"Tell your children of Him, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation." Joel 1:3

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Next steps

Today, Jason and I went to the agency to sign a bunch of paperwork for bringing Livi home. Immigration approval is the next step and it has been averaging about a 4 week wait. After that, there's Embassy stuff and article 5's, NBC paperwork and travel approvals......all of which should average around 12 weeks, give or take. I'm not setting my watch cuz I don't want to be disappointed if it takes longer....and secretly I'm thinking that the more time until we go gives us just that much more time to come up with the rest of the expenses....
But for now, we are very excited.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Official

Today, after spending 10 weeks looking at that precious face, we got our official approval to adopt Miss Olivia. We couldn't be more excited!
Tomorrow we head to the agency to sign some paperwork and send out the next part for immigration. We will also be able to send her a care package and request more pictures of her. That I cannot wait for!
YAY!!! She's ours!

Thanksgiving 2010

It came and went and here it is 5 days later already. My gosh, time flies.
We had a really nice day at Mike's house with tons of good food

lots of laughs, and loud kids all over the place. Pretty typical holiday for us.

That night I went with Mindy, Pat, Lindsey, Kristin, Amy, and Dan to the outlet mall that opened at 10pm. Other than being freezing outside, it was a lot of fun. There were a ton of great deals and I was surprised at how much I was able to find. I'm thinking this is going to be a new tradition. It sure beats getting up at 3am on Friday to wait outside all the other stores.
On Friday, after Jay got off of work, we went out to the Mall of America with the kids. We mostly strolled around from store to store and floor to floor.
For dinner, we decided to go to Ruby Tuesday's. As we were sitting there, I noticed a family with 2 little girls that looked like they might be from China. The younger of the 2 seemed to be about the age that Olivia is and I couldn't stop watching her. I was sure the mom was gonna see me staring and think I was nuts. Jay knew I was dying to talk to them, but I didn't want to impose so he just took it upon himself to instead. Hey, no one can ever accuse that guy of being shy.
Long story short....we got talking to them and sure enough, they had adopted both little girls from China and the youngest had just come home about 6 mos. ago. She was 2 1/2. We asked the parents some advice about what to expect when we go there to get her. Her best advice was to not have any expectations or ideas or how it will go because you just don't know and you just have to be able to go with the flow. That's our plan. Just love her and hold her and try to get her to trust us....just a bit, before returning home.
The boys were so cute with the girls and it gave me a glimpse a few months into the future. We can't wait. We ended up getting their email address and are hoping to stay in touch throughout. It's always good to have other people around you who have gone through it. I just love how God puts people in your way like that.

This year, above all, I am thankful for my growing family. For our continued health and the boys' safety. Everything else in life is gravy.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tony's missing teeth

Less than 2 weeks ago, Tony still had all his front teeth.
Look at how things can change in just a short time.
This is a week ago....

And this is today.

I'm not sure how many more he can lose in front before we'll have to put him on a liquid diet.

Running out of time

For some reason I thought I'd check on my New Year's Day post from this year. I knew I had listed some things I wanted to accomplish so I figured I check them out to see how I've done.

Um....bad idea.

The way I see it I have 2 options.....

I can either say forget it, I failed miserably


I can take the next 6 weeks and try and do something....anything.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure yet which option I'm going to take.

It's 1:15am and I'm tired so option 1 seems like a pretty good idea right now.

I mean, it's only 6 weeks away from being able to start all over again.

Maybe in the morning I won't be in such a hurry to take the easy way out.

To be continued.......

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Months

Yesterday marked 2 mos. since we saw our Olivia's face for the first time. We are on day 62 of waiting for our LOA. Maybe we are supposed to count from our PA time which would knock about 2 weeks off of that wait. At any rate, we're getting closer. The average time to LOA is 6 weeks. I'm praying we get it this week. I don't think I can stand it much longer. I just want to have that and move on to the next part.
Soon....I hope.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Proud mama

I have to say, if the boys ever quit wrestling I think I will be in mourning for a long time. I LOVE it! It is the most exciting sport they play. On the mat it's just your kid and the opponent. That's it for the 3 rounds. Unlike football where they may or may not get the ball or a play. In wrestling, it's all them for the moment and it's exciting!
Last night was probably the best night of wrestling in the 5 years we've been a part of it. It was the round robin tournament which means that every kid is on a mat with 3 other wrestlers in their weight class and they verse all of them. Unlike Wednesday night when we had the team tournament (where our team remained undefeated for the season and won the match to become 1st place champions), this one is for individual placement. We went into the evening with Tim and Trae both going all season undefeated in their individual matches and Tony and Tanner each only losing twice.
Okay, here's a warning.....I'm gonna brag about my kiddos for a minute so if you don't want to hear a mom who thinks her kids are the bomb...stop reading. :)
Seriously.....Tim and Trae are amazing on the mat. In all fairness to the mom braggin' thing.....I'm not the only one who thinks this. They stand out. I've heard more than a couple coaches on opposing teams tell their kid who is up against them that very same thing. On Wednesday, they both versed other undefeated kids and both easily pinned them. The coach to the one Tim challenged was overheard telling the kid not to worry about that one cuz Tim was the best wrestler in the organization. Honestly makes my chest heave with pride. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of my boys no matter what they do and how good they are.....but dang, it's sure fun to hear stuff like that. Timmy has done a move to pin several times this year that everyone is calling his 'signature move'. He get his opponent in a position where he can grab him around the back of his neck and pull him around into almost a somersault and then presses the kids shoulders down for the pin. Hard to explain, but pretty cool to watch.
I was approached a couple weeks ago by the Middle school coaches and they want Tim to join their team for the season. Even though our boys go to private school, they are still allowed to play sports through any public school program. We're actually not going to have him do it for many various reasons (most of which have to do with the season's scheduling) but it was a compliment for them to notice him.
Trae is a wild man on the mat. This is not the same kid that is my drama queen at home. He's a different kid when he wrestles...it's quite the transformation. He has pinned just about every guy he's versed and even got a "tech" win on 2 matches which means he was winning by 15 points so they call the match. He just doesn't let up, the other kid just barely has a chance cuz Trae is all over him.
Our coaches are awesome! One coaches at the high school and the asst. is a H.S. wrestler himself. They have had fun this year teaching Tim and Trae moves that they don't normally teach at this level. Great ways to pin the opponent that look pretty darn cool when they pull it off. The kind of pin where the bodies get so wrapped around each other that the other kid hardly knows what hit him before the Pin is called. There are a few times when we've had other parents tell their kid to watch when Tim and Trae wrestle cuz they can learn something. I know Jason has had 2 other dads come up to him this year and tell him that they tell their sons to practice moves with them as much as possible cuz it's a good way to get better.
Our coach talked to us last night about them and Tony too (cuz he's got mad skills too for only being 7) and told us that at the level they're performing at this age, he could see them being state ranked in high school. Now, of course, this is an opinion and you just never know. But just the fact that he thinks that highly of them was quite a compliment and exciting to tell the boys.
Oh my gosh, okay that was more than just a minute of bragging. I'm just so proud of them. It's fun to see them doing so well.
Watching his brothers this season and last night made Tyler rethink his plan to quit wrestling this year. He had decided he wouldn't join the school's team in January for the first time in 4 years. Tyler's not as good at wrestling as his brothers. He never will be...it's just not his thing. I say that with total love and affection for my oldest, but being athletic is just not one of Tyler's strong points. Now, if you want to have a conversation about his grades and how he does in band....that's a different story, he excels. Each kid has his gifts. I've been really trying to get him to reconsider wrestling though. He's already put all these years into it, I thought he should finish out his 8th grade year. Plus, he will be the team captain and the coach has really been trying to get him to change his mind. Last night he told me that watching the other boys made him want to play again, so I'm really happy about that. I think he'll be glad he did.
So at the end of the night, we went home with Tanner winning second place and Tony, Trae, and Tim all getting first place. How exciting was that! They'll have their picture in the local city paper.
Tanner getting ready.....

Tony going in for the pin.....

Good sportsmanship first, Trae.....

Good form, Tim.....

First place winners!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Livi's gifts

Last year about this time, another blog I read led me to this great gift idea for girls at Christmas time. I saved the link into my favorites and never forgot about it. I knew I wanted to get them to bring to China for a toy for our future little one to play with in the hotel.
Well, here we are....at that point...
and it just happens to be Christmas time.
So.....I figured, why not get it for her for Christmas.
Okay, not really
Since she won't be opening it until months after
But, it can be under the tree
and we can dream about next year when she will be here.
How fun will that be!
I think she's gonna love her new gift
I can't wait for her to open it.

We got her 2 of the dolls....

Including the Asian one names Linh complete with karate gear....

And a light up dressing room to hold it all

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

30 days of giveaways

Just passing on some cool news from a pretty cool fellow blogger. Stefanie at Ni Hao Y'all is giving away a gift 30 days in a row. I'm a little late, so there are now 25 left. All you have to do is be a follower of hers (I know a few of you already are) and leave a comment on each day to be entered. I'm hopin' to get lucky on this one cuz all the gifts are unique and fun.
Ni Hao Y'all

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spare time

This is the sort of thing the boys do in their spare time....Legos creations.....big ones. I love it actually. It sure beats watching them numb themselves in front of some mindless TV show. Tyler did this one and took pictures of it before destroying it....which, by the way, if you're a boy, is as much (if not more) fun than building it in the first place.
Here are the pics of the house he made, complete with 5 levels, interior rooms, stairways, furniture, and crazy detail.
Can you find all the elements he put into each part?
In the kitchen.....
Do you see the sink? The cabinets and the fridge? How about the stove?

This is the living room....
There is a stairway and entry door, a couch (with a remote on the end) a fireplace and a small TV. Find them all?

He even made his bedroom....
Look closely and you'll see a bathroom (with no walls...LOL) a stairway into it, a nightstand with lamp, his bed with even a pillow, dresser, and a desk.

Every great house should have a game room....
...and every game room should have a pool table and a ping pong table.

As if having a game room wasn't enough, he added a dance studio. Do you see the DJ table and the red, blue, and green dancing lights?

Next is the family room. There's a couch with remote, large screen TV with a Wii along the side of it. Pretty cool.

And here it is. The whole thing. It's all enclosed from the outside, but if you open it up layer by layer you find all the details he worked so hard on. Very creative!

Wanna know what I consider the most impressive part of all of this?.......
It's the fact that my family room floor in the background is actually clean. Wow...now that's impressive.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

B-Ball time

Tyler joined basketball this year for the first time. He's an 8th grader who's never played for a team, so he wasn't too surprised that he was put on the JV squad with mostly 6th and 7th graders. The great thing about this oldest kid-o-mine though is that he doesn't let that sort of thing ruffle his feathers. He just plays. And he's lovin' it.
He got to take a foul shot....he missed, but it sure looked good on the way to the basket. :)

There he is....my number 44

The poor child has my legs......I can always tell which one he is without even lookin' at his face. So sorry dear.....

A great action shot....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

America, the beautiful

With a grateful heart, I thank all our military today, past and present, for their service to this great country.
For all the sacrifices, for all the time away from family....
For putting your life on the line for our freedoms,
and for giving of yourself, unselfishly, for a coutry you love and the foundation on which is was built.
May we never forget all that have served and died for us and for our freedoms.
The freedom to live our lives how we want
The freedom to worship without hiding
The freedom to succeed in anything we put our minds to
The freedom to vote
The freedom to speak our minds without fear
The freedom to have as many children as we want
The freedom to adopt from a country that doesn't share that luxury
And the freedom to know that we can sleep in peace at night.
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Livi turns 2!

Yesterday was Olivia's 2nd birthday.
We wanted to celebrate, even though she's not home yet, so I got some cupcakes and we ate in honor of her.
I got pink and purple ones....cuz I can now.

When I got home, the boys and Jason had decorated the foyer and kitchen in pink streamers and balloons and Timmy was making a sign.

All day, I thought about her and all day I wondered.
I wondered if the orphanage was celebrating with her too.
I wondered if she got to eat some cake.....

Or blow out some candles.

I wondered if she got sang to....
or if she even knew if was her birthday.
I wondered if she could feel our love all the way across the ocean.....
and I wondered what it will be like next year when she's sitting here,
at the table,
under the sign,
on the chair with the balloons,
and feeling all the love of a family.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fundraiser for Olivia!

So, yesterday was the day.
Finally here.
All the planning and cleaning and organizing paid off and it was a huge success!
We had over 100 people show up for our fundraiser to help us bring our Livi home.
It was actually very overwhelming to look around and see how many people wanted to be there to help us out.
What a blessing to know we have so many friends and family that support us.

Here's how it looked on the inside.....
Our entry way......

A table to introduce everyone to Livi along with a guest book for everyone to sign and write something for her.

We had signs telling where everything was located....

The family room was set up for the silent auction (with so many things that our good friends donated and got for us)

and the living room emptied out to make room for the pasta dinner.....

The garage was completely transformed into a carnival for the kids.

All the kids (our boys included and Tyler's friends from school) that helped out with running the kids' games.....

And to top it all off....a friend who did his DJ thang for us and a rockin' dance downstairs!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you everyone!!!
We will never forget it and we love that it will be a part of Olivia's story that we'll be able to tell her about how everyone helped get her home to our family....to her family. God bless all of you!