Friday, February 14, 2014


What could the surprise be???  No we are not adopting again... this is actually a surprise photo blog of special photos that have not yet appeared on the blog. T has now been home over a year.  I was looking back on my extensive blogging during our time getting her and our time shortly after we got home and I realized that some photos were missing.  I felt like they needed to be missing at the time because I didn't want to cause any debates.  To most people these photos would not cause a debate, but to others they could.  In our cocooning with each child we decided to allow grandparents to meet us at the airport and spend a couple of days with us before the deep cocooning begins.  This has worked very well for us both times.

I hope you all enjoy these sweet photos from a year ago.  It is incredible to see how much T and M have grown in the last year.  We were so blessed to have our families meet us at the airport when each of our kids came home. 

M: So Grandma Judy was reading to me and L when mommy and daddy were still gone.

M: Then Grandpa Tom read some more because I really liked the book.

And then we came home!!!!  These photos are from a few cameras so they are not in order... but they are being posted 13 months late so really, order is not that relevant, right?!

The weary crew and the proud grandparents at the airport.
Loving Grandpa Daryl
So I did post this one a year ago... but had to post it again, JOY times 4 right here!

Why yes, we even let M try to give T a bottle right away... it only lasted a minute then mommy took over.

Meeting Grandma Kathy in the airport.  Necklaces are a huge hit!
Meeting Grandpa Daryl.  I am thinking she might not have been smiling here. 
 We did get many shots at the airport with all four grandparents holding T, but she wasn't really thrilled in them so I chose to just post the happier photos.

T: Just having a little play time with Grandma.

T: Well hello there Grandpa Tom
 This photo of T with Tom always reminds me of the photo below of M with Tom the day after he came home!
M: Check out my finger Grandpa Tom.

Getting to know Grandma Judy... not quite sure.

And now not quite sure about Grandma Kathy
The very best photo of my parents with their grandkids! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Children's Museum AND Indoor Playground... because it is cold!

OK, this *might* be my last post from the cold... well unless we get hit with another blast!  The cold weather has commanded us to get creative with our play this winter.  Brandon has taken the kids to "playland" several times (McDonald's, he gets a shake and they play) but we decided we might need to expand our adventures as the cold days continued. 

Last fall at FFSS we won tickets to a children's museum at the silent auction.  We have a reputation of forgetting to use what we win, but we didn't forget about this one.  The kids and I had a BLAST at the museum.  I had no idea how lovely it was.  There is a well known one in our area and this isn't it, but we liked this one more actually.  The kids played hard all morning and stayed very regulated.  We even ran into another adoptive family who recognized our family from a FB group. 

T: Wat, Wat mommy!  I can see the things move in there when I play!

T:  I love grocery shopping!
And then we went to the 4th floor and saw the fire station and M was so filled with joy and awe I almost cried!!!!!  M shows every person that comes to our house these pics of him.  He was so proud!
M: I am really really really a fire fighter!
M: Hurry T we need to get to the fire!

T: It feels so good to be behind the wheel!

M: But mom where is the mask part of the breathing apparatus?

T: The fish aren't biting, but at least I have a snack.

T: Time for a GF pretzel break at the magnets!

M: I can be a light house operator and a fire fighter!

M: These magnets sure do stick!

T: I like fishing... maybe I will get a pole soon too.

M: I am so brave and up so high!

Can you see me down there mom?
Throughout the summer Brandon and a friend Todd went biking with their four combined kids in the Burley carts.  The kids were troopers and they were able to go biking each week until about Thanksgiving.  Then it started snowing and hasn't stopped.  The kids have been having play dates at Todd's house which is great.  During the big freeze the dad's decided to go off site for a little adventure.  They went to an local indoor playground.  The kids all really enjoyed themselves and M is making big plans to go back there again! Since it was well below zero I should mention that M wears warm clothes on top of his summer clothes and then strips them off indoors. 

T: What?  This stroller isn't park of the playground?  Well, it sure is fun!

T: Weee!

T: Swim faster fishy!

M: Y and I love to race down the slides!

T: I LOVED playing in this little house.  Fist bumping the doors open was my favorite!

T: Welcome to T's house of joy!

M: The climbing wall was awesome!
M: Thanks for taking us to this cool place Dad!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow Day-Care!

Another COLD day post!  The weather was so cold on the day these photos were taken that area schools and CC were canceled.  Since we didn't want our friends to have to use up sick days we decided that K and J and also G would come to our house for the day.  We had many adventures!  It was a busy house.  T was having a very sad day so that made things a little stressful for this mama. 

We started the day with making a new kind of play-dough.  It only has two ingredients.  It was sort of a fail, but I wouldn't call the product a failure, I would just modify the making of it next time.  It is one part conditioner and two parts corn starch.  The dough it makes feels crazy melty cool in your hands, but the mess it makes is insane! 

If I made it again I would mix it together in a ziplock bag so cornstarch wouldn't go everywhere.  I then might just keep it in the bag to squeeze and feel in there... or take it out but not use cookie cutters... oh well, live and learn! 

We also did the boiling water outside thing.  G even recorded all our guesses and the results! 

We did a lot of eating including lunch and two afternoon snacks of banana ice cream and popcorn. 

We did a lot of playing everywhere in the house! 

We did very little sleeping... there was just too much fun to be had with friends! 

These kids are all very very dear to me and it was special to spend the day with them, but I learned a valuable lesson that I was pretty sure I knew before the day began... day care would not be a great fit for my personality :) 

A tiny bit of the mess.  My kids had already abandoned the dough for other adventures!

Making puzzles with little helpers!

The crew ready to make banana ice cream!

The "Green" buddies on bikes!  M: Hey G, I think you are getting a little big for that bike!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


If you were to survey my friends and family and ask them about my fears, I am pretty sure birds would come up in every conversation.  While chickens are the number one feared bird and geese a close second, all birds scare me.  With that being said, birds at a distance (and from behind closed doors of course) are beautiful and fascinating to watch. 

I have truthfully and honestly taken great delight in watching the birds outside of our house.  I wrote recently about our flock of 50ish finches.  We also have many other types of birds that eat at our feeders most days. 

One tree limb pile is very close to our house and while I am washing dishes I can see the birds so closely and clearly.  I think God has really given me a deepened care and appreciation for birds this winter. 

The birds are also hilarious.  They do flying sprints back and forth from the pile to the feeder.  About 30 birds at a time.  Sometimes they have midair collisions going to and from the feeder.  To be still with the kids and watch the birds is such a gift!  We tried to take some racing photos, but they are much to fast and often were not all in the frame at the same time, but these photos sort of show what I am talking about.

I know it is blurry through the screen, but can you see the flock out our kitchen sink window?
Trying to capture some of the flock, but they don't all fit in a frame. 

A small pack racing to the feeder!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Blessings, Gifts, and Praises

 I don't do New Year's Resolutions.  I know I don't keep them, so why make a big deal about starting something the first day of the year.  This year I did start something the first day of the year, but I wouldn't call it a resolution exactly.

A woman in my connection based parenting group wrote about a practice she had of trying to write down 5 good things that happened each day at bedtime that night.  In parenting trauma kiddos our minds easily go to the HARD stuff of the day and we forget to think about the great stuff both big and small.

I decided that I would start writing about my good stuff on January 1st.  So far so good!  I keep a running list and most days I have well over five.  I don't love to journal.  I don't write fancy and most of the time I am in a hurry.  Many of the things are not profound, but they are there, on paper!

I have been amazed by how many GREAT things happen each day.  Our days are so filled with gifts!  At first I thought "1000 gifts" in a year would be a goal, but now I am guessing I could be closer to 3000.  My life isn't super easy right now, but if someone looks back on my blessing journal (or journals) from 2014 they will be in awe of the great work God is doing each day in my heart and life! 

Friends, you don't have to wait until next January 1st to start this.  Maybe tonight before you go to bed you could write down your five things.  It is so fun to see the pages fill!  Many of you who read this blog are frequently mentioned in my journal.  It is such a special way to end the day giving praise and thanks to God for the blessings of the day!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Sometime in the middle of all the crazy cold I decided we needed to make some Play-dough.  It just so happened to be a night that Brandon had a meeting.  Amazingly K and J (some of M's favorite people) were able to come to our house during the meeting.  After the meeting when I told Brandon what the kids did I am pretty sure he thought K and J were forced into the play-dough play, but they truly enjoyed themselves!

I used a very simple recipe:
Mix together
2 c. Rice flour
2T Alum (in the spice section of grocery stores)

Heat to boiling:
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sea salt (you could use cheap stuff, but I didn't have any)
1T. oil (I used olive)

Stir liquid s into dry ingredients.  Knead until smooth.  Store in airtight container.

It lasts and lasts.  You could add a couple of drops of food coloring to the water, but we don't have that here, and since I know my kids might sample it I would rather they not eat food dye.

My kids did sample it.  I think T swallowed some of it.  She had a cold at the time so we will call all the salt healing :)

Everyone hard at work.

T: I really needed a drink, this snack is salty!

M is proud of his creation!

T: I needed a second drink after all that salt!  J made some great looking people!

I was quite surprised to come home from an evening women's event to learn that the dads and kids left behind all had play-dough adventures because K and J asked to play it again!  The dads enjoyed themselves too!
5 kids, 3 dads, and play-dough makes for a great Friday night!
Brandon left the party to put T to bed and came down to discover that M was not the only Sound of Music lover in the bunch.  Jesse's phone was playing the soundtrack that M is addicted too and everyone there was singing along!  Wow do we have great friends!!!!

Proof of the great tunes!

Sound of Music and Play-Dough party!  Brilliant!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Green Eating!!!

Every once in a while you have to have a little fun with dinner, right?  One night I discovered that a couple of items on the menu were green and decided to have a fully green meal.  The entree was Split Pea Soup.  We also had edamame, kiwi, and avocado.  This was one of the best meals we have ever had.  Both kids cleaned their plates and bowls!

Brandon didn't used to think he liked Split Pea Soup, but once I found this awesome and simple crock pot recipe he (and our whole family) think it is super tasty.

HERE is a link to the recipe I use.  I realize that some of you won't click on the link so I will paste the simple instructions below with credit going to the link above of course.

16 ounces split peas
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced (I might have done a couple of extra)
1 -1 1/2 cup white onion, chopped (I used a yellow onion because that is what I buy)
2 garlic cloves, smashed (I used garlic powder and worked great)
1 bay leaf (I think I used 2)
1 tablespoon salt (yep that is a lot of salt.  BUT there is no canned stuff in here so just trust me on this and put it in)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 cups hot water

1 Layer ingredients in order listed above. Do not stir
2 Cover and cook until peas are soft High: 4-5 hours or Low: 8-10 hours
3 Remove bay leaf and garlic (if it has held together) before serving.

I have made the above recipe now three times and each time it has been incredible! 

M: I am going to turn green after this meal!
T: Moe Cada (More Avocado)!