Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How is this day here already?

  The little boy that made me a Mom and stole my breath and my heart all in the same second is growing up! Chase had his first day of Kindergarten, I have spent the last few days especially asking myself how he grew up so quickly.  You always hear that your children will grow too fast, and then one day you wake up and find out that that is so very true!  He had his Kindergarten orientation last Thursday and has counted down the days since then.  This morning I could hear him as soon as he woke up, "Today I get to go to school."
  (Last night before bed we were talking about our prayer requests and I mentioned praying for Chase and his first day of school, he looked at me and said "Why Mom, I'm not scared!" I told him we would just pray for him to have a good day. His response, "I am going to have a great day!!" He was so excited!!  That turned out to be very true, he had such a great time today!!)

 I saw this idea on pinterest and fell in love with it.  It will be so exciting to see
how he changes throughout the years.

I could never get sick of that smile! 
It melts my heart everytime I see it.
Silly boys, I have no idea what they were doing!
   Yesterday Cody was feeling very sad that Chase would be going to school without him.  Chase put his excitement aside and said "Cody maybe I could hold off on school until you are old enough to go and then we could go together."  Today Cody was excited to get to take Chase to school, I love how they love eachother!

My boys......I am so blessed!

The moment he officially became a Kindergartener!

Daddy made today a special day for Cody too.  He went for a ride - where his pony took off trotting back to the barn with him, this momma was not very happy seeing Spirit trotting acrossed the arena with Cody just bouncing along. (Luke was in the arena with him giving him instructions while I stood on watching-holding my breath) He certainly impressed me though-right before they got to the barn Cody took a firm grip on his reins and pulled back.  Spirit obeyed quickly and came to a rather quick stop.  Cody keeps telling us he's a cowboy-good job buddy!! Daddy and Cody also worked together to trim Spirits hooves.

Cody following Daddy's instructions and doing a very nice job!

This seriously is the best little pony for our boys!  Cody enjoyed loving on him today.

It was a very exciting and day full of firsts.  Chase's first day of school, Cody's first day of getting to be at home on his own with us.  He loves Chase and wants to do just what Chase does, it will be exciting to see him growing into his own little person over the next few weeks.  This Momma's first day away from Chase for school, yes I shed some tears and still may but we made it!  God is so good!
After a day like today these boys were ready for bed!  I love that before they went to sleep Chase took his Grandpa book and put it in his bed (that is what is under the pillow sticking out) and gave Cody his.  I let them sleep with them when they want to but they have to keep them under their pillows so they don't ruin them.  They both wanted their soft Grandpa books wrapped around them (I tell them to pretend Grandpa is giving them a hug when we do this).  My heart is so full with the joy of today and that even though my Dad didn't get to share this day with us he was still a part of it because his Grandkids chose him to be!

I could stare at those sleeping faces all night long!  Thank you Lord for your blessings!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Court Trip - The First Dance

This is completely out of order but this is a moment I never want to forget. Capturing this moment melted my heart. Luke is absolutely in love with his little girl and one of the most heart warming moments of our entire trip was when we were in the "baby playroom" which consisted of about 4 toys plus the ones that we had brought with us and some mats on the floor. Luke was standing above her with her just looking up at him. What happened next was just so precious. He reached down and picked her up and started singing to her and dancing with her! I love that man so much and he is the best Dad to our kids, this moment was priceless!



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Court Trip - Part 2 -Meet You Day

We arrived at the HOH (House of Hope), our agency's transition home.  We waited for the gate keeper to open the gates and I felt so nervous and yet at peace all at the same time.  Knowing our lives were about to forever change was so exciting. 

 Bits of my journal from that day: We were taken to the family room where we waited less than 5 minutes and Hermella brought you in. You have the most beautiful curly hair and gorgeous brown eyes! You had a very serious look on your face. Hermella brought you right to us. 
 You were uncertain of me and then looked over my shoulder to Daddy.  That serious look turned to one of scared tears.  You were so scared and it broke my heart. 

Daddy got you some toys that Chase and Cody had picked out and once you saw them the crying stopped.  You were still so serious but very interested in your new toys.

After this it took you awhile to warm up to us but you eventually did.  We fed you and cuddled you while you napped.  We also spent some time looking at pictures of our family-you loved that book. We were not sure if you would be ok with Daddy but you certainly were a Daddy's girl. We had a great time playing and reading and watching you crawl around the playroom.  You are very quick to pick up on things and you study everything new around you.  You are so close to being able to walk,  I fear we may miss seeing your first steps.  The time went way too quickly and we dreaded saying goodbye to you.  We know we are coming back tomorrow but it just does not seem right to be leaving you there.  Your Nannies absolutely adore you though and that gives me some peace.  
Here are some pictures that tell about the day more than any words ever could. 

The serious look.

Snuggle time


Oh how you loved your fish lips that day.

Love that smile!

It did not take you long to enjoy knocking the cups over once Daddy stacked them for you.


Daddy needed some snuggle time as well.


Absolutely amazing!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Court Trip-Part I-Welcome To Ethiopia

There are many details to this trip that will stay with us forever.  I am a planner, not just a fly by the seat of your pants type person-big time planner, right down to the exact outfit I would be wearing the morning we met her (part of that was to consolidate what was packed in my defense).  I firmly believe that God has a sense of humor, one that at the time I was not amused by.  It was an adventure from the beginning- we arrived at the Airport in Rochester to find out that our first flight was cancelled. If we were staying state side it would not really have bothered me, but we weren't!!  We had to meet 2 connecting flights in order to be in Ethiopia.  They found us another flight and we were headed to Chicago and then to Frankfurt Germany where we would pick up our original flight to Addis. 
  I was scared to death to make this trip,  I mean that fear that is consuming.  I prayed and God gave me peace (once we were on the flights, better then than never).  Our first flight was a bit bumpy but once we got through that one the rest was smooth sailing, or flying should I say.  We finally made it to Addis, after around 19 hours of flying and some layovers-What an amazing feeling.  We were in the same city as our babygirl!  This is what you see when you first walk off of the plane and into the airport, I have dreamed about the moment we would get to see this sign after seeing it in so many peoples blogs from their adoption journey. 

             We got our Visas made it through customs and were of to get our luggage.  So we waited and watched as all of the luggage went by and ours was still not accounted for.  I began to get a little concerned but was told that there was another batch of luggage coming from the plane so we waited and waited some more-no luggage. We were then told that we had been misinformed and all of the luggage from the plane had been put on the belt.  At this point I was feeling the exhaustion but we found a worker and they took our information and told us that our luggage was on the plane that was leaving Frankfurt right then, it would be in Addis at 7:00 a.m. the next morning (they thought/hoped). Then after dealing with an incorrect guest house phone number and not finding our driver we made it to our guest house. I was able to call home very quickly and let them know that we made it safely and talk to the boys for literally all of 20 seconds each, enough to tell them I loved them but couldn't talk.  I/we missed them so much at this point (I know it had only been around 24 hours without them but something about being on the other side of the world makes it seem like so much longer). 
             We went back to our room where I realized that I had packed extra clothes and our toothbrushes in our carry on but no brush or comb-so I thought.  I then lost it, there may have been sobbing involved along with the fetal position-I'm not sure, we'll just leave it at I don't remember. Luke insisted I go to bed, I was quite distressed about not even being able to brush my hair (so petty I know but I wanted meeting our little girl to be perfect-that and exhaustion may have played a bit of role).  I actually did find a comb and was able to fall asleep. When we woke up the next morning the exhaustion and emotions of the night before were gone, I hoped our luggage arrived but was more concerned with meeting our baby girl.  We had a quick breakfast, went to the airport and received or luggage, went back to the guest house-finished getting ready and waited for our ride to the transition home.  There was such a peace that morning, we were so excited about what was to come but were just enjoying being in the moment of this entire experience.  There was another family at the guest house that week, they were there meeting their 8 year old son for the first time.  It was such a blessing to have them there, they had already been there a few days so new what was going on. 
           Hermella (an Ethiopian woman who works for our agency and speaks english) came with our driver to pick us up around 10:30 a.m.  The drive to the transition home was so heartwrenching and eye openeing.  I have been on missions trips before but this was different.  It was not the first time I had been in a third world country or the first time the wealth that we as Americans take for granted daily was brought to light.  It was however the first time I had a little girl with direct connections to the culture and environment that we were seeing. The first time I would forever be directly tied to this culture and we are so blessed for that connection.  Part of my heart remains in Ethiopia, not just because our baby is there but because it is such an amazing place.  The most beautiful smiles amongst severe poverty is something that I pray stays with us forever!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


We have been waiting for this day for over 2 years (closer to 3).  Last year at this time we had been told we were first on our agencies list for an infant girl under 6 months old and second on the list for 12 months and under.  So we waited, knowing the call could come anyday.  A month past with no call, and then some more time.  Finally we received an update from our agency and a referral had been given for an infant girl.  We were confused, but knew that with the wait times increasing families in front of us were most likely changing their ages and genders of children they were requesting.  So the wait turned into a year.  I knew that they would be calling most likely in the morning with a referral so I always made sure I had my phone with me at least until lunch time. 

On June 21, 2012 I went outside with the boys and never even thought about the phone.  When we came in for lunch I picked up my phone just to check for any calls (not even thinking about our agency calling).  I had a missed call, I almost didn't even check to see who it was because I wanted to get things around for lunch.  I did check though and there it was ....missed call CHI.  WHAT?!?!?!  I think I panicked a little-yelled for Luke and immediately called back.  NO ANSWER, I left a message for our worker Nicky and then started to get lunch around.  That lasted less than 2 minutes and I decided to call again.  This time she answered and had the best news for us-we had a REFERRAL!  She gave us all of her information and then said she would be sending us an e-mail with pictures of her. 

I opened our e-mail and nothing was there, I started lunch and continued checking every 30 seconds (I made a great deal of progress on lunch as you can tell).  Finally I saw the message come up and Luke and I looked at a picture of our little girls beautiful brown eyes for the first time. These are some seriously, deep, brown, heart melting eyes.  And the curls, oh those gorgeous curls.  Our baby girl was 9 1/2 months old, healthy, and BEAUTIFUL!!   That day was spent staring at her pictures a great deal.   I wanted to just hold her and tell her her Mommy and Daddy loved her.  It is so crazy to think that you have never met this little person physically, but your heart has been longing for them for so long, then you see them and are instantly in love. 

What we didn't know a year ago was that she was not even born yet.  Once we saw that picture those years of heartache over the long wait were just gone.  This journey is by no means over and we will have our share of waiting to do still, we pray though that it will be smooth from here on out! 

Getting to share the news with our boys was priceless.  I will let the pictures do all the talking.  (My plan was also to fold laundry while lunch was getting ready you can tell we were a bit distracted and that did not get done).

Luke telling them he has something to share with them, they look so interested right?.....

Apparently he has their attention now! 
                                      WHAT?!?! WE HAVE A PICTURE OF OUR SISTER!

First time seeing her picture.

Chase is not excited at all!

look at Cody just looking at her!

They love her so much and pray for her everyday!  We can not share a picture of her online because we have not passed court yet.  She is just so precious though.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Love how much they love eachother!

I have decided that I am a horrible blogger.  I think of things to write but then never actually take the time to write them down.  I just could not help but think to myself I have to write this post so that someday I can look back on it with such fond memories. 
I heard a song today that totally fits our family.  Specifically the relationship between our boys and their daddy.  I remember hearing this song awhile ago but today was so different.  The pressure of being a good parent is so huge, I (we) want nothing but the best for our kids.  We want to share our faith with them in a way that they will see the relationship we have with our Savior, not a religion with strict rules and no personal involvement.  Everything about our walk with Christ is personal, down to every decision we make-that's serious stuff when you think about it.  I know not everyone reading this believes the same as I do - whether you share in my faith or not we still all want the best for our kiddos.    Every decision that we make can affect them.  EVERY decision- that is so scary.  I'm not saying this because I think we have to be perfect parents because that will never happen; or that if we feed them a piece of pizza for breakfast instead of some highly nutritional meal they will end up totally screwed up (I would never do such a thing as that.....well not often anyways :).    But in the overall picture what they see us doing and hear us saying will shape them in a very big way! 
I am certain there will be many times that I will have to apologize to our kids for handling something wrong or speaking to harshly.  I have no problem apologizing to them when needed-I'm not perfect and it's ok that they know that!
I say all of this to preface the song that I heard... it's Rodney Atkins "I've been watching you." To me it used to just be a cute song (still is), but as our boys have grown up it really hits home how much they are 'watching us'.
      There is just something about a Daddy's relationship with his sons. 
      The children's choir sang at church last sunday and so Chase wanted to look nice.  He ran downstairs and came up with his cowboy boots on and his chaps on and then started to look for his cowboy hat.  When I asked him about his choice of attire he insisted that he needed all of this in order to look nice in order to sing.  You see his daddy trains horses and competes on them (he's very good at it too, I might be biased but it really is true!!).  When he is training he wears his chaps and cowboy hat for practical reasons (chaps to protect his jeans and hat to protect his head and face from the sun).  When he competes he also wears these.  Chase was too cute because when daddy competes he dresses like that to look nice, so Chase needed to follow daddy in how to look nice!  It was so precious and heart breaking when he started to sob because we wouldn't allow him to wear them while singing on stage (we felt it would be quite the distraction).  Luke sat with him and explained the situation and he was still disappointed but was okay with the idea of wearing them to church and taking the chaps off in the car (He wears his cowboy boots all of the time so no big deal on that one).  On the way to church he proceeds to explain to daddy that he really should be able to wear them because he is a cowboy and the only reason that no one else wears them is because there are no other cowboys at his church.  What a cutie!!
     Cody is also right behind Chase in his desire to be like daddy.  Last summer when he was riding his pony he would insist on me allowing him to stand on his pony's back (I held onto him the whole time, against his desires) because Daddy does that sometimes with his horses (I will also hold back my opinion of this action :).  The boys have to wear a helmet when around the horses/ pony and while lunging his pony in the round pen one day he decided he wanted to wear his cowboy hat instead because that is what daddy does sometimes.  Needless to say Luke and Cody were both in the round pen wearing helmets working with the little pony.  Love how much Luke loves his little ones!   Cody was daddy's shadow the other day, helped him out in the barn and then came inside with him.  Luke was sitting at our island and had to get something from the dining room.  Cody gets off of his stool follows Luke to get what he needed, follows him back and then climbs up onto the stool next to him again-with the biggest grin on his face.  Did I mention they LOVE their daddy.  Thankfully they still have plenty of snuggles and laughs that they want to share with me too-but for this post it's  about the boys!

Here's a link to that song and some pics of my boys! 

Quick update on the adoption-I will post again soon about it in more detail, we are still just waiting for our precious little girl.  We continue to pray for you continually and one of the boys favorite things to do at night as they are falling asleep is to talk about their little Annaliese.  Anything that is pink or girlie is for Annaliese as well.