Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You are Loved!

Every one goes through tough times and most everyone has moments in their life when they wonder if anyone cares or they simply need a reminder that people do. I love Raider's solution so that he doesn't allow himself to get down. He was having a bad day so he went to his room and went straight to work on the art piece you see below. He hung it on his ceiling just above his bed where he can see it every night and every morning. I am humbled, and I learn so much by the way Raider deals with things like this. Rather than bottling it all up or growing bitter he chose to find the positive in life and lay it out in bold colors so he wouldn't forget!! He gave me permission to post this picture in case anyone else needs help and ideas for getting through a bad day. :)


P.S. I reminded him he left Jesus off the list. I should have made him sing the song... Maybe I'll do that! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Storytime

We have started moving James' bedtime back a little so he is now going to sleep at the same time as Haylie. He really loves participating in storytime and our other bedtime routines. He listens to the book intently, cracks up when we read silly things and tries to help turn the pages :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Spring in January

As much as I love the cold and the rain (and fires in the fireplace) I am a little sad that our sunny weather has disappeared over the last couple days. The kids really love to play outside and James especially, can go from a bad mood to a good mood just because he gets to go outside. We were really enjoying our Spring in January!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Cupcakes

I completely forgot to post a picture of the cupcakes for James' party. Micah and I stayed up until midnight the night before, making these. I got the idea from my friend April's baby shower several months ago and have been waiting to get the chance to make them. We were so proud of them I couldn't go without posting a pic!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Year!!!

James turned 1 year old last week. It's always so hard to watch your children grow up and it's just unbelieveable how fast it goes. I'm pretty sure I missed blogging about his 11-month and maybe even 10-month milestones so here are a couple updates on what James is up to - he's been up to a lot:

  • He is walking! - Over the last month and a half he has gotten better and better. He still falls down and is a little unstable but he is doing really well and often walks around the house without holding onto anything.
  • He is talking! - From what we can tell so far he says More, Milk, Ball and I believe he has been saying Out (when he wants out of his highchair). He has been saying the words for about a month but usually repeating the sounds after we say them - it took us awhile to realize he actually knew what he meant. Ball is definitely his most frequent word!
  • He is signing! - He says more, all done, eat and we are currently working on please and thank you.
  • He does NOT like strangers. James is still struggling with stranger anxiety or rather separation anxiety. We have a very hard time leaving him with anyone. He won't go in the church nursery or the childcare at the gym. He doesn't like babysitters or grandmas! He only likes Mom, Dad, Raider and Nanny - for everyone else if he gets any inclination that might leave him with them he instantly bursts into tears!

Here are some cute pictures of James at 1 YEAR OLD!



Prior to James' birthday party, Micah's parents came over to do a pre-birthday celebration. James was so excited to try his cupcake:
Once he got the cupcake he inhaled it in 60 seconds flat!!
Then, the day of his actual birthday party he just stared at the cupcake for awhile and finally dove in!
Unlike most kids who are interested in the paper or even the kids who are interested in the toys, James was just trying to hide from the large group of people all around him. He is a little anti-social :)
We had a doggy birthday party - I think James is also saying "woof woof" now when he sees his dog book or stuffed animal.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Gang

We have such a great Bible Study group. I feel like it's our own little "gang" - you know like "the gang's all here" not like "gang initiation." :) It's so fun to have a group of people who's company that you enjoy, that you can hang out with, pray for, share in each other's joys and sorrows, watch your kids grow up together and hang out at the beach together. This weekend we went to Bodega Bay for our 5th annual Bible Study retreat and we had so much fun. I loved staying up late, sleeping in (no kids), playing card games, chatting, and hanging out.

Here's "the gang" (minus Travis and Bethany - we were so sad to be missing you!!)
And the girls...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy Feet

Haylie and her cousin Kiley have been taking tap classes for the last two weeks and they LOVE it. Haylie can't wait to go to dance class each week. We were deciding between tap and ballet so we tried out both and the girls chose tap class. Although Haylie really wants to be a ballerina, all the noise that those tap shoes make was just too much fun to resist! It is the cutest thing ever so excuse the picture overload!!! (These are from the last two weeks)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Buddy and Me

In the last couple months James has grown really attached to his big brother Raider. It is really the cutest thing! James loves to have Raider hold him. When Raider comes home from school James jumps out of my arms or races across the floor, so excited to see Raider, and then he just hangs out with Raider as long as possible. When Raider tries to hand him back to one of us, James bursts into tears. Raider is so excited that his little brother loves him so much and we are really proud of Raider for being a good big brother!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Reading by Haylie

Haylie carries this book around looking for anyone she can read it to. (She read it to the whole family several times while we were at Christmas in Southern California) Here she found a captive audience in James since I left him sitting in his car for a minute and he couldn't escape...

"Never Put a Frog in the Kitchen Sink"

She has her own take on the book but here is how one of the pages reads so you can follow along:

"Never put a frog in your Daddy's Shoe, your Daddy's shoe, your Daddy's shoe. Never put a frog in your Daddy's shoe or your Daddy's going to yell: 'Who put a slimy frog in my shoe, in my shoe, in my shoe. Who put a slimy frog in my shoe, your Daddy's going to yell.'"

video

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ringing in the New Year

We had a low-key New Years with a few friends from our Bible Study group. We went out to pizza and then just hung out and played some games after. Micah and I agreed this was definitely our kind of New Year's event. It's funny how you learn more about yourself as you get older - I have learned I like small groups and low-key events - I'm really not a big party, lots of people, kind of girl. I am a dork and I love to play games like Pictionary and just sit around with good friends and chat. It was perfect! And... a few pics of course:


Pictionary. The boys won :(

Dave and Natalie were in town so they came by - It was so fun to have them join us!
Rob and Danielle - poor Danielle had to work - we missed you :(

The group... (Sorry I cut you out Grant!)

2009 Here We Come

It's always amazing when another year passes and we celebrate the next year. I love memories and I love love love thinking about all the wonderful times we get to enjoy with family and friends. Which is why I think I love scrapbooking and photography... and blogging, so much. I want to find every way possible to capture those memories. 2008 was a great year for new memories - here are some of the things that top my list:


  • I started this blog :)
    James joined our family!!
    Haylie broke her arm :(
    Raider started a crutch and boot collection for all of his foot injuries
    Micah dislocated his finger sending the bone out through the skin
    I enjoyed the first half of the year on Maternity leave and made the decision to start working part-time (Best decision ever!!!!!!!!)
    Micah's sister went into the Coast Guard and we were able to be there for her graduation from Boot Camp - she also turned 21 this year - yikes!!!
    We lost a snake in the house
    Haylie potty trained herself :) and started preschool
    We vacationed in Seattle and Canada and visited my good friend Sarah
    Micah and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary in Arizona with family


And the best one: Today Micah came home with the greatest surprise gift! He printed out and bound my whole blog into a book! I had seen it done on someone else's blog when I first started blogging and I told him I wanted to do that when I was done. After I finished my last post of 2008 yesterday, Micah was so sweet and went straight to work compiling and printing my book. Needless to say I was sooooo excited and overwhelmed when he brought it home and surprised me with it today. I had no idea he was going to go and do it. I will treasure it forever!!

Blogging is such a fun way for me to capture all those memories and save them forever, I love being able to read back over the funny stories that happened and the little details of our life that I might otherwise forget...so lots more stories to come in 2009!!! Here are some pictures of my book:


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas Catch Up - Final Edition - A Home For the Holidays

On December 28th we celebrated the 3rd anniversary of Raider's adoption into our family. We always have a mini-birthday party for him with just our family. We do small gifts and go out to dinner to celebrate his special day.

The next day I watched my TiVo'd version of a CBS special called "A Home For the Holidays" and his special day meant that much more to me than ever before. This was the 10th anniversary of the program but for some reason I never recall seeing it before. It was a great program about foster care and adoption, helping to bring awareness and advocacy to an important cause in our nation / world.

I wanted to highlight some of what was shared in the program because it is something I am so passionate about. There are over 500,000 kids in the US alone that are in Foster Care, waiting for a family, someone to care about them and love them.

The program opened up with a very touching story about a man named Fred Milner who was in Foster Care from the age of 3. He bounced around from home to home and never found a family who was willing to adopt him. At 18 he went into the Military and and shortly after he met his wife. For the first time in his life he had a family. In the program he said as he was growing up "I had no one." As the years passed he just longed to be adopted. He said, "No matter how old one is - everyone needs to be loved." It made me realize even after 18 when a child no longer technically needs to be "adopted" they still have no one. Who do they spend Christmas with? and Thanksgiving? No matter how old these children get - there is still a deep need to have a family - people who care about them. It really breaks my heart to think about it!

The next story was about a 16 year old boy named Haisten and an 11-year old girl named Katy who were adopted by a family. In the segment Haisten said "The best part of my life now is coming home to a family that loves me." And Katy said "I am always smiling now...I'm happy, because I'm loved." Another boy Dakota, who was adopted said, "It's just really great. because you're not alone; you have your family to count on, they're always there for you." The program then shared stories of kids who are still in Foster Care waiting to be adopted (with ID numbers and everything). I sware if I was watching the program live I would have called in. Micah and I know that we will adopt again soon. We weren't quite ready yet because James is still young but the stories shared in the program were so compelling and heartbreaking I just got so anxious for that day.

Despite the fact that I was in tears for most of the show this was the absolute best program. On Raider's adoption day he gave Micah and I this very thoughtful note which touched us so significantly I cannot even express! (click on the images below to read the front and back of the letter - by the way Raider gave me permission to post this):


I share this not to toot our own horn in ANY WAY. We all have the ability to make a difference in a child's life and provide a home for a child who may otherwise go unloved. In fact during the program one of the adoptive fathers said, "Everybody always tells me what a wonderful thing we're doing for the children and I always follow with 'what a wonderful thing they've done for us.'" I feel the same way. Adopting Raider has been a blessing in our lives and it was simply an answer to where we felt God was leading us.
"A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27
If you feel that God is leading you to adopt, there are numerous resources to get started. The purpose of the "A Home For the Holidays" is to inspire families to adopt and over the years thousands of children have been adopted because of the program. You can go to their website here to get connected and learn more about becoming an adoptive parent.
If you made it this far thank you so much for reading about one of my greatest passions!

Christmas Catch Up - Southern Cal

We love traveling to Southern California to spend Christmas with Micah's family. Here are a couple of pics from our time there:

Raider readig the Christmas story before opening gifts on Christmas Morning:
Haylie's favorite present:
James had no idea what all the mayhem was!
Making a gingerbread house with family in Southern California:
The "silly" picture with all the family (apparently Raider ducked in the back for our silly shot!)