Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas-9, 10, 11, 12

Day 9-What I Want For Christmas This Year

Again, SO many paths I could go with this one.  Thoughtful response?  NO MORE ORPHANS.  Yep, that's what I want.  Think Santa can arrange that?  If so, that's what I want?

A little closer to home, I want 2010 to be a year of joy with my daughter, my husband, and my family.  Which leads me to a prayer that I have for God.  Please, God to reveal to us what Your plan for our family is.  Should we grow our family?  If so, girl or boy?  Age?  From where?  God, let our hearts beat like Yours.  You know who our next child is.  We trust you.  Reveal the child to us.  Give us the faith to step forward and pursue our child.  If Your plan is to step out in faith job-wise, or location-wise, give us the strength to do that as well.  I just pray we're open to Your plan! 

If I were to think about what I want materially, I honestly do not know.  I didn't give anyone a list.  I am so happy with whatever I get.  I know my parents were getting us a family membership to a local children's museum, and I'm super pumped about that.  But really, I just LOVE the season, I don't have any one big thing on my list!

Day 10-What is one holiday tradition or task you somewhat dread?

Ok, Day 10 was something else, but I really addressed it on another day, so I made this one up.  I'm going to be honest with you, here.  The one task of the holiday season I despise more than anything is writing and sending out Christmas cards.  It's not even the writing inside the cards.  Or choosing the cards (that's fun!) It's the addressing the cards.  We got smart and have a simple database of addresses, and Tony can easily crank out labels, but I LOATHE addressing the envelopes.  So tedious.  Sounds ridiculous, but that's the only thing I dread all season long!

So now, I have got to know...what do YOU want this year?

What is one holiday tradition or task that you dread?  Come on, be honest!

Day 11--What I don't take for granted this Christmas.

This one is easy and short.  I don't take ANYTHING for granted this Christmas.  My family is whole once again.  We've packed every little tradition and event possible in this season.  We have done everything from looking at Christmas lights, to our Christmas Eve Eve midnight run to Walmart w/ the family.  I have tried to take a mental (or actual) picture of every situation.  Who knows what 2010 will hold, so I'm soaking up every second.  What about you?

Day 12-My Christmas Wish For You

I wish for total peace and joy this holiday season.  I pray your family grows closer, and your focus on Christ stronger.  I pray that challenges in your family, get overcome.  Sins forgiven.  I pray for God to use you in big ways in 2010. 

Have a fantastic Christ-filled Christmas and a fantastic New Year! 

Love you all!

Description

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Post by Tony...

Greetings! 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season.  Rett is beginning to wrap presents as I type this.  She said I could do a post.  I figure anything to get out of wrapping presents works for me!!

Well, Rett has had a bunch of meaningul and "memoryful" (is that a word) posts.  This one, well, you know me, will have some random photos keeping you up to date regarding recent happenings.  Here they go!


We'll start with this scenic photo of the Jeep in late October.  We found this site taking a different route home from one of Rett's favorite restaurants, the Smokin Ox. 



Here we are on our Family Birthday mid-November.  We celebrated at the China Buffet just down the street. 



Here is random photo of Abby brushing her teeth. 



Here is a shot of Rett and the girls at Church.  We lit the Advent candle in front of the church this particular evening.  (Two pictures of Rett in the same post - let's see how long she let's this stay on here.)



Ok, no the girls did not get a perm nor do they have "naturally curly hair" (line from Charlie Brown Christmas).  This is what happens to Abby's hair when you take out the pig tails.



Here are the girls hanging out with a very large stuffed bear dressed as a snowman at Metamora.  We visit this little historic town every year during their Christmas celebration.



Here are the girls in the kitchen preparing Christmas gifts for some family members.

I am sure Rett will probably post in the near future something more entertaining, but for now, you get to put up with my randomness.  Have a Merry Christmas!



Description

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas-Tree

Day, Um, Not Sure-The Best Christmas Tree

So, do you like real trees?  Are artificical more your style?  Me, you ask?  I prefer live trees.  The smell, the search for the perfect tree, the sap, the scratchy needles, the freezing while waiting to cut it down, the needles all over the floor.  Hehe.  Really, I do love all there is to love about getting a live tree. 

When Tony and I first got married, we bought live trees.  However, we did one step more.  We got the kind you could plant afterward.  They were HEAVY, but so nice to create a natural privacy fence!  Oh, the memories!  LOVE them!

Since we have lived at this house, we have had artificial trees.  Our one upstairs matches the decor in our living room.  This was something my mom has always done!  And our downstairs tree has the family ornaments and is more homey.  I love it. 

But this post has me thinking.  Next year it would be big fun to go and search for a tree.  I think we're up for it with the girls. 

So what about you?  Come on, Sarah.  Share about your delimma about Christmas trees when you were first married to Chris.  I remember, do you?

Happy Saturday!  The big guy in red is making final preparations!!!

Description

Friday, December 18, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

Day Seven--What Christmas Means To Me

Wow.  A deep question for a Friday.  Man.  Hmmm.  Ok people, I'm going to get deep, because Christmas means so much.  It means that God loved us enough to send his son!  Sent Him knowing the end of the story!  Knowing about the crucifixian.  Now that I'm a mother, that is so profound to me.  I mean, I understand the reason.  I understand that He rose again.  But, people, the death.  Knowing that.  Amazing.

But knowing the WHY behind the HOW is what helps us celebrate this season with JOY!  He sent His Son to SAVE US!  That little baby boy would SAVE the world.  Would SAVE me.  Me.  I was worth that?  I have to trust that I am worth that.  And that's why I need to remember this Christmas to live my life in such a way to be worth that

Does any of what I'm saying make sense?  I mean, yes, it means family and treasuring one another.  But oh baby, the meaning is SO much more than that!  I'm in awe over the birth of Christ.  Not the setting or situation, but the future impact of His birth.  A-maz-ing. 

So, what does Christmas mean to YOU?

Description

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

Before I jump into this, did you know that the Twelve Days of Christmas do not technically start until Dec. 26?  I found that out on a Christmas quiz yesterday!  Just a little bit of trivia for you!


Sixth Day of Christmas--What is my funniest Christmas memory?

Oh man.  This one is hard.  Funniest?  Hmm.  I don't know that I have a funniest memory.  I tend to do some sort of poem (like a spin off of Twas the Night Before Christmas) with my family members' names in it and I try to make it funny.  But I really don't have a funny memory, per se.  I know, I know, BORING! 

So, I guess that means my family needs to post on here and tell about their (or my) funniest memory.  And you, my friends, must add yours as well!  Don't let this post be totally lame!

P.S.  On an unrelated note, please pray for friends of ours, Scott and Emilie.  Emilie is 30 weeks pregnant with her first child, and has lost most of the amniotic fluid she had.  She is now contracting.  Add to that her baby, Tressel, has a heart condition.  All of this adds up to one very scary situation.  PRAY, PRAY, PRAY so much for she and her husband (AND baby Tressel!)

Description

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fifth Day of Christmas-What is My Favorite Christmas Movie?

Well, the blog I got this idea from, got it from a military wives blog.  And today's post was supposed to be titled, "You know you're a military wife when..." Well, my friends, that won't work for me.  So, hmmm.  What to blog about?  This might be a topic that was supposed to show up later, but oh well!


What is My Favorite Christmas Movie?

This is easy for me.  I mean, I LOVE every single hokey, loving, animated/non-animated, claymation, emotional, Christmas-ish type show out there.  Ask Tony.  I drive him nuts I'm sure.  And "Charlie Brown Christmas" ranks right up there.  As well as "Home Alone" "Polar Express" and the "Santa Claus(e)" movie.  But, my all-time, absolute favorite movie for Christmas is "A Christmas Story".  Remember that one?  People I know either LOVE it or HATE it.  But oh, man.  I LOVE IT! 

It's a story set back in the 40's in Indiana.  Ralphie (the main character) wants only one gift for Christmas, a Red Rider BB gun.  The story line and the characters just kill me.  Seriously, I could watch it 20 times each holiday season.  Do you like it?  If so, what's your favorite part?

What is YOUR favorite Christmas movie/television program?

Description

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

Fourth Day of Christmas-The Best Christmas Present I Ever Received

Hmmm, this is a tough one.  I remember lots of gifts, and yet barely any at the same time.  I know that doesn't make sense.  But, my parents were good to me.  I was spoiled.  I'm admitting it.  I was flat spoiled.  Like a former post mentioned, I remember getting an awesome pink and grey 10-speed bike.  I also remember getting a huge stereo system. 

I mentioned yesterday about GIVING a car as a gift...but one of the best gifts I ever got WAS a car!  A '78 Monte Carlo (I think).

Want to know what I remember most?  Two things.  First was the pride on my parents faces.  They did this.  They found it, painted it, gave it.  They provided for me.  The second memory I have attached to that car is driving to my grandma's apartment in it on Christmas Day.  I distinctly remember being as careful as can be.  I even remember pulling in her lot and that there was snow on the ground.  It was so pretty.  And I was driving my car. THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!

That is my material answer.  My emotional answer would have to do with when I became a mom right before Thanksgiving.  Then, the best gift I received was that first Christmas as a family.  I "got" the emotion of seeing them Christmas morning.  The blessing of giving to them.  The joy of sharing the story of Jesus with them.  My daughters.  My heart! 

Well, I heard about Kristy's Barbie Dream house.  And about Sarah's gift of receiving and giving.  But what about you?  What is one of your treasured gift memories?

Description

Monday, December 14, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

A friend in the bloggy world, is doing this leading up to Christmas.  She got it from Wives of Faith .  It sounded fun, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm already behind, but here goes...

First Day of Christmas-My Favorite Christmas Song

Hmmm, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Christmas music.  I started playing it before Thanksgiving this year.  There really isn't a song I don't like.  Well, except for those dogs barking the Jingle Bells song.  I mean, seriously.  Why? 

I guess if I had to decide, I'd chose two.  They are totally at opposite ends of the spectrum.  One shows our selfish material ways, and the other one glorifies God.  I LOVE "Santa Baby" and no, not the Madonna version.  Just the old school version.  It just makes me smile.  The other song would be "Mary Did You Know?"  I think this one has an emotional tie because a former pastor would sing it at church and I would break down when I would hear it.  Now, as a mother, it takes on a whole new level of meaning.  We do not know how our children will turn out, or who they will become.  But, God!  He knows!  Amazing song.

Second Day of Christmas-My Favorite Christmas Recipe

Huh?  Just one?  NO WAY can I decide just one.  Plus, my mom always switches things up and tries new things each year, so no traditional favorite.  Ok, wait.  I do have a favorite.  Tony's Aunt Belinda makes a KILLER sausage stuffing.  Oh man.  It is such a flavor explosion in your mouth.  There are cranberries and spices and sausage yumminess!  I could literally, fill my plate with that and nothing else!  So, when I eat it (at Thanksgiving or Christmas) I just think of the holidays.  It's perfect. 

I'll have to ask how she does it.  Sorry, no recipe here. 

Third Day of Christmas-The Best Christmas Present I Ever Gave

Without a doubt, two Christmases come to mind.  One was a LOOONG time ago in the very early 80's.  I didn't give it, but it is such a good memory.  My dad bought my mom a new microwave.  I think she KNEW she was getting this, but maybe not.  So, she's unwrapping the gift and gets all excited when she sees the box.  Then, when she opened the box, my dad had weighed it down with a bowling ball!  She sat there with the box on her lap and CRIED!  We have a picture to prove it.  Then, Dad went out and got the microwave off the porch for her.  Ahh, the memories!

The best gift I ever gave (or was a part of) was when we gave my dad his '46 Ford.  His family had one of these when he was younger and he loved it.  He found one either identical to, or pretty darn near the one he had ridden in as a boy.  My sisters, mom, and brother and I went together and bought it (with our husbands/wife, etc.)   We kept it stored at my brother's house.  Tony and I lived next door at the time. 

So anyway, Christmas morning, Randy called my dad and said he needed some help.  My dad reminded him it was Christmas morning, but Randy insisted.  So he and mom drove the two blocks that chilly morning.  Everyone waited inside the closed garage for Dad to arrive.  We were all packed in there and heard him pull up.  Randy opened the garage door and there stood Dad and Mom looking at this garage filled with people and a car with a bow on it.  Recognition sparked on his face and he stood there and covered his face and cried.  Which, in turn, made us all cry.  He was so emotional.  He couldn't believe we did that.  My heart about burst with love for my family that day.  It was such fun!

Ok, that's it for today.  Check back tomorrow for The Fourth Day of Christmas!  In the mean time, what about you?  DO SHARE!

P.S.  Linny and Emma are in China and have their daughter Jubilee!  WHOOO HOOO!  God is SO good!

Description

Thursday, December 10, 2009

OH, So Thankful!

Today, I am certainly thankful for my two cuties.  That Abby and Laney make me SMILE every single day.  They make me laugh, giggle, AND tear my hair out too!  Hahaha. Just want to use today's post to document some of the funny things they have been saying!

  • Whenever they get done in the restroom, we ask if they washed their hands or if they used hand sanitizer.  (Side note:  our girls will never know life before hand sanitizer or texting!  Wild!)  Well, they have morphed hand sanitizer into a new word.  They'll come in and say, "I HANITIZED!"  Creative!  We like it!
  • I never get to take the girls to school because I have to be at school earlier than they do.  Well, one day, Tony couldn't take them, so I had to run them to my sister's house so they could take them (her granddaughter Addison goes too!)  Well, en route to her house that is about fifteen minutes away, I realized I had forgotten their backpacks.  I said, "Oh man!  I forgot your backpacks, girls!"  To which Abby replies, "Baba doesn't forgot!"  I know, I know, he's perfect!  They  later told him he's "right" because he never forgets the backpacks!  Grr!
  • When we were crossing the parking lot heading into church Sunday, a woman yelled across the aisle, "Your girls always look so cute!"  Then Abby turned to me and said, "See!  I TOLD YOU!"  I grinned and said, "Told me what?"  She replied, "That I'm cute!"  Bwhahahah!  And modest, sweet girl, so modest!
  • Last night, Tony told the girls it was time for bed.  Laney asked why?  He said, "Laney, I'm tired!"  She answered with, "Yeah, well, I'm NEVER tired!"  Amen, sista!
  • Their endless Christmas carol singing is SUCH fun.  I love, love, love it! Really!
  • Laney insists Santa needs chocolate milk.  Thanks, Max and Ruby!
  • Laney's new phrase, "Woah, there!"  Funny!
  • Because Abby doesn't always pronounce everything clearly, we often ask her to repeat it.  Music is one of those words.  We started over-annunciating it.  Muuuuzzz-iiikk.  She now says, every single time, "May I listen to my Christmas muuuuzzzz-iiikk?"  Hey, at least she says, "May I"!

I'm sure there are more, so I might update with more later!

Thank you, Jesus for my daughters!   

Description

Monday, December 07, 2009

Memorial Box Monday-10-Speed

A few posts ago, I told you about the wonderful memories I have of Christmas.  I want to tell you a story about that.  I'm including it in my Memorial Box because, well, because I want to and there are no rules.  This was a situation where Jesus blessed me with parents that wanted to keep the innocence and magic of Christmas alive for me as long as possible. 

I was probably in junior high this one particular Christmas.  Sixth grade, maybe.  I remember not really "believing" Santa existed, but wanting to hold on to that excitement and idea that he just might.  I went to bed on Christmas Eve.  My bedroom was just off the living room.  I remember at one point waking up to go to the restroom.  As I walked through the living room, I looked at the tree.  It was so pretty, all lit up.  (Side note:  ever since I was little, I would sleep out on the couch or floor at least one night during the holiday season so I could fall asleep with the Christmas tree lights on.  I'd look over the tree and try to memorize what that year's tree looked like, and reflect on the year, etc.  I STILL do this.)

Anyway, my parents were nestled all snug in their beds and everything was quiet.  I checked out the loot under the tree and realized it was the same that was there when I went to bed.  "Santa" hadn't come yet. 

I went on to the restroom and when I returned (guessing about three minutes later), there was a pink and gray 10-speed bike propped up behind/beside the tree!  I stood there and gawked at the bike. That bike had NOT just been there.  My parents WERE asleep.  I checked!  Where in the world? 

The next day I retold the story to my parents.  They just shook their heads and smiled.  They claimed they did NOT put the bike there.  They reminded me I had seen them asleep. 

Now, the rational adult in me is like, "Uh, Rett.  They lied.  They put that there while you were in the restroom." or "It was there, you just didn't see it."   But the child in me hangs on to what my mom always said  "Santa exists inside you.  It's Christmas spirit that counts."  Therefore, this time, I'm listening to that little child.  Santa brought me that bike.  It was a magical Christmas that came at a time where I could have simply stopped believing.  My parents chose to help me hold onto that magic, even only for one more year.

Do you have any stories like that?  Magical moments? 

Or, what is one favorite family tradition you have?  We have many many things, but I'll share two quick ones.  Come Dec. 1, I'm allowed to ask my mom for a hint about one of my gifts.  I can get one hint per day.  The thing is, my mom's hints are always WAY out there, but DEAD on at the same time.  They're riddleish.  SO FUN!  I remember one was, "It goes around and around but never stops."  It was a watch!  Mom, when you read this, um, you owe me seven hints!  Hahaha, oh wait, I KNOW what I'm getting!  Darn!

The second tradition is that my dad always plays Santa at our family gatherings.  He dons the red hat and is the one to distribute the gifts to everyone else.  He never gets to open his own  until everyone else is done.  That says a lot about him.  Everyone else enjoy it first...he can wait.

I LOVE MY PARENTS! 

Now, tell me about your magical memories or traditions!

Description

Salsa's Giveaway!

Check out Salsa's Blog for a fantastic set of recipes and a giveaway!  Her twins are TOO cute and look even sweeter while cooking with chocolate!!!

On second thought, check out her blog, but don't enter the giveaway.  I WANT TO WIN!  HA!

Description

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is There Room for Santa at Our Table Too?

This is a question I have been mulling around for a while.  With the Christmas season being thrust upon us earlier and earlier, and now with having children, I really take this question seriously.  Let me back up...

I grew up in a WONDERFUL family.  The Christmas holidays were special.  (Every holiday was really.)  But Christmas held some sort of magic that the others didn't.  I always knew that this was the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I knew the impact of His birth.  It was blissfully sweet.

However, Santa was present in our family traditions as well.  We did the whole milk and cookie thing.  Elvis belted out about his "Blue Christmas" and I knew all the words to "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" by age three.  We decorated our tree with themed color selections.  Stockings were filled with goodies.  When I woke up on Christmas morning, there were always packages left by him.  Even as I got older and would question the "realness" of Santa, my mom held fast that it's the spirit inside you that make Santa real.

Fast forward to now.  I'm the mother of twin three year olds.  I am a Christian.  I am teaching my children DAILY about the love of Jesus.  And I feel like I'm a horrible mom according to other Christians if we celebrate Santa as a part of our Christmas traditions.  Yes, I feel SO judged.

Is Jesus there?  Absolutely!  We have talked and read nonstop about His birth.  We have discussed how this holiday is NOT just about the "I wants".  Jesus is the focus for us.

However, our Christmas is filled with more.  It is filled with stockings, trees, lights, cookies, carols, packages, joy, laughter, magic, and wonder.  Oh, and Santa.  Yes.  Santa. 

We do NOT worship Santa.  We do NOT focus on gift giving and getting.  We DO focus on Jesus and fun family traditions and special connections we can create with the girls.  Everything is celebrated!  From making a paper chain to count down the days until "Happy Birthday, Jesus", to carefully placing ornaments on our tree.  Christmas music is played in our Jeep and in our home.  Christmas TV specials from long ago are watched and treasured.  New traditions are meshing with old family favorites and friends, it just makes my heart swell.

Oh, how I love this time of the year.  I feel hopeful for our future.  It seems Pollyanna, but it's me.  I totally get wrapped up in the glitter and garland.  I know it's because I have such special memories of this time of year with my family, and I want that for my girls as well.  And I refuse to feel guilty about it. 

This is just on my heart because it's out there.  It's in Blogland.  The discussions, the debates, the worry if we are messing our kids up by celebrating Santa AND Jesus, or NOT celebrating one or the other.  I just had to throw my two cents in.  I LOVE Jesus.  Love Him.  And serve Him.  And I will forever and always strive to keep Him first in my life (I AM human...I slip up occasionally.)  But at our house, we'll save a spot for Santa too.  That jolly old guy just wants to spread some joy and eat some good cookies (and chocolate milk according to Laney).  He won't sit at the head of our table, but he's got a seat down the line.

Oh, and while I'm on a rant...I totally DO NOT get those people who say, "Jesus is the reason for the season!"  HELLO, Jesus is the reason for EVERY season!

Merry Christmas, family!  

Description

Monday, November 23, 2009

Have you seen it?

If you haven't gone there already, you need to check out Sarah's blog!  During the month of November, she has done giveaways in order to raise awareness and funds for a cute little guy named Duncan.  Well, during November, Duncan's forever family FOUND HIM!  WHOO HOO JESUS!  So he has a family, which means the party is JUST GETTING STARTED at Sarah's blog!

She is now doing a blog party to celebrate families, both bio and adopted.  She is hosting a daily giveaway of some WONDERFUL prizes!  Although I don't want the competition, I'd love for you to pop on over to her blog and celebrate too!  Hahaha.

Seriously!  Let's PRAISE GOD for how He is stirring the hearts of families worldwide!  Ok, enough, enough...go check it out!

Description

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Soooo thankful this Thursday....

We had a fantastic Family Birthday yesterday.  It was business as usual for the bulk of the day, but then I picked them up from my sister's (a Godsend, yay!) and headed home.  When we arrived home, their Mimi (my MIL) had tied balloons to our door and left cupcakes and a card!  So sweet!  The girls were pumped!

So I changed their clothes and we hung out until Baba got home.  Then we loaded up and went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for "lots of noodles and rice!" like the girls wanted.  It was yummy and we were stuffed!  (Sorry, pics are on my camera at home.)

We headed back home and gave the girls one of their gifts we bought them in China.  They were lovely little wooden drums that when you shake it back and forth, two little beads bang the sides and make the drum sound.  Abby figured hers out right away, and Laney soon after.  They were a hit!  Until our heads hurt from the sound!  hahahah

Then we just played as a family.  We tackled and tickled.  It was wonderful.

This year's birthday did come with some sadness...and I want my blog to be real, so I'll let you in on a bit.  The night before our birthday I was in a reflective mood.  Let's just say thinking about the girls and what they had to endure before us (which I thought I had processed) weighed heavily on me.  By 11:00 I was a sobbing mess laying in bed.  Tony, sweet man that he is, did as I asked and got our sleeping sweeties out of their beds and put them in ours.  I just needed to be close to them.  To tell them they were loved.  To pray over them. To pray for their birthfamilies with them beside me.  To hold their hands while they slumbered.  Finally, I had some peace. 

With such wonderful reason to celebrate, I cannot leave on that sad note.  I'll leave you with something funny. 

One of the girls' CD's in the Jeep is the Children of the World Choir.  On one of the songs the chorus goes, "Lord, You are good and your mercy endures forever...."  You know the song.  Anyway, the other night Abby said, "LISTEN, this song says DORA!"  Laney, looking disgusted, said with a sigh, "NO, ABBY.  It doesn't say DORA!  It says............ DORIS!"    You could feel her rolling her eyes and imagine her saying, DUH!  Tony and I just chuckled and chuckled in the front seat about that. 

"Lord, You are good, and your mercy and DORIS forever!"

Time is flying, my friends.  Hug  your loved ones more often. 

Description

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

HAPPY 2nd FAMILY BIRTHDAY TO US!

For the actual website link (and pictures!) from two years ago today, click here!


But here is the text, from that day. There isn't much, we were so tired and overwhelmed.  I'll add more thoughts tomorrow...on Thankful Thursday!  Just know we feel SO blessed.  So very, very blessed.


Sunday, November 18, 2007
FAMILY DAY!


Ok all, we have the GIRLS!!!!

We are EXHAUSTED and have had them for only four hours now...

More details later, but all is going well. They are extremely smart little girls. They already know how to use the TV remote and we quickly bonded by using Cheerios. They quickly found the music channel. And were dancing….

They love the stacking cups (Thank you Lynn !!!!!!).

Tomorrow is a big day of government appointments. Hopefully their current good mood will last through tomorrow’s long day.

Please pray that we can get them to sleep. They are running full speed ahead right now!!!

I know the pics show them in non-matching clothes, but right now, we DON’T care. LuLa has the Anna Day motif with her pretty shoes, diaper and shirt. She doesn’t want to wear any other clothes. Lu Mei was wearing most of the clothes that she arrived with…(at the time of the photos).

Ok, hopefully more details will come tomorrow. Sorry for the short post. Please keep praying that they continue to bond and all goes well tomorrow and the next week and a half!!

Stay tuned…





Do you remember our family day, two years ago today?
 

Description

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

REMINDER!!!

You need to visit Sarah's Blog to enter her giveaway for Duncan!  
He's a special angel she is raising money for.   
His family has found him, and we can help make their journey
a bit smoother!


The cause for the giveaway is SUPER important to God's heart.  

Take a minute and read about her purpose.  
THEN DONATE.  
Then enter the giveaway.  
What could be more special or important?

GOD SAID SO!

Description

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two Years Ago Today...

...we left for China.  Here is what we wrote on our travel site once we landed in Beijing.   (We plan to update that site this week, for our two year family birthday!  The update is LONG overdue!)

This is in the kitchen at the crack of dawn after no sleep!  We were READY to go!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Well, we're here (Beijing). I still cannot believe this is happening!!

We did not sleep Tuesday night and left our house Wednesday morning at 4:00 am to go to the airport. It is now approximately 10:45 am Indiana time Thursday (11:45 PM Thursday in Beijing). We arrived at our hotel about 45 minutes ago. It is a very nice place. It has a huge bathroom with an awesome shower. The main room has a big flat panel TV with TV stations that speak English!! It is late here so not much is open, but there is a "Power House" across the street (probably not associated with my favorite Power House Restaurant back home).

We had a good trip. Almost 30 hours in airports and on airplanes, and it got old real quick. We met some neat people in Minneapolis, including another adoptive family (from another adoption agency) adopting a 10 month old. We may see her and her family again in Guangzhou at the hotel. We met some missionaries going to the Philippines for three years and a nice older couple just traveling places they have never been. They are touring Asia via a cruise.

We have much more to share, but with no sleep for two days now (except for come cat naps on the plane) is really getting to us. But, we just wanted to let you know we were here!! Tomorrow we'll be doing some touring so you'll want to stay tuned!!!



At the time of this writing, we only have 2 full days left before we meet the girls! GOD IS GOOD!
 

 
You can check out our travel site for additional pictures too...At this point, the anticipation is building!

Description

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Admiration

Today is Veteran's Day.  The day my students are donning red, white, and blue.  The day banks are closed and mail doesn't run.  But, oh, so much more.


Photo compliments of Google Images

Today we had a Veteran's Day convocation at school.  I have to say, it was the best ceremony/convocation we have ever had.  There was a Color Guard that presented the flags, did a flag folding ceremony, and explained the importance of the flag.  The history of Taps was explained and played by a high school student.  Two Veteran's spoke, and many more were honored. 

The students were amazing.  So respectful.  So proud. 

I cried.  Looking at the varying ages of Veterans, and some still active, made my heart swell.  When the flags entered the gymnasium and the soldiers saluted, tears flowed.  Such brave men and women.  So proud of them.

Now is my opportunity to thank many blogger friends for supporting their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and family while they serve.  The sacrifce you make will never go unnoticed by me.  Thank you. 

And to those who serve.  Words cannot express the gratitude I have for you.  Thank you so very much for your willigness, your bravery, your honor, and your service. 

And personally, I want to say thank you to my nephew Chris Price.  He is serving in our Army.  He left a loving wife and adorable baby boy to train.  Thank you, Chris!  I LOVE YOU and I am SO proud of you!

I also want to thank Paul Zettel.  He is one of our best friends in the world.  He is active in the Navy and has had many tours out on ship.  Thank you, Paul, for your service.  And thank you Christy for holding down the fort so well while he was gone.  (Thanks to the whole Zettel family!  All three men serving in the Navy!)

Find a Veteran today, and thank them!

Description

Monday, November 09, 2009

Memorial Box Monday--Barbie KitchenTable

Reread the title.  Huh?  Barbie Kitchen Table?  Yep, you read that right. 

This week, I'll add a Barbie sized kitchen table.  Why, you ask?  Let me fill you in.

Growing up, I was spoiled.  I am the baby of our family.  I have two older sisters and and older brother.  My mom had me later in life (YES, I was a accident, but that's ok, I'm still her favorite!  HA!  We'll see if that evokes some comments from the family!).  So being the baby, with no older siblings in the house, I got to go with my mom everywhere she went.  Time alone with her.  It was wonderful!

We often found ourselves at my aunt Connie's house.  Let me give you some background on my mom and her sister.  They are both loud, loving, laughing women.  They are NOT afraid to tell you their opinion (so THAT's where I get it!).  They would (and still will) listerally give you the shirts right off their backs if you would need them.  Neither hold on to material possessions and are of the mindset that if they have it, and you want it or think it would look better in your home, take it! 

I love my aunt's laugh too.  It's infectious.  I love nothing more than to try and get a giggle out of her.  It's just something that makes my heart warm.

Well, when we'd go over to my aunt's, my cousin Tiffany was often there.  She is older than me (but only by months) and way wiser than me.  Where I was spoiled, she had to work for what she had.  She is so much more self-diciplined than I am.  She taught me a lot about life and about being independent.  She was so brave (she'd climb under the park tunnels) while I was a wimp (I'd blame the white shirt I was wearing for not climbing through them).  And we look as different as night and day.  She has dark hair and features, and is thin!  I'm blonde with fair features, and a chubb-o!

But this is where the kitchen table comes into play.  I'm not even sure if Tiffany would remember this or not, but there were many times when we were together at Aunt Connie's and we would sit under the kitchen table.  We would sit there while my mom and aunt (her grandma and aunt) would sit at the table drinking coffee and solving the problems of the universe.  We would take our sodas or toys under that table and sit for hours.  We got shooed from there a time or two, but mostly we were free to just be there.  Nestled securely under the women we most admired and loved. 

When we were under that table, all was right with the world.  We were untouchable.  The problems (jobs, family issues, etc.) that were discussed above the table never reached our safe world below.  We just knew we were safe.

Recently, my aunt had a scare.  A heart issue came up and we held our breath while we prayed to God to be merciful.  He was. 

While in the hospital, I called my aunt to check on her.  She was in good spirits and laughed and laughed with me on the phone.  But, it was during this call something more important transpired.  I was able to talk to Aunt Connie about God.  She told me she had been doing some serious communication with Him.  She said though things aren't always perfect, she does have a personal relationship with Him!

WHOO HOOO!  I know I'm an emotional/hormonal wreck, but when she said those words, I wanted to shout and cry all at the same time!  I now know, without a doubt, I will see my aunt in Heaven.  (Though, trust me, Heaven is NOT ready for her yet!)

Therefore, I'm putting in a little Barbie kitchen table.  For it was under that table, I felt loved, safe, and cared for.  It was under that table where I learned about life.  And it was under that table my love grew for my aunt and cousin.

I know this is an extremely personal entry.  And I never asked permission from mom, Tiffany, or Aunt Connie.  But, friends, I wanted to post this to remind you to NOT waste opportunities.  I was a nervous wreck talking to her, because I wanted to broach the subject.  But I didn't need to be.  God opened up the door! 

And because of this heart issue and latest hospital stay, sweet Abby has been asking about and praying for Aunt Connie often!  She is so loved!!!

What did you put in YOUR box this week?  Not sure what a Memorial Box Monday post is?  CLICK HERE!

Description

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Everyone needs a midweek pick-me-up, so tonight we did the giveaway!

We reviewed and are giving away a chalkboard placemat compliments of Paper-Source!  You can find our review HERE.

The girls were fresh from the bath, and excited to help with the giveaway! 



I think it's hysterical that they're both making the same face in this picture...but I'm not sure why!?!?  Laney got to hold the bag and Abby drew the name out!

And the winner is.........



Congratulations, Brandi!  The placemat is already boxed and ready to ship!  I emailed you (found your email on your blog---gorgeous daughter by the way!) and just need your address!

This was fun!  We'll try to do it again!  Paper-Source was so kind to send us this.  Maybe in the future we'll review one of the products you all loved!

Have a great week!!!

Description

Sunday, November 01, 2009

All Saints Day / Halloween Wrap Up

Greetings!  Here are a few pics from All Saints Day at preschool and Halloween.  The drawing for the chalkboard (per previous posts) will be mid-week.  Enjoy the pictures!!!








Description

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WOAH, Wednesday---First Preschool Pictures



ABBY

 LANEY                                                                 
















I know we're biased, but Oh. My. Word. They are TOO cute.  We want to eat them up!  (And stop them from growing up!)

Description

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Chalkboard Giveaway!

Life!  It's nuts!  But you know that, so I won't go into more detail about why I've been MIA.  On to the good stuff!

A giveaway!

Abby, Laney, and I have had the fun opportunity to play with and review a dinnertime wonder!  From the moment the box arrived, the girls were giddy to see what new treasure had come!

We received a chalkboard placemat from a very neat paper project company called Paper-source!


Included in the set was one chalkboard placemat, four pieces of colorful chalk, wooden chalk holder, and a recycled felt eraser. 

Once I unwrapped the chalkboard placemat, I'll admit, I was a little disappointed it wasn't flexible or thinner.  It appeared to be just a chalkboard.  But once I put it on the table for the girls to enjoy while I cooked, I appreciated it's sturdiness!  If it were as flexible as I had imagined, it wouldn't have stood up to the drawing, erasing, and movement.

OUR THOUGHTS:
The girls were thrilled to be using the chalkboard while sitting at their little table.  This provided a much needed alternative to paper/pencil or coloring that we use to pass the time while I'm cooking.  It settled them down and gave me a chance to focus. 

We were also impressed with the fast shipping!  This is key for excited little girls!   



It was just the right size for their little table, and provided an opportunity to share.  Which they did!  Readily!  At one point, one of them drew a line down the middle to establish how far the other one could draw (or erase!) on the board.








They practiced their letters, drew flowers, and people figures and had great fun!  Obviously, for our dinner table, we would need two, but I think it would a worthwhile purchase. 


The girls thought the chalk holder (for one piece of chalk) was pretty neat.  It kept the chalk from rolling off of the table onto the floor.  They changed their color choice quite often because it was fun to prop theirs up on the holder.




OUR WISH:
One of our only wishes is that the felt eraser was of a better quality.  We were thrilled it was made of recycled materials, but it was thin and left a thick haze on the board.  To truly clean it off, we had to use a paper towel.  This is common with other chalkboards, but it annoyed us all. 





THE LOWDOWN:
Size--14 3/4" x 18 1/2".  This was perfect for their little play table, but for our dinner table we would obviously need two. 

Cost--$15.95

THE GOOD STUFF:

We want to share the joy!  We have a brand new, boxed-up chalkboard placemat from Paper-Source ready to ship to YOU!  What a great Christmas gift this would make! 

There are no strings attached!  Oh wait, yes there are.  Here's the deal:

1.  You HAVE to leave a comment!  If it's an anonymous comment,  please leave an email address where I can notify you of your win.

2.  If you want a SECOND entry into the drawing, go to the Paper-Source website (it's great!) and tell me about another product you like, or would use! 

3.  The drawing will be held on Halloween!  October 31, 2009 we will draw a winner and ship the fun gift out on Monday!  

Check out the Paper-Source site.  They have some fun craft kits and stationery to meet all your needs! 

Good Luck!

Description

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Memorial Box Monday-with hours to spare!

Ok, so Linny challenged us again to leave a story for her...and I did.  But thought I'd finish it here.  Here's a recap:

This week's item for my memorial box is a plastic apple. When I finished my student teaching at a school I LOVED (funny though, our rivals while growing up) I had no idea where God would plunk me. I had taken a teaching assistant job at that same school, but it was only to finish out the year. By May, I had people asking all around me about what I was going to do for a job. I consistently said, "I'm not sure where God will put me. But I trust Him, wholly."   And I meant that.  I did NOT worry one ounce.  Not one bit.  I felt TOTAL peace.

Tony trusted Him too, but being the planner (and financial guy) wondered alongside all the others where I would work. We were married in the spring of 1999, so he was 100% supporting me while I student taught.

Literally, all summer everyone else seemed to sweat what I was going to do. I had put my resume out at only a couple of places. I KNEW God heard my heart, heard my cry. And He was faithful.  Seriously, though.  EVERYONE hounded me about what I was going to do.  Come on people, I serve a big GOD!

About two weeks before schools started all around this area, I got a call. It was from the school where I had student taught, and was a teaching assistant! One teacher moved into the role of Assistant Principal, which opened up her teaching position. They were offering me THAT position!

On Linny's blog, I explained that God not only gave me the cupcake, but He iced it AND put a cherry on top!  The position that opened was for a 5th grade Language Arts position (don't judge my writing here!).  God knew my heart was with the older kids (1st graders are whole other animals!) and that my passion was Language Arts.  So NOT ONLY did He provide a job, He designed that job specifically around me! 

Of ALL the schools.  Of ALL the positions.  THIS position, at THIS school opened up for me.  I just know it.  And since I have taken that job, I have had the time of my life.  I have had both 5th and 6th grade, and I have loved it. 

My loving Father, my Daddy, my Teacher, Abba, blessed me with my current job as a teacher. What better symbol than an apple? It represents my teaching, AND my trust. I trusted Him 100%.
 
Thanks for the challenge, Linny!  I needed the reminder!
 
P.S.  Stay tuned!  The givewaway is nearly ready!!  It was a fun little project I got to do, and now I get to give it away!

Description

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Think Bigger Than Yourself

First, read http://www.nogreatergift.blogspot.com/

They're working to bring home their daughter and are asking for help! 

You can: 

1.  Donate Money AND be entered in a drawing (amazing prizes)

2. Purchase gorgeous small pottery pendants where half the money goes toward their fundraiser.

I want to challenge you, friends!  I know you'd come through for us if we were doing a f undraiser to bring our next child home (who knows, we might just do that!) so step up, help out, and be the hands and feet of Jesus now!


Join Us!
Grab This Button

Description

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Tony's Misc. Post

I just wanted to drop by here and say hello. Life has been busy with the girls, work, local happenings, and etc...  So here is an update.

One of the things we have been doing recently is geocaching (visit http://www.geocaching.com/ for more information).  If you are not familiar with geocaching, it is basically treasure hunting with your GPS using coordinates posted on the website.  Our best friends Paul and Christy introduced us to this when they were in town a few weeks ago.  I think they have over 400 finds.  We are up to a grand total of 13. 


Below you will find a picture of my first geocoin found locally.  I placed it in a "travel bug hotel" near Greenfield Saturday.  I picked up a "travel bug" and plan to drop it somewhere in our hometown.  I know, you probably think we are crazy, but it is a lot of fun.  There are geocaches hidden everywhere, some right out in the open.  Fun stuff. 








(Here I am posing with the purple hippo - the photo was a requirement of finding the cache hidden nearby...)

Last weekend we hit a awesome car show with my parents and Robby and Ally.  It was a perfect day and we saw tons of awesome rides!  Robby even bumped into his pal Kenny!!


Sweet 57 & a sweet chevy truck!

Abby thinking something was a bit too loud!

Sweet 60 wagon!

Rat rods rule!

This weekend I had to replace the radiator in my Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Some would say "trade it in".  I say, with 180,000 + miles, it is a pretty good Jeep.  Luckily other than Dad fixing the exhaust recently, we have not had to do any work to it in a long, long time. 

The project went well.  My theory is that since I was listening to TBN while working on it, that had a positive effect.  The only snag was a lost small plastic fitting (probably a $1.00 item) that connects the transmmission line to the radiator.  Luckily Mom and Dad stopped by and, after searching forever, my Mom spotted it under Rett's Jeep.  Thanks Mom!!

The girls got into the project as well as you will see in the pictures.  The only loss is the black pliers seen in the pictures.  They are somewhere in the yard I am sure.  The girls were having a good time using the pliers to pull grass from the yard (I found a pile of grass on the hood of my black Nova). 


Abby helping putting the hardware on the new radiator.


Here they are posing with their tools...you cannot see it in this photo, but Laney even had grease on her face!

Well, this is totally random, but I felt I needed to show you some pictures.  I have not had much time to post due to many evenings spent working, spending my computer time on geocaching.com and etc.  This week we begin puppy kindergarten for Cooper.  "Parents night" is Monday.  This should be interesting...we'll keep you posted.  Next week I get to go with the girls on their first offical field trip with their pre-school, a trip to the orchard.  We'll keep you posted regarding that trip too.

Thanks for checking in...

Description

Friday, October 02, 2009

Prayers are the only way to save her!

Flashback Friday can wait.



There is a passionate family working hard to bring their daughter home.  If they cannot bring her home ASAP, she'll be put in a mental institution forever.  She is asking we storm the gates of Heaven today and tomorrow for God to move the government for sweet, sweet Ruslana.  That's the least we can do! 

Join me?


Read about it here.

Description

Flashback Friday

Well, my last Flashback Friday post went over like a lead balloon!  Only a couple of you remembered Jem and the Holograms!  I actually felt sad for you!  She was great! 

So, this week, I wanted to do another Saturday morning cartoon hit, but I figured I'd need therapy if you didn't remember this one either, so I'll hold off on that.  Instead, I want to highlight one of my favorite television shows from when I was an elementary school kid.. 

Anybody remember a spunky little girl who dressed in rainbow colors?  Her hair was always in pig tails and she was being raised by her foster dad?  (Hmmm, maybe that's where I first started thinking/learning about adoption?)  Of course I'm referring to PUNKY BREWSTER!  Her name was Penelope, but she went by Punky.  She was left in a grocery store with her dog, Brandon (who names their dog that?)  She eventually gets adopted by her foster dad, Henry.  (Ohhh, I remember when that actor died in real life!  I was so sad!)


I LOVED this show...I remember playing with my nieces (who are just a few years younger than me) like we were foster children and/or adopted.  I am sure we were NOT politically correct at all, but we were just kids.  I really do remember playing like one of us adopted the other one and felt so loved and safe.  We even acted out when we were first "adopted" to see if our mom would still love us!  Isn't that wild that I remember that?

So today, Friday, I salute Punky.  She was a snazzy dressin', trouble finding, little cutie.  (She had a cool name in real life too...Soleil Moon Frye.)  She was one of the first to introduce adoption and the love that goes along with it, to me!

Description

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Hmmm...so much to be thankful for.


1.  My new great-niece born this week!  (www.reidhosp.org  Click on Reid Babies, then recent births)  Her name is Kynlee Grace and she is just beautiful!

2. It's October...WHOO HOO!  I LOVE this weather, season, time of year! L-O-V-E, LOVE IT!

3.  Two cutie patooties that make me laugh EVERY single day!  Such sweet spirits!  Thank you, Jesus!

4.  Thankful my brother-in-love's surgery went well and he is recovering @ home!  (even if certain places feel like Chinese stars moving around!)

5.  God's heart for the orphan.  It challenges me.

6.  Text messages straight from God!

7.  Pastors at our church who "get" the big picture.  We need to get outta our seats and BE the hands and feet of Jesus!

8.  Thankful we serve a mighty God who carries us when we're weak!

9.  For friends. 

10.  My job.  My students make me laugh.  That's a good thing, right?

11.  I'm thankful for YOU!  My faithful readers!  I forget how many of you there are until one of you mentions a post Tony or I did.  So often you don't leave comments, so I think there are only a few readers out there! 

12.  A fun blog experience will be coming up soon!  You'll want to stay tuned for this one!  One word.  GIVEAWAY!

13.  You fill in the blank here.  What are YOU thankful for???

Description

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Here's a sentence I never thought I'd say...I mean, what are the chances this situation could actually happen?

I am thankful that the Saunders family spent half the night with us! 

(They got in about midnight, through the humidity and fog.) 


Uugh.  didn't get me cropped out in time, but here we are!  Friends new and old.  Thank you, God!

As unreal as it may sound...and as much as Satan didn't want it to happen, Linny, Dw, Graham, Emma,
Liberty, Isaiah, Elizabeth, and Elijah spent the night at OUR house last night!  The poor things, after terrible RV trouble and driving for days on end, got stuck staying in our basement on air mattresses.  But seriously, who HAS that many beds???  Hahaha.



Here was a United Nations meeting in our living room.  All surrounding a Little People metropolis.


We had the best time, albeit short, with their family.  Every single one of them is so special. They have tender hearts, sweet smiles, and a passion for God.  I am so proud to call them friends.  (Even IF Dw thinks it's weird!)


I know this has an arm in the shot...but I HAD to show you Isaiah mid-throw.  This game resulted in four kids chucking 200 balls all over the basement!  FUN!  And I mean that!


Liberty is just darling with the little ones, and a chatterbox--MY kind of girl!  And Emma fits into her role as big sister like a perfect little Mama. Graham's quiet charm is endearing, while Isaiah's smile could melt any cold soul! Elijah and Elizabeth fit in so comfortably here that it would have been fine by me if they just stayed!!! And Linny and Dw...they make it all look easy.



Elizabeth rockin' out on the harmonica!  Yes, the same one that at least five kids shared! 

AND...Dw made it out alive!  No felons here!  AND, there were NO ducks on tables here, Graham.  Unless you count the little, yellow, rubber kind.  

Sarah came over w/ her kiddos and so a great time was had by all.  Loud yelling, laughing, tackling, and cooking was going on in the basement.  PRICELESS!



Chris, Sarah, Jaxson, and Paige








Sweet Elizabeth cuddling the twin dollies.






To end our morning, we circled up in prayer.  These sweet people prayed for US, and like goofy fools, we didn't even pray for THEIR trip or safety.  But trust me friends, we have been praying since they pulled out in their RV in Colorado, and will continue to do so until they make it back home.

Thank you, God, for connecting us.  Sweet people.  Sweet memories!


Elijah thinking, "Maybe if I lay low over here, they'll just leave me be!"

Description

Wednesday, September 23, 2009