Tuesday, July 23, 2013


One year ago we got "the call" while we were watching the Waltons. We received an email with photos that night.  I realize I have never shared our first photo of T.  It is hard to imagine how much time I logged in staring at this photo!  We have no clue when it was taken exactly.  She was a little over 5 months when we got the call so it could have been super recent or could have been a month or two old.  What a peanut!  All bundled up! 
Our referral photo of T
T one year later!
The week of significance continues as tomorrow we celebrate a unique milestone.  M came home from Ethiopia when he was 17months and 8 days.  Tomorrow T will be 17 months and 8 days.  Crazy to think about how much she has changed in that time and to observe the ways that she is the same and different than M the day he came home.

We will be getting family pictures taken tomorrow night so we will forever be able to mark the day with photos.

The 30th will also be a special day as it will be a celebration of T being home for 6 months.  I hope to do a 6 month home blog soon.  The 30th also happens to be my Birthday.  Lots to celebrate around here!  God is good!

Friday, July 19, 2013

First Road Trip as a family of Four!

* This post is really long... oops!  It took me a week of naps to get this baby up.  Enjoy!

We recently returned home from our first big road trip to visit Brandon's family and extended family.  Somewhere along the way I guess we decided to exchange all digital photos from the weekend.  I just spent an hour going through almost 600 photos from several cameras.  After weeding out a crazy lot of great photos I got the folder down to 66 photos.  These photos will be very focused on my kiddos and special memories and experiences from the weekend.

We arrived on a Wednesday evening and enjoyed some special time with just grandparents.  T's first night of sleep involved a long wake up which makes sense as it was her first night away from our home since coming home.

Thursday was the 4th of July.  We packed a lot into the day.  M is always the first one up in our family.  A great added treasure of our time with family is early morning grandparent and M time.  M loves to wake up and head downstairs to get Grandpa Tom.  They have many adventures together like; feeding animals, watering flowers, playing outside and inside.  I know the two of them treasure their time and Brandon and I so appreciate the rare chance to sleep in. The morning started with T meeting many members of the extended family.  After everyone arrived we took family photos.  It was quite a production with 4 little kids.  I have not seen any of the actual photos from the camera that was taking the real shots (well I don't think so anyway) but I will include one that I think turned out pretty well.
T: Can't we just have a moment without all the cameras?
M: I am not going to smile!  (When he says this he means it!)
T: Hmm who should I play with first?

M:  This one is a little low.

M: I love playing baseball indoors! Grandparents Rock!
M: Indoor baseball is so exhausting!
T: This nice (great aunt) lady won't stop smiling at me.  I guess I could give her a little smile too!

T: After my Chinese New Year Leg Lift I figured I owed it to America's Birthday to see if I had another lift in me... I've still got it friends!

Annual Dentist Office/Christmas Card photo in progress.  Not sure if this is the final one, but it is pretty good!
M&T: Hey, why is there a photo with no kids in it?  Strange!

After lunch and naps we went to "Uncle Curt's Farm" to roast hotdogs and eventually have fireworks.  Grandma Judy purchased hotdogs for M and I to eat and they were amazing!  If you have never tried Applegate hotdogs I can not recommend them enough.  I had not had a hotdog in 10 years and I forced family members to try these because I could not believe how tasty they were.  I digress... Anyway, T and I left the farm early and M stayed LATE for the Fireworks.  He loved them.  He also loved watering the cows with his cousin A.  I am pretty sure they did give water to the cows, but I am certain they watered themselves in the process!  M loves (Great) Uncle Curt and it was special for him to have time with at his farm.

M: When is this baseball game going to start?  I have been standing like this for many seconds now!

M: Being an outfielder is a BIG job!

T: Just a second girls, I need to get my shades on. 
A: T, do you want to try standing on the chairs?  T: Sure, let me just do my usual pose for the camera first and then when the big people leave we can jump up and down on these chairs!

(tilt you head friends)  M:  Ding! Ding! Ding!  I am the fire chief!

T: I have a lot of great aunts!

M: Big T2 is so much fun!  We are handsome together.

T: Every time I try to pick these up one of them falls.

T: I did it!!!!!!

T: OK A, in this photo I am going to look a little under the influence, how about you do the SAME thing in the next one!?

T: Great work A, you really pulled that off well!

T: We are just practicing our supermodel sad faces.  Watch out runway here we come!

T: If you just hit the bell, it isn't so loud.

A: We should start a league of our own.  T: Sounds good, I'm in!
M: Wow Uncle Curt, you sure have a lot of cows!

M: We were sticking out our tongues so we could be like the cows.

M: Why do we need to count the cows Uncle Curt?

M: Hey we should play in the dirt!
M:  We are con-struck-in men.
M: First I got to help Uncle Curt water the cows.
M: Then A came to help me.

M: Then we stuck the hose in the water so that water would fly in the air.

M: Then we watered each other.

M: Then we hooked the hose to a pipe to fill the other tub.

M: Then we gave the cows some special mud and rock treats.

M: After all that hard work I was a little wet!

M: Bring on the Fireworks I am ready! (When M heard those lighting the Fireworks were wearing eye protection he wanted some too.)

Friday morning I had a dentist appointment and was cavity free!  The afternoon was our annual trip to the lake.  This was T's first time on a boat and in a body of water bigger than a bath tub.  She did very well.  She was a little frightened, but then got used to it.  M enjoyed it much more than last year.  Brandon and others did quite a bit to tubing.  I kept and eye on the cloudy sky and kept wondering and asking if the rain clouds were headed our way.  Well, as it turns out they were indeed.  We ended up being out on the lake for a 45 minute rain and even thunder storm.  It was quite an experience, but since we had plenty of snacks we were all in good spirits.  The guys who were tubing in the pouring rain have quite a story to tell as well.
M: You are such a good cat Spot!
M: How fast can this train go?

T: These babies (stuffed animals) are so soft.

M:  So, I had some fun on the horse.
M: T you play the black keys and I will play the white ones.  T: Actually M, I like to sing and slam my hands on the piano.  It sounds beautiful.
T: Mom, I am not sure about this HUGE bathtub.

M: I like the cold water the best!
T: The bathtub feels a little better when Daddy holds me on this thing.

A: Are you sure you know what you are doing?  M: No, but I am going to try it anyway.

M: The rainstorm wasn't so bad.  We had lots of snacks!

Friday night I ate some hummus that had dairy in it and didn't realize it.  It tasted great going down... not so great coming up all through the night.  When Brandon brought M to the bathroom in the middle of the night he could not believe that mommy was sleeping in there.  For several days after that he continued to ask me if I was really in the bathroom or if he was just dreaming... too funny.

Saturday morning some of Brandon's aunts came to visit and play and then we went and visited one of Brandon's grandmas.  It was special for our kids to spend time with her and for T to meet her. The kids took great naps then we went to Saturday night church with Brandon's parents.  After church we had our annual steak dinner.  Even with the events of the night before I was able to enjoy a steak with onions and mushrooms.  It was so very tasty.
M: How do I look?  (You look great M!  So big, so handsome, so athletic).

M: batting is hard work!

T: Almond milk, my favorite!
T: Bye Mom, Baby and I just need to run a few errands.
T and M: Hey look, we can fly!

T: I love swinging, and grass between my toes, and wearing my PJ's all morning, and adventure!  I think vacations are a great idea.
(tilt your head) M: Say "One, Two, Three, Jump and I will jump."

T: Maybe Daddy should hold me so I can climb higher.  (He did, and then she did)
M: Real men are comfortable in crowns!

M: I was so excited to introduce T to our Great Grandma R.  T: I am not feeling very stable here.  Could I get a little help please?

M: I can always count on my grandmas to read me lot of great books.

Sunday morning Brandon did the dentist thing and visited his grandma once again.  In the early afternoon all of Grandpa Tom's family came to visit.  Yep, everyone!  Tom's siblings and their spouses and their children and their spouses and their children... and even one of Tom's cousins and his aunt.  It was a FULL house.  There are 3 boys about 18 months apart and 3 girls about 9 months apart.  It was so fun to see them all play together.  It was a so sweet to see how much M loves (Great) Uncle Rick.  He followed him around all day and begged him to play.  I guess Brandon did the same thing at his age.

Every surface was filled in the kitchen so naturally my "Shelly Safe" mustard chicken had to be stored on the living room above the fireplace.  Good thing I am tall. 
M: Uncle Rick,   why aren't you making a funny face?

T: Hey girlfriends, we should go shopping.  (of course it is blurry, they are all moving)

A: I am the oldest girls, so I will drive.  T: Well, I might have to go get emotional about that.

M: Higher Uncle Rick!

Four generations!

T: It was fun to meet GiGi!

M: I sure feel safe with Uncle Rick holds my hand.

Monday we headed home and the vacation was over.  We made many incredible memories and had such a special time.  T is not a super traveler, but she will get better and we all made home safely so that is what matters. The van was wonderful!  T was so happy to be home and we really think that while traveling wasn't easy her attachment once we actually came home is stronger than before.