Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflections on 2007

As the year 2007 comes to a close I decided to reflect on some of the memories made in the past year. There is so much to be thankful for and it is easy to forget in the business of everyday life the many blessings that we have been given. We are looking forward to a wonderful 2008!

Another year of celebrating the love of family!

The promise of the start of a new life together!

The excitement of starting kindergarten!

The fun and (sometimes mess) of having a new puppy!

The excitement of discovering a new passion!

The joy and wonder of our family vacation!

Three healthy and lively boys!

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Christmas tree is DOWN

I really enjoyed our Christmas this year as you can probably tell from the many pictures. I even enjoyed the weeks leading up to Christmas with the anticipation, the decorations, the shopping, and the many Starbucks white chocolate peppermint mochas I consumed this season(gosh I will miss those when they are gone!)but when I am done I am DONE and I am done with Christmas! Not in a Scroogy type of way but I can't stand for my house to be cluttered and having to rearrange furniture to accomodate the tree. We had our tree up for nearly 5 weeks so that is a long time for most or at least me. I was ready for it to come down and for the house to return to some type of normalcy. I comtemplated keeping it up until after New Years(I have never been able to do this) but like every year it manages to come down a day or two after Christmas. So tonight I will enjoy a less cluttered house and remember a wonderful Christmas behind me.

More Christmas pictures

My cousin Lindsay sent me some pictures that she took over Christmas. She had some great live action shots as we played games and sang Christmas carols. It is great to have a mixture of "posed" pictures and some "in the moment" pictures! You can tell from the pictures we had a great time!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Christmas

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas this year full of family, food, and fun! Our Christmas celebration started on Saturday with the arrival of my Aunt Michele and Uncle Mike, my cousin Shane and his girlfriend Bridget, and my cousin Lindsay and her husband Ryan. On Sunday my Aunt Pam and Uncle Bruce came for a visit with my cousins Paul, Ashley, and Jenna. We have a great time visiting, watching movies, playing games, laughing, and of course opening presents!

Santa was very good to the boys this year! He fulfilled their requests for football jerseys, games, football cards, action figures,& books. They were very excited on Christmas morning and we felt fortunate to have been able to have slept in until 7:00am! After they opened their presents I made a big Christmas breakfast and we headed over to my parents house to continue the celebration with family.

Of course Christmas served as a reminder for the family that was missing this year. Last year my brother and sister in law from California surprised us with a visit and we definitely missed them this year. I found myself throughout the day remembering last Christmas with them.

I thought alot about Mia yesterday. It is very possible that she has already been born. Obviously she is not aware that it is Christmas but I pray she felt the love of whoever may be taking care of her. I pray someone took the time to hold her close. I pray that she felt love, contentment,& peace. I pray that next Christmas will be much different for all of us.

Today everyone headed back home and while it is sad to end the celebration and fun I will always treasure the wonderful family memories we made this Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas cookies

Our Christmas cookie baking ended today with cut outs. I am so glad I waited to make the cut outs last because my sister was in town to help and the boys lost interest in making the cookies until it was time to decorate them. They turned out okay but they have ALOT of icing on them thanks to the help of three boys! They had fun with Aunt Dani and that is all that matters!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ethan's Christmas program

Last night Ethan had his school Christmas program. It was really cute but the lighting in the gym is awful and it is hard to get good pictures. Luckily Ethan stood right in front of us so it was fairly easy to get some decent pictures of him. He did a really good job though I do not think he was too happy about having to wear antler ears! He is at the stage where antler ears are not considered "cool."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Our favorite ornaments this year

Every year it has become a tradition for the boys to add a new ornament to the tree. This years picks were no surprise and they were excited to add their ornament to the tree. Of course I also added a special ornament in honor of Mia. I can't wait till the day that she is able to take part in this family tradition!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy 8th Birthday Logan!

Happy 8th birthday to my Logan! Today Logan celebrates his 8th birthday. He was hoping for a snow day today when he woke up because we had a lot of snow over the weekend but it wasn't to be. He packed up his cookies to share with the class and he was off to school.

As I reflect on the past eight years I can't help but smile at the blessing that is Logan. He is determined (when he wants to be), loving, funny, and challenging. Out of the three of our boys Logan is the most challenging. Of course with all challenges come great rewards. He has alot of friends and is more of a leader than a follower. Logan is definitely all boy!

He discovered a new passion this past year~football! This kid loves football and anything that has to do with football! His most wanted item on his Christmas list this year was football jerseys. For his birthday we got him a Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo jersey and the look on his face when he opened it was priceless! You would have thought we just handed him a millon dollars! If he misses a game he looks on to check the stats and scores. His excitement and passion for his new found interest is so much fun to watch.

Happy 8th Birthday Logan! You have blessed my life with eight incredible years and I thank God every day that He has entrusted me with the gift of you. I love you more than words can say and today I celebrate you!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

Today I took the boys to see Alvin and the Chipmunks and as we walked out of the movie theatre the snow was coming down! I knew it was coming but didn't think it would get here until later tonight. As we were driving home the roads were very snow covered and I was afraid the van would not make it up some of the small hills on the roads. We were suppose to go to Dan's company work party tonight but decided not to go due to the snow. I had a babysitter lined up and everything but we felt it was not worth it to risk anyone being in an accident. Tonight we will stay home, pop some popcorn, drink some hot chocolate, and maybe there will be some good Christmas movies on.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A post in honor our blog's #1 fan

I have been told by my sister that my soon to be brother in law Brian is an avid reader of our blog. He reminded her this week that is has almost been a full week since I have posted! No reason for my lack of posting other than there hasn't been much to post about. Thanks to Brian I now have something to post about. Brian is now the subject of my post.

My sister Danielle and Brian are engaged and will be getting married on July 12,2008.
I have the priviledge of being my sister's matron of honor(though I have been told by Brian that I cannont ride the party bus to the reception if I do not do a speech at the reception). Anyone who knows me knows I am not big on public speaking so we are still working that issue out~lol! I am not partial but I think Brian is marrying one of the most beautiful and wonderful women ever. He is so lucky!

As lucky as Brian is to have Danielle she is also lucky to have him. He is wonderful, caring, and alot of fun. I must admit when she first started dating him I wasn't so sure that he was "the one." He seemed more reserved and I wondered if he would fit in because our family is big and we are loud! Initially, I think we *could* be a little intimidating! The truth is Brian has fit in perfectly to our family. My boys LOVE him! Yes he is the perfect addition to our family and I cannot wait to officially welcome him into our family on their wedding day! Thank you Brian for loving my sister and thank you for being our blog's #1 fan!

~"Your soon to be favorite sister in law"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fun in the snow

Today the boys wanted to go outside and play in the snow. This is the first decent amount of snowfall we have had this year so they were ready to go. Of course this meant pulling out the boots, snow pants, waterproof gloves, hats, and heavy coats! It took them about 20 minutes to get ready to go outside~with my help! You forget how difficult it can be to get all of their gear on! They had fun building forts and and having a snowball fight!

Friday, December 07, 2007

The boys have been elfed!

The boys get a kick out of this site Elf Yourself. Tonight I elfed them and they just laughed and laughed when they saw themselves as elves! It really is a fun site!

I also decided to elf Dan and I. Check us out Elf Yourself.

Ornament exchange

Our ladybug and red thread believers group had an ornament exchange and I received my ornament yesterday from Erin! It is a beautiful ornament! It says "Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away." Erin also included a Starbucks gift card! I love Starbucks! Our Starbucks is located inside another one of my favorites~Target! I am at Target at least a couple times a week and I am always tempted to go to Starbucks and get a white chocolate peppermint mocha! Next time I am there I will give into my temptation! Thank you Erin!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"I know who Santa Claus is.......

and who Mrs. Claus is. My friends told me." This is what Ethan said to me as soon as he came home from school today. As I prepare myself to honestly answer his questions, I quickly make sure that Logan and Christian are out of ear shot. I take a deep breath and ask him "Who do you think they are?" He rambles off a girl's name and boy's name from his class and says "They are Santa and Mrs. Claus in the school play." I breathe a sigh of relief.

I know the day is coming that he will "learn the truth." After all is is ten years old and I know there are probably some kids in his class who "know the truth" but thankfully today was not the day that "the truth" was revealed to him.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

September 2006 is out of review!

I am happy to say that our dossier is officially out of review! What this means is that the CCAA has reviewed our dossier and moved us into the matching room! While this is an exciting milestone the wait for a match is still a looong way off at least through the traditional program. I have heard that being through review can make your process go faster after you have been matched with a waiting child. Meaning your time from match to travel *could* be faster. Only time will tell! Congrats to all the Sept LIDS~we are off to the match room!

I-171H renewal

Our I-171H is due to expire in January so we are in the process to renew it. The I-171H is basically a document issued from Homeland Security allowing us to bring an overseas orphan into the US. If we were not in the waiting child program we would probably just let it expire and wait to renew it until our referral was closer. Because we are in the waiting child program and we do not know when we will receive our referral (hopefully within 2008) letting it expire could delay our travel. We DO NOT want that to happen after already waiting so long! The USCIS allows for one free renewal which will save us around $700 but we will also need to be re-fingerprinted and have our homestudy updated which will not be free. It can be a frustrating process but in the end I know it will all be worth it!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Secret Santa shop

This week at school the boys are shopping the Secret Santa shop. I am sure many parents are familar with this annual Christmas event at school. I know my boys are excited to go shopping but this year we decided to send them each with only $5.00. They are going to buy something for one another. Ethan is buying for Christian, Christian is buying for Logan, and Logan is buying for Ethan. I must admit that I was the parent that when Ethan was in first grade sent him to school with $30.00 to spend on his family. Of course it was a lesson learned and now they each get $5.00. If they have money left they can buy something for themselves. I also volunteered to work two days this week at the Secret Santa shop so that should be fun!

Christmas card photo

This year we have decided to do something different and instead of sending out traditional Christmas cards we are going to send out Christmas card photos to all of our family and friends. I love to get cards with Christmas pictures to see how everyone has changed throughout the past year(especially the kids!). When I look at our picture, I can definitely see changes from last year. My kids are bigger, Ethan's hair is longer(the new style), my hair is darker, and Dan's hair seems to have more gray! I guess this means the biggest changes for us from the past year is our hair! I look forward to receiving everyone's Christmas cards and photos this year!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My favorite Christmas picture of my boys

I was visiting my friend Angie's blog and saw an adorable picture of her boys from a past Christmas. I thought it would be fun to post my favorite Christmas picture of my boys. Even though it has been a couple years since we had a family picture taken I do manage to get the boys Christmas pictures taken each year.

In need of a new family Christmas picture

This is our family Christmas picture that has hung on my wall for the past three years. I have decided that this year it is time for a new family Christmas picture. I am not sure why I keep putting it off. Maybe it is fighting the crowds or trying to coordinate five people's wardrobes. Or maybe in times past it seemed like nothing short of a miracle to get three kids to cooperate to get a nice picture. I have a friend who makes it a tradition to have a family picture taken around the holidays. What wonderful memories to have! Of course I also have friends who have never had a family picture taken. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. So in the spirit of the holidays, I have decided it is time to replace some old memories with new ones.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Better late than never.....

Christian's 6th birthday party was nearly two weeks ago and I am just now posting pictures from his party. He had his 6th birthday at Chuckie Cheese. After all what kid doesn't want to experience a Chuckie Cheese birthday party? As for the parents, well let's just say one Chuckie Cheese birthday party per kid is all I can handle!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy 6th birthday Christian!

Today my little boy turns 6! Christian has been so excited knowing that his birthday was coming and that he would be 6 like his friends! Yesterday he kept reminding us all day long that tommorow is his birthday and he will be 6(as if we could possibly forget)!

It amazes me everyday that God has entrusted me with this gift and I have been blessed to be called his mother. He has such an infectious personality and smile. When he laughs you can't help but laugh right along with him. He is so loving and sweet but at the same time he is working towards finding his independence. This has proven to be a difficult adjustment for both him and I but we are working on it!

Happy Birthday Christian! Today we celebrate the blessing that is you! We love you!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fall clean up~for Dad

The boys have been off of school for the past two days because of parent teacher conferences. Today has been a cold and windy day but they still wanted to got outside to play their daily game of football. As I went to the front window to call them in for lunch instead of football this is what I saw! Logan said, "We know how hard Dad works so we are doing this for him!" Notice that Logan is using a rake and Ethan is attempting to use a broom to rake up leaves! These are the moments as a parent where you can see your hard work paying off and it brings a smile to your face. It is hard to notice in the pictures but there were some small snowflakes falling!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A new direction

After alot of prayer we have submitted a medical checklist to our agency and are now in the waiting child program. Basically with our agency you fill out a medical checklist of special needs that you feel you can handle and if the agency receives a child's file matching your criteria they allow you to review the file and see if the child would be a match for your family. The needs range for minor and correctable to major needs. Obviously with having three children already our checklist has minor needs listed. One of the best parts of the program is that you remain in the traditional program along with the waiting child program. Our agency told us the average wait in the waiting child program is 8-12 months for a referral.

We feel very good about our decision and know that ultimately God is in control. We are excited to have opened this door and can't wait to see which path God uses to bring Mia to us!

Trick or Treating

Yesterday was trick or treating for the boys. I was worried we would be trick or treating in the rain but it was a perfect fall day! My SIL and nephew Brock came to our house to go trick or treating with the boys and then we went to grandma's house. We both have pretty big neighborhoods so the boys ended up with five BIG bags of candy in all! The mean mom that I am (as they so nicely put it) only allows them to keep one bowl of candy so the rest of it went to work with Dan. If we keep all that candy we would be eating it until next Halloween!

The rule in our house has always been nothing too scary. This is becoming harder and harder to do each year as they get older. For the last two years it has been a struggle especially with Ethan. In the end we have come to a compromise but I am committed to sticking to a scary free house.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The infamous "skull cap"

See the previous post for an explanation of this picture!