Sunday, December 20, 2009

sunday snapshot: it's beginning to look alot like Christmas


today is a little random for the post. I hadn't taken any pictures to post. Honestly, hadn't planned on participating this week. I've been doing a lot of baking lately. Just haven't been taking lots of pictures of it! ;) 
so this afternoon my husband volunteered to go to the grocery for me. (a true sign of affection to me, as it's my most dreadful chore.) Plus, I was making white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, so I was a little tied up.... mmm..
Then he showed back up from the store with tons of groceries, and, red tulips. Christmas red tulips. Huh, guess I could take some pictures of these, they're gorgeous! And we sure don't see many tulips in December. At least in the midwest, where we're in freezing temps and snow-covered everything about now. 

Then I realized how Christmasy they look. Red and all. :) They go with the rest of the decor around the house.... so there's a few shots of that too! Merry Christmas!

Ni Hao Y'all

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Snapshot: the Mischievous one

We had 2 consecutive snow days this week, due to a snow storm that was well-forecasted, so I was able to prepare and plan ahead a bit. I stocked up on goodies to do some fun holiday baking, including making treats to take to several neighbors with our Merry Christmas wishes....

Well, it was a long 2 days, and the kids had helped intermittently, but I was left alone with Emily in the kitchen by now.... the least helpful one of all to finish things up. Go figure! I had gotten out all the fixin's to decorate and package the goodies before I sent them on their way, and sure enough, Emily helped herself to the ribbon. Of course, I let her, because it then worked to keep her entertained as I packaged, etc...

Just settin' the stage for ya!!

Ni Hao Y'all

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

first snow day

We are in a blizzard and school got cancelled today! It's awesome!
After Jason spent about 2 hours snowblowing/shoveling the drive, we decided to take emily out for her first experience with snow.
I knew she wouldn't be ok with watching the big kids from the window, so I got her snowpants (big enough to wear again next year) and boots and bundled her with the rest of them. And out we went. 
It was blowing quite a bit, so that was less than perfect, but she almost immediately got annoyed with her mittens. So she took one off, grabbed a handful of snow (brrrr) and then dropped it and said "done." It was so funny! She wanted to come inside after that. She lasted all of 5 minutes outside! 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Snapshot: Matthew

Matthew is our second-born. A middle child. He's the little brother of Ben. And the big brother of two little girls. He was THE. easiest. baby. Super mellow then, and now.

He loves sports.

And music. He's got great rhythm. Rocks at Guitar Hero and the like. Though he doesn't just play; he plays AND dances while he's doin' it. :)

He often seems to be in his own little world. Marches to the beat of his own drum.....that's for sure.

He's tenderhearted. Caring. Joyful.

Sometimes stubborn.


He adores his big brother. Luckily, feeling's mutual. They're tight.

Our Peach. (or as Emily has re-nicknamed him, Matt-man)

Ni Hao Y'all

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Benjamin James

10 years ago today, I became a parent. 
My world was absolutely rocked. 
I was naive, clueless and oblivious.

at 7:36 p.m., a 21 inch, 7 pound, 11 ounce baby changed my life forever.

and I am so glad.

Ben has become a sports-crazy, video-game playing kid that I love being a mom to.
He is very kind. Pretty quiet. Loves to read. Loves his siblings. Great big brother.
Joy to be around.

We have both grown so, so much in these 10 years. I can hardly imagine the next ten.

Happy 10th Birthday Ben. 
We love you.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday snapshot: Abby

Abby is 5 years old, going on 13. She's silly, funny, and starting to be a little sassy.

She is a good mix of girl, and tomboy. I only say girl because she is very emotional and dramatic. Other than that, she's not that girly.

She is constantly saying she has no one to play with. (even though she has 3 siblings.) It confirms to me that filling that gap between her and Emily (through adoption) would be a really good idea!!

She LOVES school, and loves to read; Junie B Jones is her favorite, and she reads it with all the attitude written for Junie B, which I think is very funny.
She also likes puppies, and she is starting to enjoy American Girls.

She says she loves to play soccer but is quite possibly the least aggressive soccer player that my husband and I have ever seen. It's painful for us to watch. She's totally, "if the ball comes TO me, I'll kick it, but otherwise, you go ahead..." :)

She's generally a very sweet little girl. She is kind hearted and a very good friend to others.

Ni Hao Y'all

Thursday, November 26, 2009

baby glasses

My baby had to get glasses a couple of weeks ago.
Coincidentally, they're broken right now and in the shop getting fixed. Not good, since she was JUST getting used to wearing them and now we'll have to go back through that learning curve. 
anyways, she looks pretty cute in them. hopefully she'll come around and get better about wearing them so her eyes can be corrected and she'll outgrow needing them.....

Monday, November 2, 2009

halloween 2009

So, we had a Halloween Party this year. Costumes for all, adults included. It was a ton of fun and an absolute riot to see how people costumed themselves. We hope to make this an annual thing, so now we have a year to be thinking about what to do next! Check this out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

recent emily-isms

As I said in my previous post, she's quite a go-getter....She's now almost 16 months. She is very spunky, and has lots of words lately. Dog-dog, mom, dad, bubby (brothers), baby, ben-ben, mattman, ab, up, uh-oh, poop (which the boys think is hilarious), stinky, snack, down, home.... that's all I can think of but there are probably more, and seemingly more every few days.
Here are a few recent shots!

first time with piggytails!

where to begin?

I have been completely neglecting this blog!
Not for a lack of goings on, maybe just because of that!
We've had a trip to the apple orchard, and that could be a post in itself, but I'm condensing here. We got more apples than we knew what to do with, resulting in baking several yummy desserts to try. Apple crisp (so good we made it twice), apple dumplings, and cinnamon applesauce. Everything turned out great and was delicious! The kids had a blast peeling/slicing/coring apples (see photos below!)
Matthew and Abby are playing soccer this fall, with just a few weeks to go.
Abby is her usual, non-competitive self, but is enjoying it nonetheless.
Matthew has really come outta his shell this year, being aggressive and a real go-getter. It was a jump this year, adding in goalie, and a larger field.
Opening game he scored twice, and last game had 3 goals! He's got a good buddy on the team, making it all the more fun for him!
Ben is playing flag football, and as that is winding down, he's starting basketball as well. And as usual, enjoying all things sports-related.
Emily gets carted to all these events, and is quite a go-getter herself... more on that in next post.
All this in addition to watching the Hawks have a great start to the season equals we've been busy!
Hope you're all enjoying fall as much as we are!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

old news

We had our family pictures taken a few months back and I guess I never posted them! Oops! It's updated the 'wall of photos' in our living room. But in case you haven't been over since then, here are some of the faves....

This next one is probably my favorite. 
We got a big print of it in black and white and hung it in our bedroom. 

Friday, August 21, 2009

"look out kindergarten, here I come"

The title above are the words spoken by Abby herself on the eve of the first day of school. She has been SO super excited to go to kindergarten.
The boys are homeschooling for one more year, but we knew that sending Abby was the right thing for her. And she had no hesitation about going.
The morning of the first day, we were snuggling in bed and after I told her I couldn't believe she was going to kindergarten, she told me, "well Mom, I'm growing up. And kindergarten is just part of growing up." She's such a riot.
She also got glasses recently, to our surprise. You can see below that she looks great in them. She was a little nervous about it at first, wondering if the other kids would think she looked "weird". She asked me if I thought she would look like a scientist. I assured her she could still look 'cool' in glasses.
Anyways, the first day went off without a hitch. Glasses and all. She was so excited and had a great day. Was even looking forward to going back for 'day 2', as she told me when she woke up today; always a good sign!

last days

we've had some fun over the last few weeks with summer winding down....

camping with friends

Jeremy Camp/Steven Curtis Chapman concert at the IA State Fair

A day at the Lost Island Waterpark

Paddling at the lake and a picnic after

Friday, August 14, 2009

time to share

Well, we've been busy as usual, but more has been going on than you may have known, and now it's time to share.
Last July, my husband and I saw the face of an orphan on a website that we felt pulled to, strongly. Adoption is something we have a history with, and a heart for. However, at the time we had a one-month old, so we waited and prayed, as we couldn't start anything until she was 6 months old. 
We continued to feel this pressed upon us, so come December we started sponsoring the little girl through her foster home in China. Each month, we sent her a package of clothes, toys, etc, and the kids always included cards/pictures they would make her, with "we love you" notes written on them. In return, the foster home would send us pictures of her opening the gifts we sent. It was so incredible to see the joy on her face with these simple items we had sent.  We also received monthly updates about her development and growth.

We felt more strongly than ever that God was leading us toward her and so we started compiling all the paperwork necessary for a dossier, for us to adopt her. 
By April we had homestudy visits completed and had chosen an adoption agency that would work on our behalf to do everything they could to locate her file for our family. This method is not the routine way to proceed with adoption in China, and sort of discouraged. But our agency and others, have seen it work out with families requesting specific files, so they agreed to do everything they could. We felt that God is in the business of miracles and that locating her file was no hard task for Him. We stepped out in faith and believed wholeheartedly that God had led us to her and that if it were His will for us to join our family, he could and would work out the details. 
Looking back I still feel like I can see His hand in the whole thing. Finding her file wasn't difficult, unusually. And most recently we waited to see if her file went to the shared list so that our agency could then "lock it" for us. That was our prayer. For Him to deliver her file to our agency, if it was his will. 
Well, yesterday, we got the crushing news that her file was given to another agency, and that she now has been matched with a family, not ours. 
I am heartbroken and in disbelief. Both Jason and I felt so confident that she was meant for us and we did everything possible on our end to move on her behalf.
I am resting in God's providence now. I know that it's His will, I'm just so sad that it wasn't our family He had chosen for her. We love her so much.

Please pray for our hearts to heal, and praise that she does, in fact, have a family. Also pray for Jason and I to decipher how to proceed, if at all, with adoption in general. 

So, last night we went to see Jeremy Camp and Steven Curtis Chapman at the State Fair. Terrific. Loved it. I will say, I was a little nervous about going. As most know, Steven Curtis Chapman is a huge adoption advocate and I thought hearing him talk about it may be hard for me right now. But to my surprise, it just warmed my heart and Jeremy Camp especially spoke to me; Maybe because he's been through a lot of hurt in his own life, on a much larger scale than what I am currently wading through. But during his portion of the concert he sang Walk by Faith and though I've heard it and sang along many, many times, this part really hit me last night, and then the tears came.

"I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see;
because this broken road, prepares your will for me."

That's IT! While I would have never chosen this path for our life with this little girl, apparently it's the path that will lead us to what His will for us is. Which is comforting. Hard, but comforting. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

15 years since high school? no way!

I had my 15-year high school class reunion this weekend. It was Bix weekend at home, so lots of people usually head back for Bix. it's just what you do when you're from D.Port. So it was good planning to have it then, hoping to catch lots of people being home.
I was really excited about going and had a great time catching up with people. People I actually care about and legitimately just lost touch with.
I went with 2 of my girlfriends that I've known since junior high. They're twins and we've been friends through college, weddings, kids, you know, the thick of it! They don't live closeby, so we don't get to see each other much, but when we do it's always a great time. So we had a girls' night and went to the reunion. Unfortunately as we made the mingling rounds, we hardly got to talk to each other!?
Anyways, I'm sure many of you CAN'T believe I'VE been out of high school for 15 years. I couldn't possibly be old enough for that, right?! I can hardly believe it either, but it's true.
Sweet Abby, watched me getting ready. I have very few of these kinds of nights out; dressed up and all. She thought my outfit was amazing solely because of my shoes (high heels, she calls them)!! what a riot! She asked if she could have them when she gets older :)

north carolina

We bravely decided to take a road trip for our vacation this summer and haul 14 hours out to the mountains of North Carolina. We stayed in a cabin and got to hang with Adam and Laura a bunch.
We were busy the whole time we were there; hiking, playing wiffleball, driving go-karts, playing mini-golf, horseback riding, walking across a suspended mile-high bridge, more hiking, cooking s'mores, walking around downtown, and fishing. On our hikes we got to see a couple of waterfalls, and play in one (which do you think the kids enjoyed more? duh!), they were really gorgeous.

We also took advantage of the "road-trip" and stopped in Louisville at the bat factory and got to go on a tour of how bats are made (sounds boring but was really fascinating for baseball fans like us). Then on the way home we stopped through Cincinatti for the guys to go to a Reds game. They played the Brewers and we're not fans of either team, but Jason wants to take the boys to visit all the MLB stadiums so it was nice to get one crossed off the list! He said wonderful things about the stadium and wishes Wrigley were more like it in several ways..... with the ivy, of course. While the boys were there, us girls stayed back and ordered room service dessert to eat in bed, in our pajamas, which Abby thought was the most amazing thing EVER!! such a girl!

Best parts of the trip for me were driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, really beautiful, getting to spend time with Adam and Laura just hanging out, horseback riding (once we were done and I was sure none of us had fallen off; you can't believe how rugged the terrain was that we went on; I was expecting trail and pasture, but not so!), and all the time away from life at home just being a family.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

4th of July

We're been on another adventure recently that has kept me from posting, but I wanted to get a 4th of July post up before it was too old!
We had a great time at our annual breakfast at the park, except it was pouring rain and cold!! We all got pretty wet at the parade, but the kids thought it was well worth it for the amount of loot (candy) they received. Soggy and wet, alot of it went straight to the trash, but they still thought they had conquered!