Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Few Firsts :)

A few days ago, Carter had his first little playdate!  A sweet mama that I used to teach with called and invited us for an indoor pool party day :)  She said "oh - it'll be great, we'll just throw the kiddie pool in the kitchen and lay out some towels!".  Ha.

After I told her I thought she was slightly crazy, I told her we'd be there!  We (well...not really 'we' - because Carter had no idea where we were going) were SO excited and looked forward to it for days!

I know.  The arm rolls.  The belly.  The fact that he's poking Sylas with a toothpick umbrella.
It's all too much!
Carter pretty much loved every single second.  He splashed like a wild man (until I told him to stop) - and then sweet Heather was all like "ohhh - it's okay!  It's just water!".  I'm pretty sure if it were my home, I might have wanted to throw a fit and cry.

"ohhhh yes - this is the life.....someone bring me my lunch."

And after every decent pool party, there must be ice cream.  Carter's first cone - and of course he loved that, too.  Didn't take him long to figure out how to hold and chomp.

I had so much fun being with these two experienced mamas.  Loved me some adult time.

And I learned something.  I learned that it's okay.  It's okay if we make a mistake.  He's our first - and we're bound have our fair share of 'ohhh - why did we tell him that?!'  or 'why did we let him do that?!'.

And he'll survive.  And we'll survive.  And it will be okay.



Carter also attended his first high school basketball game recently.  The youth group that Jake & his brother lead at our church went on an outing to this game - at a school for 'at risk' boys.  It was 'Pack the Gym' night, and let me tell you - I was sad to see that the gym was definitely not packed.  It made me realize that in most cases, other than the staff that works at this school, these boys just don't have the support that struggling high school boys should have.

So - at the beginning of the game, we were 'those weird attendees who clearly have nothing better to do than scream for kids they don't know on a Tuesday night'.  By half-time, it was like a real basketball game.  Everyone was cheering, people were clapping....there was actually life in that gymnasium.  It's been a while since we've been to a competitive game, and it reminded me of some things.  One - that I'm married to a sports fanatic.  That guy who cheers loudest - riles up the refs - leaves the game with a sore throat.....yea, that's my husband.  And it reminded me that THAT is something I love about him.  It's called passion - zeal - determination.  And Jake has a whole lot of it.

It also reminded me that I hate thinking that people are mad at me.  I know, weird to get that from a basketball game.  Let me explain, before you think I'm a nut.  Jake cheers - loudly, and some fans...well - some fans just aren't into that.  That's okay.  Jake also says things like "come ON ref - HE WAS TRAVELING!!  Call TRAVELING!".  Refs don't like that so much.  Other fans don't like that so much. Even other fans from the same team sometimes don't like that so much.  I usually nudge Jake with my elbow.  And he throws me the look like 'what?!'.  And it makes me want to hide under the bleachers sometimes, even though I usually just laugh it off.

Why?!  Because I hate feeling like people are mad at me.  Even total strangers.  I hate it.  It sounds ridiculous as I type it here - but I hate feeling like people are angry with me.  Because if they're angry with me, they might discard me.  I know - if they're strangers, then what does it matter?!  I don't know.  And I'm not sure where I'm going with this.  I guess this basketball game has brought about an emotional awakening within me.  Okay - officially nuts.

Back to the game.  Carter.  Ohhh Carter.  I thought I'd have to funnel a steady stream of Cheerios into his mouth if I wanted him to sit through the whole game.  I was so wrong.

I think we have a basketball fan on our hands.  Carter was enthralled.  His eyes followed the ball from side to side.  When the youth group kids did their twinkle fingers during the free throws, Carter did twinkle fingers.  When we clapped and cheered after a point was made, Carter clapped.

By the end of the game, Carter was signing 'traveling'.  I am dead flippin' serious.

Little boy loved the action.  He loved the attention he got from all those middle & high schoolers.  He did not love the pizza afterwards, but that's another story.

Bottom line - it was a good night.  And I walked away refreshed.  As I sit here and plunk this out on my little keyboard, the Lord is reminding me why Jake 'does' this.  Why he devotes hours each week to planning that he could be spending with his wife & kid.  Why he is at church every.single.Wednesday without fail when he could be developing a selfish hobby instead.  Why he can be found hanging out with the kids on Sunday morning when he could be having other meaningful conversations with adults.  Why he has spent countless nights over the course of our relationship planning events - activities - outings when he could be planning events - activities - outings for US.....

Because it's not about us.  It shouldn't be about us.  Ever.  And if it becomes about us - or what we want - or what works for us - or how we might be more comfortable - or what might be easier - or what might be more beneficial for us - well, then we're just not cutting it.  I would count that as a fail.  Total fail.

I don't ever want this life to be about us.  Jake's life verse is John 3:30 - "He must become greater, I must become less.".  Perfect.  During prayer on Sunday one of our elders said "Less Gary, more God.".  Perfect.

Could you say you need less of you and more of Him?  Lord have mercy - yes, yes, and YES.  A whole lot less of Ashley.

So, look where all of that rambling took us.  I feel like I've just enjoyed a cup of coffee with my favorite gal pal.  Thanks, pal.  Enjoy your day.  Let's do it again soon - coffee is on me, next time.


One Thing I Know For Sure: Less Ash, More God.  For sure.

Monday, January 30, 2012

We Are Grafted In

I'm excited to tell you that a post that I recently did about our attachment to Carter is being featured today on 'We Are Grafted In'.  If you aren't following this blog yet, and you are (or will be) an adoptive family, I would highly suggest checking it out.  It's a place where adoptive parents can share their stories - experiences - struggles - fears - successes....in a safe, welcoming place.  Because we're in this together - and we need each other.  Your family might think you've lost your mind.  Your friends might think you've gone off the deep end.  But these adoptive families?!  They get it.  They get you.  Been there, done that.  Check it out, follow along, and as my dear friend tells me "learn from our mistakes!!".


As I was reading through the blogs that I follow yesterday, I came across a post that really tugged at my heart.  It's the story of how this particular mama first heard God's call to adopt, and then had 'the talk' with her man, and then stepped out in faith and said 'yes' to God.

She mentioned a post that I wrote while in Ukraine.  Within the post is a video of Carter when he was just starting to waddle around at the orphanage.  It's not Carter that opened her eyes to the orphan crisis (although, I'm sure his adorableness had something to do with it!) - but something else.  Something else that I never noticed until I went back and watched - listened to - the video yesterday.

A cry.  A cry, from an unknown orphan.

And it brought this sweet woman to her knees.

The Lord used this child's cry to melt this sweet mama's heart.  He used this cry, this almost unnoticeable cry - to save another orphan.

How intentional is our big God?!


How detailed is the Lord?!


Now, this family is on a journey to adopt little 'Jakob' via Reece's Rainbow.  You can read this particular post and follow along here.

One Thing I Know For Sure: What a Mighty God we serve...!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chinese New Year!

Okay, I'm a few days late (January 23rd, I believe...) - but even now in most of Asia, the New Year is being celebrated.

We have friends who will be traveling to China VERY soon to adopt their sweet Caleb.  But that is a whole other post :)

I wanted to bring some awareness to all the waiting kids in Asia.  I talk a lot about Eastern Europe and Ukraine - but really, people - there is a whole, big world out there filled with kids waiting for their forever family to come and scoop them up.  Literally, a whole, big world. 

From the Reece's Rainbow website:
"The orphan crisis for children with Down syndrome and other special needs crosses every political and continental border, extending through the countries of Asia.  Although many reside in foster homes, they are still discarded and need a forever family of their own.

China, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines all do an outstanding job of documenting each child's social history, as well as providing thorough medical history and updates for potential adoptive families.   The process to adopt in these countries is very straightforward and predictable.  We have outstanding agency partners serving these children.  Length of travel and other requirements have been markedly relaxed over the last year, and even allow for single moms and larger families to adopt.  

Despite all of these positive features, our Asian children are often the last to be chosen.  Please help us raise awareness and find adoptive families for them!"

Really - these kids are beautiful, and it breaks my heart to know that they're the last to be chosen.  

 So, maybe you're not in a place to adopt.  That's okay - it's not for everyone.  But look at these faces.

These are real kids.  They are not just photographs.  These are children.  Human beings, who deserve a chance.

Maybe you don't know anybody who is wanting to adopt now.  That's okay, too.

But share, anyway.  When we saw Carter's photo for the first time, we didn't think we would be adopting anytime soon.  But eleven months later, we came home with the boy that we saw in that photo.

This is why you must share.  You must advocate.  You don't know who Penny's mama is.  You don't know who Silas's family is.

You don't know - so share.

Someone recently emailed me, asking about adoption.  Our 'circle' might be surprised to know that this person is seriously considering it.

You just don't know - so share!

What can you do to help?  Share.  On Facebook, on your blog, wherever - share with your circle.  Tell people about the waiting children of Asia.  They need homes, too!

One Thing I Know For Sure:  Maybe someday we'll be trekkin' it to Asia....but for now, I'll share.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Yesterday, we took Carter to Children's Hospital to have a full echocardiogram done.  In Ukraine, they told us he had a hole in his heart as an infant - but it closed up on its own.  We believed that to be true - this scenario is common in kids with Down syndrome.  When we came home, we of course took him to the pediatrician.  She heard a slight murmur - nothing to be concerned about, but told us we should have it checked out just to be sure.

So yesterday was the day.  I can't say that we were nervous or anxious.  I can say that I wondered what it would be like to be one of those 'heart moms' - you know, the moms who endure heart surgeries, transplants, and other unimaginable things.  I don't want to know what this is like.

Carter did great through the whole visit.  Almost 2 hours of measuring, weighing, machines, stickers, wires, medical gel (which he promptly wiped off his chest and applied to his lips...because everything is chapstick...), and cheerios.  Lots of cheerios.

Everything was finished, and we got him dressed.  And waited.

The doctor walked in, and said "Let me just cut to the chase.  Your son has the healthiest heart I've ever seen in a child with Down syndrome.  The only bad thing I can say, is that I'll never have the pleasure of seeing Carter again."

And that was it.  We rejoiced.  We said 'Yayyyy!' as Carter clapped his chubby little hands.  And we walked out - knowing that when we prayed for the Lord to protect our son's heart before we could get to him, He was really, truly, indeed protecting his heart.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Praising God for a healthy, whole heart.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I love days like today.  These are the days that I would practically cry over when I was working.  Because these days are perfect for staying home.  Under a blanket.  Just being.

The snowflakes were huge.  And beautiful.  I really, really dislike snow - but there's something magical about watching our 3 year old gaze out the window, watching all that white fluff fall slowly to the ground.

We did all of Carter's favorite things.  He slithered onto my lap, and was planted there most of the morning.

Even Moses was enjoying our mellow, snuggle-up day.

An extra cup today, because on days like today - a hot mug with chai tea goodness is almost a requirement.

Can I add - this time of year is always tough on me.
I cannot walk through Target without oohing and aahing over everything valentine.
Mama needs a baby girl, I think.

We read.  And we read.  Ohhh...did we ever read.

"A told B, and B told C, I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree...." over, and over, and over.

It's okay, because it's one of my favorites, too :)

And today, I decided that as long as we're going with the theme of just enjoying - being - snuggling...why not just let him explore - be curious - experiment.

Pretty great day.


Today was also a very, very good day for somebody else.

Remember Lucy?

And remember when I told you that Lucy has a family?!

Today, Lucy's mommy & daddy passed court, and she is officially a daughter.  A beloved daughter, soon to have brothers and sisters.  Soon to have a home.

Heidi is her new name....and if Carter could tell her anything today, I think he would tell her that she has a beautiful life waiting for her - and that God has big, big things in store for her life.  And the next few months might be scary and hard - but it's okay.  Because having a family is really, very great.

Heidi's new parents will be going to court tomorrow to adopt her two (non-biological) brothers.  And it will be another day of rejoicing.

By tomorrow - three less, people.  Three less orphans.

Like I said - pretty great day.

One Thing I Know For Sure: A snowy day - extra chai - snuggles with my boy - the Lord bringing families together.....all very, very good stuff.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Light.  I'm am in love with light.  Real light - sunlight.  The brightness, the warmth.  Maybe it's the fact that here in Wisconsin, winter is just starting.  Today, wind chills are below zero.  Like, way below zero.  And maybe I'm realizing that I have several more months of being holed up in this little house, with a very busy toddler.  But pictures like this (thank you, pinterest....) have me scheming about how to make our home more bright...crisp....airy....clean.  

Don't worry, Jake....there are no projects or paint in our future.

No, this is not our home. No, no, no....


More time with this guy.  Because really, I do think he's great.  He takes really, really good care of his family.  I knew our time together would change with the addition of a 3 year old...duh.  But it's hard finding the balance.  When Carter is finally asleep, we're sometimes too tired for any kind of intelligible conversation.  That's sad, to me.  I miss him - even though he's right next to me...you know?  I know - we'll figure out the balance, eventually.  But until then, it feels like we're just pushin' through the day, trying to make it to the next.  

Well - glad I have this guy to push through with me.


Silence.  It's naptime, darnit.  Doesn't the guy sawing down a tree outside Carter's window understand that my child is sleeping?!  Doesn't he also know that this is the coldest day of the year - and he could probably wait until....well, until a day that Carter's not napping?!

Between Moses barking, the phone ringing, the oven beeping, and the darn tree saw-er...I am definitely craving silence.

Silence....the desire of every mama's heart, I suppose.


This place.  When do you stop longing to go back to this place?  I've been on exotic vacations to luxurious places, and after the vacation is over and my bags are unpacked - I eventually forget about that place and start to focus on home.  But this is different.  This place is in my heart - my soul.  I miss it.  No, I long for it.  Photographically, this is not the best photo from our trip.  But it's my favorite.  It's not a photo of a historic building or a special street.  It's our view.  Our view from our apartment.  And some days, I try to put myself back in this photo to remember the air, the sounds, the smells.  But it's not the same.  

Someday, we will go back to this place.  Someday....


A freeze frame.  Because little boy is growing and changing. And for the first time since being a mommy, I'm wanting to freeze time.  Just for a little while, so we can enjoy every minute of this boy - before he gets too big to snuggle and cuddle.  Because really, we've missed 3 years.  We're trying to catch up and time just keeps slipping through our fingers. 

'Like sand through the hourglass...so are the days of our lives....'.  I guess it's true.  


Hole-in-the-knee pants.  From crawling around with my boy.  I've been really working at being intentional about getting on the floor, and just being.  Just doing.  Whatever it is that HE is doing.  The dishes can wait (until 2 minutes before Jake gets home....!).  The laundry will be there after bedtime.  

But this boy...he won't wait.


Direction.  Focus.  'Lord, where do you want us to go from here?'.  And listening, silently, for an answer. When I say 'where do you want us to GO' - I don't mean just geographically.  In all areas - where does he want us?  Where does he want us in our chuch?  Where does he want us in our community?  What should  we be involved in?  What should we step away from?  What therapies should we focus on with Carter? 

We need direction - because we don't want to make choices based on our own desires.  We really do want it to be all about Him.  Looking & listening daily for His direction....it ain't easy, people.


And this.  Yes, I'll admit - I'm craving this.  I don't indulge in this nearly as much as I used to (even though I have gift cards!).  Because I don't leave the house 43x a week.  Because my income has been deleted (and even with a few gift cards, it's still an extra expense).  Because after a few hours of running errands in the morning, it just doesn't seem important to stop there for a quick fix....well - until I get home, and then I'm kicking myself in the rear for not stopping.


One Thing I Know For Sure: Looks pretty dang yummy.  Maybe tomorrow.....

Monday, January 16, 2012

2 Months Home - How We're Doing, Really.

This is a question I get all the time.  "Everything sounds great, but how are you really doing?!".  So today, right now, I'm going to spare you the "oh, good - we're doing really good" answer, and give you the real deal.  Raw and unabridged.

Because the truth is, we are doing good.  Really good.  But there is so, so much more to it than that.

The last 2 months (and one day...!) have been hard.  They've been messy.  They've been exhausting.  They've been confusing.  Any new mommy & daddy would say the same thing - newborn or otherwise.  But bringing a 3 year old into a brand new family is different.  Not harder or easier - just different.  Carter came with an established personality - a muddy past - and an attachment to....well - no one, really.

I think I was naive to think that after we got home, if we just got that boy some love and some healthy food that we'd be on the road to success.  In part, this is true.

Huge difference, right?!

We have seen the difference that a little lovin' makes - and it's huge.  Monumental.  But this 3 year old boy needs more than a little love and veggies.

Like discipline.  How do you discipline someone you're trying desperately to attach to?  Very carefully.  Being a preschool teacher for 7 years - I have all they keys to unlock the mysterious mind of a naughty preschooler.  I know just what to say and just how to handle the most out-of-control child.  And on top of that, they would love me in return.  But Carter is different.  He is fragile.  Don't let his healthy figure and cute smile fool you.  He is fragile.  He is trying to explore his world.  His new world.  He is working out, in his mind, all the exciting - intriguing - incredible things around him.  And when I see his mind working, and the gears are turning - it's hard for me to step in and say 'NO!'.  I do say no-no.  Often.  But each time, I wonder if that's really what's best.  I know - he needs to learn discipline - and he does understand no-no.  But this kid is just walking around, enjoying life.  Totally sucking the marrow out of it.  And we're telling him 'no-no'.

Sometimes, Carter gets a gentle hand tap.  Enter, Christmas tree (so stinkin' glad it's gone!).  And I know he needs that little slap, but as I'm doing it, I can't help but wonder who has done it in the past.  Not on his hands - but on his face, head, back...?  And again, I wonder if that's really what's best.

See what I mean?  Messy.

We are go-ers.  Always on the go.  It's our nature.  Being-doing-seeing-going is in our blood, somehow.  But as a family who just brought home a 3 year old, 'going' should not be part of our daily activities.  In fact - instead of being-doing-seeing-going, we should be sitting-listening-quieting-holding.  It's easier said than done, trust us.  After spending 30+ days in a tiny apartment in Ukraine, we were ready to hit the ground running the day we got home.  And we couldn't.  Then, after a week of staying home - we were ready to get back to our old being-doing-seeing-going ways.  A tip to those of you about to embark on this incredible journey:  When you think your child is ready for xyz, wait another week.  When you think you're ready for xyz, wait another 2 weeks.  Once you let that person snuggle your baby, or you start running errands with your child, or whatever - it's really, really hard to get it back.  It's nearly impossible to go back and say 'you're snuggling too much' or to tell yourself 'the errands can wait until later' - because it's already been done - so what can the harm be in doing it more?!

See what I mean?  Exhausting.  Confusing.  This is the reality of adoption.  I don't ever want to make this journey look easy.  It's not.

That's not to say that it's not good.  That it's not incredible.  Amazing.  Rewarding.  Because of course, it is all of those things.  But it's not easy.

Recently we've been noticing that Carter generally doesn't choose us.  He doesn't necessarily look for us.  He will excitedly reach out to be held by strangers.  This is not so good.  We know, it's only been two months.  But we've had to take a little step back in our attachment process, and re-do - or maybe un-do - some things.  Less snuggles and kisses from others.  More snuggles and kisses from us (if that's even possible!).  We know that we'll get there - but we only have one shot at this.  We can't worry about stepping on someones toes when our son's attachment is at stake.

Someone recently told me we shouldn't worry about attachment, because he'll naturally attach to us - eventually.  Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way when we're dealing with a newly-adopted 3 year old.  Everyone's an expert, you know?!

So, as I'm sitting here enjoying my coffee - rambling on about attachment....my sweet boy is laughing big belly laughs in his highchair, enjoying the last bits of breakfast.  Please, don't misunderstand.  We are so abundantly blessed.  Incredibly happy.  But don't think for a second that this is a piece of cake.

It's tough stuff - this adoption journey.  But so, so worth it.


In the past month, Carter has picked up so many new things.  We're really amazed with how quickly he learns and implements new signs.  In the past week or so, he's added 'milk', 'water', 'cat', 'bird', 'baby' (for 'Baby Signing Time'...no, I'm not having a baby, people!) , and 'shoes'.  He's been babbling a little more - and not just the same 'ahhh-ahhh-AH' sound.  Lots of different syllables and sounds that we've not heard from him before.  He's also been enjoying the freedom of using his voice.  At home, he can sometimes be loud and silly - he laughs for no apparent reason.....I think because he CAN.  Nobody is going to tell him to stop or be quiet.

Physically, he's been making strides, too.  The walking is going well - and we've been just waiting for him to figure out how to go from a 'sit' to a 'stand' without the use of a couch or a wall.  Well - yesterday, he did it.  He was sitting on the floor, and he just got his little legs where they needed to be....and he stood right up.  My heart almost burst - you just don't know how proud I am to watch our boy learn new things.

A lot more 'heart burst' moments ahead, I'm sure.  This mama is ready!


I've been getting a slew of nasty comments from all those adoption-hating trolls.  I can take it - they don't really affect me.  However, they've recently been attacking another sweet Reece's Rainbow family in the comments that they leave here.  I know, it's ridiculous.  But because these comments could affect and hurt other people - I'm turning on 'comment moderation'.  That means that if you leave me a comment, I'll have to approve it before it gets posted.  I'll still have to read their absurd comments, but at least they won't be posted here for others to read.

Really, I just don't get it.  As I've said before - move along, ugliness.


2 months home.  Some days it feels like years - only because he fits in so well.  And other days, we're reminded that this is still all so new and fresh for Carter.

2 months home.  I got a text from my Uncle Greg yesterday - 'when are you adopting again, I'm running out of chocolate!'.  Love it.  I guess it's time to start praying about the next one.

Okay - maybe not :)

2 months home.  Praising God for our friends & family who have walked alongside us the past two months.  Grateful they understand that this is tough stuff.

2 months.

One Thing I Know For Sure: 2 months - 60 days - 1,440 hours....Loved every one of the 86,400 minutes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 on 10

New, exciting things going on right here, folks.  10 on 10...what the heck is that, you ask?!  Well, well, well...let me tell you.  On the 10th day of the month, you get to see my day - in 10 photos.

Fun, eh?  Here goes!

1. My morning started like this:

Do you understand the full meaning of this photo?  Coffee - with a baby monitor....not coffee with a toddler.  Yes - Carter slept through most of our morning routine - I completed my cup of coffee in silence.  It's going to be a beautiful day...!

2. Is there anything cuter than this?

I think not.

3. I've had ideas swirling in my head since we got home - and now that Christmas is over, I have some time to devote to my creative side.

This is one of the pages for a Bible Verse booklet.  I know, Carter is 3.  I know he won't memorize these verses anytime soon, and that's okay.  But I want our kids immersed in scripture.  It's okay if he won't be speaking these verses - because I know that they will speak to him.

4. Again, anything cuter?

I think little boys in jammies are one of God's sweetest creations.  Speaking of jammies - this boy is quickly growing out of his.  Anything smaller than a 3T makes us feel like we're putting him in his straight jacket for the night.  All other clothes fit fine - just the jammies.  I know, they're meant to fit tighter...but seriously - his are bustin' at the seams.

5. I love to kiss this boy.  Call me a kissaholic.

Maybe because his cheeks are so kissable.  Maybe because he lets me.  Maybe because I've missed out on so many.  I know that someday, he won't sit still long enough for me to sneak a kiss or two - so for right now, I'll take full advantage.  Because someday.  Someday...

6. Anyone have a caption for this photo?!

I call it "Woo!  Mom just came in my room to find all my jammies, onesies, and socks on the floor...for the 42nd time today!".  It's become a game.  How many times can I trash my room before nap time.  Fun, fun.  Also - don't you love Moses laying on the ground - enjoying the fact that he's actually innocent in all of this?!  Love it.

7. Lunch with my little buddy.

He makes an excellent lunch date.  And look - we have fork usage, people!  Beautiful.

8. I was a busy mama today - another one of those ideas I've had swirling in my brain.

I also colored rice & noodles for the first time, using rubbing alcohol and food coloring.  I am totally kicking myself in the rear for not doing this while I was teaching.  I always thought it would be way too much work.  HA!  Easiest thing ever.  Can't wait to show you what I've got planned for all that rice.....!

9.  Bathtime is daddy's time.

It's so nice to have that break at the end of the day.  Thanks, Jake.  You love us so well!

10.  This has never happened before.

This is Carter's laundry - and it's on my kitchen table.  And it will still be on my kitchen table in the morning.  Because tomorrow is Wednesday.  I love Wednesdays :)  Rachel comes to hang out with Carter on Wednesdays so I can get some extra stuff done.  And I love it.  I love that on Tuesday night, I can say "oh - that can wait until Rachel is here tomorrow...".  Pretty great!

There ya have it - 10 on 10!  Hope your day was just as blessed!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Kind of a boring day - eh?  Nope...I love it!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Shhhh....It's January.

Blogger has been quiet the last few weeks....if my followers are anything like me - they've been just surviving, trying to recoup from all the holiday madness.  I do love Christmas and everything that comes with it - but January brings new hope - new energy - and a crisp, clean feeling that I start to crave on December 26th.  I also love that the 'going' stops and the 'staying' starts.  It's the perfect time to hunker down and start hibernating....and that's exactly what we're doing.

Welcome, January.  Glad you're here.


This boy's waddle has transformed into something that resembles a walk.  He's not quite there yet - but he's so close.  The 'raised arms' are almost a thing of the past.  Now, he walks with his toy of the day in his hand.  Yep - holding a toy and walking at the same time.  May not seem like a big deal...but let me tell you, it is.  And we are so proud of our boy.


Our old friend, Paperwork, is back for a while.  We're working on finishing up our post-placement so we can finalize Carter's adoption in the U.S.  His adoption IS final, technically.  But in order to get his equivalent of a U.S. birth certificate, we need to do the post-placement study and have a (very informal) court hearing in our county.  This is also necessary to do if we ever plan to adopt again.

We also need this so that we can apply for Katie Beckett.  No idea what that is?!  We knew nothing about it until we were about to travel to Ukraine.  If you have or are adopting a child with special needs, google it.  Pretty amazing!

We're also going through and organizing all that paperwork we got in Ukraine.  Some of it isn't translated....phooey.  Google translator has been a life saver.

Paperwork - I thought you were gone for a while.  I was wrong.  Welcome back - please don't wear out your welcome.


The last few days have been filled with something that resembles normalcy.  We're back to what looks like a routine, and I am loving it.

I've been enjoying this....

Carter loves play-doh!

This....because really, is there anything sweeter?!

 And this...ohhh, how I've been enjoying this...!

Love the routine.  Love the consistency.  Love being home.  Love it all.


Last night was DIY pizza night.  Some dear friends popped over to join us - and it was really the perfect night.  Laughter, story telling, jam-packed kitchen, teenagers sprawled out on the couches and floors.  

On a side note - I loved all the activity.  I think I could get used to having lots of kids around.  We'll see what our future holds...but I'd be okay with a big family.  Moving on...

This family happens to be Rachel's family - yes, our Rachel.  The one who came to Ukraine with us.  And her dad happens to have an amazing artistic talent.  So, to thank us for bringing Rachel along to the great unknown - he gifted us with this amazing work of art.  Really - it's incredible.  Takes my breath away.  He did it with charcoal, and when I asked him how long it took - he was all 'oh - a few days - not that long...'.  Humblest guy ever.  

Remember this photo?  It was taken at the airport when we arrived home from Ukraine.  

Well...take a look at this.  Amazing.  I wish I had a better photo to show the awesomeness of this....

Notice he removed the keys from Carter's hands and added a block?  I wish you could see the detail in his hair.  Really - it's incredible.

I've already told him that this is the gift that keeps on giving.  Another baby...another drawing.  

Thank you so much, Jesse.  We absolutely love it - and we'll treasure it forever!


Blog is written, and now it's back to what I love best - spending time with my boys on a dreary Saturday morning.  Shhh...it's January - going back to the cave to hibernate now.  Do the same - and enjoy!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Lovin' January....!

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