what does grief look like?

By Holidays, mercyadoniyah, noelantruth

What is grief?

I don’t know. 

What does grief look like?

I don’t know. 

Does it really fit into neat little stages?

I don’t think so.

Can death and loss affect some of us more than others?


Can we decide what is worth grieving, what level of grief we deserve, how long we get to be sad or mad for?

I don’t think so.

Will we be whole and pain-free once in heaven?

I think I am resting in that promise most these past few months.

On Thursday, traveling through Baia Mare (because we are on a road trip), grief hid it’s ugly face. Mercy woke up happy and silly. She climbed to the top of a clock tower, she marched around outside, a map stretched out in front of her, “interpreting” it for me. She fell asleep easily, happily, calmly.

On Friday, she played on her iPad while her big sister (shockingly!) slept in. But just ten minutes into it, she slammed it shut and announced it “dumb.” Not completely out of the ordinary for a strongly opinionated child, we laughed and said she could do something else.

Five minutes later she started griping about her foot. We had long forgotten the iPad truthfully. Then she was upset about breakfast. Then upset about the tv. Then she threw a tantrum about her clothing. And her hair. And her feet. Pretty soon she was worked up, angry, yelling, throwing. An hour later, after going over her boundaries a little, she had stopped “doing hurts” but was crying, borderline wailing, that mix of upset and whine. 

We thought she was hungry. Nope. We thought she was tired. Nope. Somewhere in the midst of it all, that point where you start to pull your hair out, piece by piece, she reached both hands out for me to hold her, her sign she is ready to be comforted. I wrapped both arms around her, cuddled her, started to rock her. 

And then she whispered in my ear, “I miss my brother.” 

I stopped. “Right now?” I asked her. “All day,” she responded. She stopped, took a gulp of air and continued, “I started to play a game on the iPad that I used to play with Noelan. It was a game that I taught him how to play. And I felt very mad and sad when I saw that game.” 

And that was it. She wrapped her arms and legs around me and I tight hugged her for a while. No tears. No words. Just a wiped out little girl, with no energy left and a hole in her heart. 

That is grief. It really is an ocean, waves that ebb and flow. And there isn’t a magical formula out there. No one has written a book called “how to help your children grieve the adoption loss of their brother fifteen months after the death of their cousin.” Last time I checked, I can’t find “how to assure your children that no one can snatch them away the way their brother was taken from them” or “how to comfort your children that their other ‘best friends’ won’t completely betray them.” 

So tonight I’m just laying next to my sweet five year old as she recounts her day and tells me which parts Noelan would have loved. I’m simply staring into her dark brown eyes as she wonders, “do you think bro-bro remembers me, mama? Do you think he misses me?” And I kiss her forehead softly and whisper into her ear, “he loves you. He remembers you. He misses you.”

And as her breathing slows and she starts to drift off to sleep, I find myself wondering…will tomorrow ebb or flow?


a colfax christmas

By addysengrace, america, Family, Holidays, mercyadoniyah, travel

cousin reunions are the best!




watching the rain come down


wrapping her very own presents!


christmas eve service at auburn grace


they are pretty sure santa came…





santa came!




santa even remembered mama and daddy?!


auntie cacey snuggles


ana and elsa beanies from dohdoh



learning to shoot a bow and arrow with daddy (she got the arrows after practicing with sticks!)




sissy is not so sure about addy’s skill…


the aftermath of christmas is…exhausting!


santa claus is comin’ to town!

By Family, Holidays, Kids

beware. i just might post every video i haven’t posted. meaning, catch up. i have lots of random cell phone videos. but they are always too big to upload through wordpress. i used to have the free vimeo account which had a weekly limit of about 1-2 videos and i never managed to remember to upload 2 videos a week. nope. i need to be able to mass upload 10 or 20. soooooo i subscribed instead and plan on seriously uploading videos.


on that note, this video is only from yesterday. we are kind of into really into a new christmas cd i got from my brother andrew and his wifey, casey-princess (addy’s nickname for her thank you very much). they (addy and mercy) are obsessed with the santa medley. obsessed. no matter what is going on, mercy starts dancing and addy starts singing. addy got it into her head that i should record their performance. mercy almost refused to dance for the camera (her usual m.o.) but actually started dancing. if you are wondering what the heck addy is doing, look and listen carefully. she likes to sing along with the high part so she is plugging her ears so that she can hear herself sing. um hello? does that make her a natural because i didn’t prompt her or anything. don’t mind the seriousness. they were concentrating very hard on their performance. also, ignore mercy’s gangsta booty. it’s not my fault jeans were not designed for my no-booty kid.



oh and here is the song they are obsessed with:


merry christmas!

my monsters.

By Holidays, Kids

i found this blog post and wanted to re-post it. kind of cool to read posts from a year ago. i’m also thinking about doing some sort of days of christmas “series” but i’m not quite sure the extent. maybe i am attempting too much, ha!


as we transition into the christmas swing of things, i thought these pictures might bring a little enjoyment. i call them goofball one and goofball two. maybe i should call them thing one and thing two. long ago in a galaxy not far away and before mercy was born, we had three other little girls and these monster towels from burbank ikea. so you can imagine my excitement when i found them at the bucharest ikea, asking me to buy them.


and this present is a little pre-christmas gift auntie cacey left for us. tomorrow we are going in search of our christmas tree. yay! i can’t wait, errrr, i mean the girls can’t wait!


anywho and whatnot…enjoy!


happy first birthday, mercy adoniyah ♥

By Holidays, Kids, Moldova

here are the pictures, finally! we celebrated her birthday over a two week span including a birthday party while grammie and pops were here and then a family day gone almost bad on her actual birthday. ahhhh life. i was very thankful that we had planned to have her party two weeks early because she ended up having a repeat of roseola on her actual birthday! {yes it is possible to get roseola twice, we learned.} anyway, here is yet another blog post of mass picture catch up!


the party was a beautiful combination of grandmas and aunties, the united states and moldova. grammie brought over quite a few birthday party necessities from joanns, target, amazon, auntie cacey, auntie dohdoh…you get the idea!


i have been learning a lot about my youngest and her little fire-y personality. but i have also been realizing that she is analytical and pensive. she had four entire birthday guests plus her family members and it was almost too much.


ready and waiting – – we thought maybe a gift would get her interested.


but she was not thrilled.


there is nothing cuter than the red eyed half smile of uncertainty. i think the tissue paper freaked her out at first.


her birthday outfit. i found this fabric on etsy and grammie used one of my vintage patterns. we found these brand new shoes at the second hand for less than $4! the sweater is the present from the pictures above. she was adorable.


birthday cake place of honor. {and amazing birthday crown from auntie whitney.}


one year of monthly pictures.


the cake. gluten free mix from the states (low stress), moldovan-version butter cream frosting (okay technically the second batch), bunting and decorations from dohdoh and mushroom cupcakes by teresa.


the guests (minus liam). do they come any cuter?


another mushroom only this time with a marshmallow and apple. just a little pre-sugar.


presents. the practice present actually helped.


big sister helped too. {addy did amazing and yes, we were a little surprised. i think it helped that pops was next to her the entire time.}


a little sophie the giraffe from big sister.


it’s love.


this was her initial reaction to her cake. in case you can’t tell, she isn’t all that thrilled. we probably should have practiced candles along with presents.


the “is this safe?” look for grammie.


but then surprisingly, she had no hesitations about exploring the cake. i have already noticed that she seems to be very, very tactile!


the “is this okay to eat?” look.


and the taste.


i now introduce you to baby-that-has-officially-consumed-sugar.


victory. this kid has never eaten this much food in one setting. ever. she just kept eating and eating.


and then she was done. she chucked the last few pieces on the ground and asked to get out of her chair.


post cake belly. i know, it’s pretty impressive.


oh look, someone decided to finally crack a smile.


two weeks later…birthday morning. {can you say sick? the past three days mercy had been having a pretty high temperature.}


special gluten free pancake mix from grandma ducky.


and grandma ducky and grandpa jim’s birthday present for mercy. it was a hit.


the candle professional.


yeah that’s right. she is still blowing even though the candle is long gone.


the test…


the look of approval!


addy trying to eat her pancakes like a big girl:


resorting to a much more efficient method!


happy pancake tummy!


oh and maybe a little birthday chocolate milk to wash it down.


addy helping mercy discover her new play telephone…


bath toys from aliana:


then we decided to try and have a special outing. mercy’s fever seemed gone and she seemed fine. it didn’t go so well. it was hot and sticky. mercy did a lot of this move {the mid walking tantrum.}


and gave this look a lot:


and then low and behold she broke out in a rash. we weren’t sure if she was having an allergic reaction, severe heat rash or what so we decided to call it quits and come home.


although this one did get to ride on a {huge} horse for fifty cents!


we got home, napped and regrouped. we put the candle in a chocolate-covered zefir {meringue-type dessert} and it was a hit.


happy one year of life, mercy adoniyah. i can’t wait to see what the second year of your life holds!

happy father’s day pops!

By Family, Holidays

christian and i have both been blessed to have a loving relationship with our dad. looking back, i can see how my relationship with my dad helped me to be more secure in who i was. crazy how that all works together, huh? i can also see how my dad helped me form a healthy picture of my heavenly father.


i have missed my dad a lot more than i expected. i knew i would miss him with moving to moldova. that was a given. but i guess i’ve just missed him a little bit more than i planned. while he was here visiting, i found myself watching him love of his grand babies and feeling so thankful that the Lord has given my daughters this amazing gift of their pops.


i have a lot i could say but i think this slideshow says it better.


i love you daddy! ♥


p.s. there’s also a slideshow for grandpa jim here


with love from sleeping beauty and cinderella ♥

By Family, Holidays, Kids, Moldova

i married an only child.


there is nothing wrong with marrying an only child.


although there is always the chance that they don’t do kids well.


but i didn’t need to worry.


i married a natural. ♥


dear hubs,


thank you for being an amazing, caring, silly, loving, passionate, driven, concerned, protective, fun and completely awesome daddy to our princesses. we love you so much and are so thankful the Lord gave you to us! thank you for being our prince charming.


love forever,


marie {aka mama}, cinderella {aka addy} and sleeping beauty {aka mercy}


p.s. happy father’s day!


happy birthday, baby girl ♥

By Holidays, Kids, Moldova

today is sissy’s real birthday (even though we had a party a few weeks back).


and suddenly i have no words to convey my thoughts or my love for this amazing little gift the Lord saw fit to give us.


my sister said it best when she told me, “i never expected to be sanctified this much through my children.”


so i guess i owe mercy a few thank yous.


thank you baby girl for teaching me that love doesn’t divide, it multiplies.


thank you baby girl for teaching me that anything and everything has the potential to be dangerous to your well being.


thank you baby girl for teaching me that not all kids are born outgoing and social but some are born more thoughtful and analytical.


thank you baby girl for teaching me to slow down and learn how you need individual quality time.


i can think of so many things to say about my youngest daughter but for now i will just leave you with this – – a little recap from the first year of her life.


we love you so much, mercy adoniyah klein burtt. you are precious to your mama, dada, big sister and a whole lotta family and friends! ♥


p.s. you can check out daddy’s post here



p.p.s. both of the songs in the slideshow are super cool covers, huh? check out this blog called “52.” it’s pretty cool!

goodnight baby girl

By Family, Holidays, Kids, Moldova

tonight i laid my baby girl down to sleep for the last time.


yeah, yeah, i know. tomorrow she will only be a day older.


but she will be one.


and mamas out there know what i am feeling tonight.


i don’t know if mercy is my last baby or not…which is why i am so thankful that my own mama has been reminding me from day one to enjoy every moment {even the exhausting parts} like they are my last.


so whether or not i have another baby to rock to sleep someday, tonight i took my time snuggling and kissing my baby girl. because i know tomorrow she is going to wake up a little older.




goodnight, mercy girl. see you when you are one!


p.s. sorry for the fuzzy phone pictures.
p.p.s. i do realize she is wearing christmas pjs. they are surprisingly thin. and they still fit. so why not?
p.p.p.s. check back tomorrow for a special photo montage of the birthday girl!
p.p.p.p.s. but a little video to hold grandma and grammie over for now