor marrying them!

The kiss, the kiss, the kiss!

New Mr. and Mrs.!!

Pictures taken after the ceremony, during the reception... 

Abi loves her Yéyé

Cute flower girl with the cute couple

My precious family!

Such fun!

Catch the bubbles!

Time to eat!

Goofball...she is always making us laugh!!

Somebody pinch this really my daughter? Am I that blessed??

Kisses for Yéyé!

Dancing with Yéyé

She had fun!

Dancing with Baba

Dancing with Mama....weeeeee!!!

So in love with this girl!

Pajama love

Abi in her cute onesie pajamas with her crazy hair that Baba did after her bath. :)