15 years ago….

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I married my best friend.  

I still cannot believe it has been 15 years.  

We met when I was 17.  

And I cannot imagine my life without him.

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Thank you Michael Markmiller, for loving me.

ME.

With all my quirks and weirdness.

With all my anxieties.

And all my fears.

You love me.

And for that, I am eternally thankful.

I love you.  I can't imagine what life would be like without you.

Mikejen
Thank you for laughing with me. 

And making me laugh till I cried.

And getting my quirky sense of humor.

Thank you also, for hearing my heart.  

For understanding my past.

For loving me through really tough times.

For entering into the crazy world of parenting.

For traveling to China. Twice.

You are a gift.

I will love you always.

God has indeed blessed me.

With. 

You.

Happy Anniversary.

Mikejen2

One month….together

We are celebrating one month with our new little girlie, Lauren.  So in honor of our month together, here are some things about Lauren.

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  • She loves to make silly faces.
  • She has the BEST belly laugh.
  • We get to hear that a LOT.
  • She likes rice and all sorts of vegetables.
  • Like her big sister she doesn't like bread.
  • She likes eggs.  A whole lot.
  • She loves frozen yogurt.
  • She doesn't like cake.
  • she can say the following things:

 

  • Please Stop
  • Thank you 
  • All Done
  • I love you
  • Goodbye
  • Good Dog
  • Fenway (although sounds like Fengway)
  • Maisy
  • Jack
  • Sammy
  • Katie
  • Mama
  • Baba
  • Ye-Ye
  • Nana
  • juice
  • egg
  • she can count to 10
  • no
  • Jingle Bells, Jingle Way Hey!
  • Goodnight
  • When you think about Seuss. (Yep, the entire sentence). Thanks Seussical
  • Dear God, Thank you, Amen.

I love how:

  • she bubbles over with joy
  • she yells for her siblings
  • she adores them with passion
  • she tackles us when we come back from being gone
  • she loves giving hugs and kisses
  • she loves babies
  • she can do ANYTHING
  • she loves to color
  • She loves to create
  • she loves to sing and dance
  • she makes us laugh with just a look.
  • she has woven her way into our lives as though she has always been here.
  • I cannot imagine life without her.

Merry Christmas Lauren Grace Jingyan Markmiller.  We are so thankful you are here.  We are in love, hopelessly with you.  

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Random thoughts on Winter and Christmas

  • One thing I don't like about the cold is runny noses.  And the wiping of such.
  • loving the Bath and Body Works Evergreen scented Wallflower
  • I love burning candles. I know.  Big surprise.
  • I don't like hot drinks.
  • Nope.  Not even hot chocolate.
  • I think my internal temperature is messed up.  I get HOT when it is cold.
  • I don't think I am old enough for the CHANGE.
  • Why do they call it the CHANGE.
  • Why don't they call it the Blossoming into beautiful old ladiness.
  • Just sayin.
  • Lauren is getting used to our dogs.
  • She has bad gas.  
  • Seriously.
  • I mean bad as in P.U.  not as in hurt.
  • Which is good for her.
  • Not so much for us.
  • She now knows that someone cooks in this family.
  • (You can read that story on our travel blog)
  • She loves to sing Jingle Bells.
  • All she sings is "Jingle Bells…Jingle Way… HEY"
  • Our tree is beautiful
  • It is all decorated by the kids.
  • I didn't go back and move any of the ornaments.
  • I want it to be this way.  Not perfect.
  • Because I love it.
  • and because my kids did it.
  • I hate Apple Cider
  • I actually don't like juices
  • why is this relevant?
  • I have no clue.
  • I don't like how itchy my skin gets in winter.
  • I am listening to Barney.
  • Heaven help me
  • I made the mistake of teaching Lauren how to say fork.
  • and then Jack heard her say it.
  • Now he likes to make her say it.
  • Because it doesn't sound like fork.
  • Oy vey.
  • We have a history with bad words here in the Markmiller family.
  • One of our children, unnamed, said the S word in Sunday School.
  • Um.
  • Yeah. 
  • So watch out Sunday school.
  • Lauren is coming.
  • Put your forks away.
  • Child vibrato makes me cringe.
  • and a little crabby.
  • so does Christmas music with the singer doing tons of runs.
  • REALLY.
  • Give me Bing and his whistling any day.
  • I am procrastinating  folding  laundry.
  • I like Christmas cookies
  • I can watch Elf every day and not get tired of it.
  • SSSSSSAAANNNNTAAAA!!!!
  • Buddy the Elf, What's your favorite color?
  • Your dress is purply.
  • Ok.
  • Enough now.
  • Goodbye.
  • Forever.

Life with 4

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I love this time of year.  Seriously.  From the time I can even remember, Christmas has been, well, magical.  It was the time when my family, regardless of all the hardships we were going through, were together, and happy.  Christmas was done BIG at my home growing up.  I am talking mounds of presents under the tree, stockings filled to the brim….big old tree…. everything.  Even though we most likely couldn't afford it.  We didn't know it.  Our Christmas is filled with memories of sleeping in the same room as my sisters on Christmas Eve listening to KBIG radio all night.  Because way back then they only played 24 hours of Christmas Music.  Not 8 months.  

One of my favorite memories of Christmas as a child was going to the candlelight service at church.  Oh I can still smell the wax and I get goosebumps remembering the sound of the congregation singing Silent Night acapella with only the lights of candles.  There was something so sacred about that.  I hold that memory close in my heart.

Now that we are all grown up, or at least my age tells me I am, I get to celebrate Christmas with my own family.  We have begun our own traditions.  Our own story is being molded and changed as each year passes.  I love that years ago we began having Christmas eve dinner with our sweet neighbors back in El Segundo.  They introduced us to their family traditional dinner of ham, belgian waffles, whipped cream and strawberries.  Spending time with the Reynolds are some of our favorite Christmas eve memories.  And so, now, though we have moved, we are now continuing the tradition of the dinner.  It is something we all look forward to.

Going to church to is another favorite of mine on Christmas eve.  The love and joy in the air is palpable.  As is the excitement of the children who run around decked out in patent letter Mary Janes and ties….waiting for news of Santa's arrival.  And the holiness of celebrating the birth of our Savior.  The quietness in my heart often speaks loudly through this season. 

So, life this Christmas has a little bit more magic to it.  Celebrating with Michael, Jack, Sam and Katie Mei has been my mainstay.  And now, we will be adding sweet Jing Yan Lauren to our celebration.  The joy in our home has increased immensely over the past 2 weeks.  The laughter is louder, the kisses a little bit messier.  The love has mulitiplied.

I have watched my older children absolutely fall in love with their new sister.  And I have seen her just adore all of them.  And the joy that is inside this little one bubbles over every minute of every day.  That joy is simply magical.

Though life with 4 is busy, and hectic…. I can't even imagine life without any of them.  And in this season of sweet memories, worship, music and magic…… we are blessed with 4 children.  I am beyond thankful.

I want to take just a moment to talk to anyone who is considering adoption.  I have been in your shoes.  I know what it is like to feel that little pang in your heart.  Is my child out there?  Could we do it?  The answer is yes.  Resounding, yes.  Your life will NEVER be the same once you encounter an orphan.  I look at Katie and now Lauren and know without a doubt that they are meant to be our daughters.  Lauren is a Markmiller through and through.

Is it easy?  No.  Not one bit.  In fact, it may be the hardest thing I have ever been called to do.  But, it is also the MOST amazingly rewarding and life changing things we have ever done.  My heart has forever been changed.  Adopting Katie changed me.  Adopting Lauren deepened my desire to forward the plight of orphans.  Adopting an "imperfect" (in the eyes of the world) little girl has opened my eyes to so many things.  I am so thankful.

So, all said, if you are considering at all entering this world of adoption: DO IT.  Your life will be different, sure.  But it will be filled with more joy and love then you ever knew existed.

And that, my friends, is magical.  

Home

We are home!!  We are together.  And loving every minute of being home.  With our sweet Jing Yan Lauren.  (This is what she calls herself).  I will write a longer post when my brain is not fogged by jet lag.  Just wanted to say hello!!!

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And let you feast upon the sweetness that is Lauren Grace.

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Seriously.

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