Friday, March 27, 2015

Beach Trip

We had the opportunity to go and join my parents for a mini-vacation at the beach.  The kids are getting to an age where vacations are becoming a lot of fun with them!

The first few days were pretty nasty weather-wise, as the Oregon coast tends to be!  But all of a sudden the skies cleared and we had a day of gorgeous weather that we took full advantage of! The kids had a blast on the sand! 






And besides the ocean, we spent A LOT of time in the pool!  Malachi is working his way through swim lessons so Peter was able to get a lot of hours of practice in with him.  The other two just had fun splashing and getting more used to water.







It was a really fun time getting away as a family.  The only thing we didn't accomplish was Peter wanted to go out fishing but the water was too rough.  It makes me look really forward to all of the other trips we have planned this year.  Ireland is just around the corner and a week at Eagle Crest and a Christmas trip to Disneyland are also on the books!  Gonna be a fun year!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The New Ride


It's kind of the end of an era in our house right now.  You see, Peter has had his much beloved 1997 Honda Accord car since the day he started driving.  It's the car I always remember him driving to high school. It's the car we would hold hands in and blast music as we cruised while dating.  It's the car we drove off into the sunset in on our wedding day.  Clearly there are lots of memories with this much beloved car of Peter's.  But as time passes, it just started wearing down as cars tend to do.  

Its been a good 6 years or so since the air conditioning last worked in it.  He tried a few times to get it fixed but it would never stay charged for long. So he finally gave up and has road to and from work (in hot dress clothes) with the windows down on hot days. 

Not only has it been broken into multiple times, but it was also stolen 3 years ago. The fact that she was recovered at all was a bit of a miracle but she was even more worn down after that.  The thief tore apart the console and ripped out the stereo. For whatever reason, we never replaced it and so Peter has spent the last 3 years without music or radio to listen to on his commute. 

Then this winter was kind of the last straw.  His heat setting would only work on high.  Now that is also probably fixable but the poor guy has only high heat and no air conditioning. For a commuter car, that is kind of a pain.  Yes, I know - 1st world problems!

I've been trying to convince him for quite some time that it was time for him to get a new ride.  Now being the sentimental man that he is, he has been very hesitant to part with his much beloved old faithful car!  We've spent probably a good year (or more) in discussion about this.  After narrowing down his options, and taking this baby out on a test drive, he knew what he wanted.  After I did the legwork for him, he is thrilled to have a brand new 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid!  This car is pretty sweet!  And he's getting 45 miles to the gallon on his commute!  




I know it will definitely be a little bittersweet as we let go of his old car and get it on the market here in the next couple weeks, but I am happy for Peter. He's always, always put the needs of the rest of the family ahead of his own desires. He's pushed off a new car purchase for many years for various reasons. But it was his turn to finally get something nice for himself!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Refresh


This past weekend, Peter and I (and Peter's parents, who are also adoptive parents) had the opportunity to attend a wonderful conference up in Seattle!  The Refresh Conference for adoptive parents. It was a really great time to learn some new tools and just enjoy a few nights away with Peter!  So far I have had the wonderful opportunity to attend women's adoption retreats but it was so great to get to learn right alongside my husband instead of having to try and take home information to him!  

We started our weekend off with an all day intensive work shop from Empowered to Connect with Michael and Amy Monroe.  If I can offer one word of advice to a family in process it would be to #1 - read The Connected Child and #2 - Find an Empowered to Connect Conference and GO! 

So our first day was spent going over Parenting that Connects and Corrects.  It's all information I have heard before, but man I needed a refresher and every time I hear it, I glean a few new techniques to bring home and implement. Even if you aren't an adoptive parent, this Connecting while Correcting stuff works great!  

After our first day work shop we spent the next 2 days at the actual conference.  It was a really great time spent with 1000 other adoptive parents!  


Photo Cred Refresh


Photo Cred Refresh



Photo Cred Refresh


Peter caught not just 1, but 2 prize balls (he only kept 1)!  That was an added blessing to the weekend!  



We got to hear from some incredible speakers, including Jennie Allen, Stephanie Fast, Dan and Terri Coley, Deborah Gray, and Dr Randy Stinson!

There were also countless breakouts to choose from. We took workshops on:
How to tell your kids their adoption stories
Raising a Transracial Family
Communicating with Bio Parents
Trauma Triggers
African American Hair Care


All in all, it was a truly wonderful time and I highly recommend to any of my adoptive or foster care friends residing in the Northwest to save the date and go next year!







And because who doesn't love homework, I came home with a massive reading list that I need to check out. Thought it was worth sharing and maybe will come back with some book reviews down the road:


The Connected Child
Anatomy of the Soul
The Mystery of Risk
The Whole Brain Child
The Out of Sync Child
Nurturing Adoptions
Attaching in Adoption
Telling the Truth to your Adopted or Foster Child
Talking with Young Children About Adoption
Real Parents, Real Children
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew 
Raising Adopted Children
I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla
Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care

And  A Recommendation for kids:
W.I.S.E UP! Powerbook (Adoption and Foster Care versions)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Eli's 4th Birthday



In the blink of an eye, my little 5 pound premature baby boy has turned into a little man of 4 years old.  The older they get, the more fun their birthday's are and this little man could hardly wait for his big day to arrive this year!  We started the morning with his birthday breakfast request of birthday cake cinnamon rolls and 4 candles!  Because candles are fun!



Then it was off for a day of fun. It didn't start off to fun though as we had to drop by the social security office and take care of some business for LB and Malachi.  After 3 years of waiting for Malachi's updated social security card, we finally got  that resolved and got a number for little sister.  That was officially the LAST step for both of their adoptions so it was a productive morning! Eli hung in there through the loooong wait with the ipad! 



Finally we were off to have some fun!  Eli requested a game place for his birthday (see a theme here?) so we took him to a game place and he had the whole place to himself!  It was pretty fun!  





After playing lots and lots and lots of games, it was lunchtime.  A pizza buffet while watching some favorite cartoons seemed perfect for the birthday boy!  


And then the moment he had been waiting for!  A trip to the toy store where he was told he could pick out any lego set that he wanted!  The choices were endless and this took a bit of time and debate but he left with a set that he couldn't wait to put together! 


And last stop on the way home.  Nobody can resist a free scoop of ice cream on their special day! 


We picked up some small bundt cakes on the way home so we could have some sort of a dessert that night as a family.  Of course, we had to blow out a few more candles! I don't think he could have had a more perfect day!


Then a few days later, it was time to party!  We seem to have a bit of a lego obsession in this house at the moment!





                                      He couldn't have been more excited to be a big 4 year old!








 Happy Birthday Eli!  You are one great kid!  You're still as stubborn as ever but we deal with it. You take after your mom and dad just a wee bit!  I still think you're as sweet as sugar and definitely still a mama's boy.  The only drawback to turning 4 was that you needed 3 more shots and that was no fun for anyone.  You're now 35  pounds (41st %) and 41" tall (64%). Crossing that 40" threshold is always exciting in this house because that means you will be tall enough to do the fun rides when we take you to Disneyland later on this year!  We love our little lego man!






Wednesday, February 11, 2015

6 Months

Well, after a bit of a blogging hiatus I am trying to get back caught up on the happenings.  We were super busy during the holiday's and that took awhile to recover from.  Then Peter has been working insane hours in the new year along with a really bad and scary bout of RSV hitting all the kids in the house.  Then a birthday boy and it has been a lot to just get everyone taken care of each day. But I'm going to try to get  caught up the best I can.


At the end of January this sweet little love celebrated her half year birthday.  Time has flown by since her birth.  I didn't think it was possible, but I must say she just gets more and more adorable every day! 




She's still wearing 3-6  month clothes and I think will still be in them for a bit longer.  She's drinking 8 ounce bottles and eating all sorts of baby foods. She's not a huge fan of baby food but we're working on it. She does love banana, apple, and pears.  The good stuff!  She loves music and loves listening to my not so great voice sing to her.  She's also one busy girl who is always wiggling and moving. She doesn't want to miss a thing and gets bored quickly if someone isn't entertaining her.  I could definitely classify her as our most high maintenance child. She knows what she wants and she wants it now! She's still a great sleeper though, so I'm definitely not complaining.


We love you little miss!  I can't believe you are already 6 months old. We've come so far in 6 months.  You are such a strong little girl!  We are so happy to be your mommy and daddy and look forward to all you are going to learn and do in these next 6 months. I know our days of you not moving all over the place are limited so I am savoring every minute that you are still my snuggly baby girl!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Way I Will Always See You

There's something pretty amazing about having daughters.  Yes, boys are equally incredible and a mama loves them in a special and unique way too.  But today, I'm referring to the way I look at my (oldest) daughter.  It hit me like a ton of bricks last night as I was watching you giggle with excitement as you got ready for bed.  I looked at you and I realized how much I wish I could just bottle you up the way you are in this moment. How I wish you would never grow and change, and I knew that before long you're going to grow up on me.  You'll start making friends and then boyfriends. You'll be driving, then going to college and then someday I will watch as you walk down the aisle into a new phase of life. For some crazy reason, the thought of you growing anymore just about split me in two.  And in that very moment, I also had this clear sense that even as you grow up and change, I'm still always going to remember you as this little 2 year old giggling girl!

The way you sing "Let It Go" in your bed at night (and sometimes over my singing and rocking you to sleep).
The way that as we're getting you dressed for bed you whisper "Can I run around?" because for some reason there is nothing better than running the halls at night completely naked before getting your jammies on.
It's the way you giggle and try to ask me to stop tickling you, but then seconds later you've got that little grin on your face as you climb back into my lap begging me to tickle you again. 
It's the way that everything in your bed has to be just so-so before I can tuck you in. How you must have your bubble blanket, your pillow, a sippy cup, a book, your white poodle, and your pink poodle. And the door must be cracked just the perfect distance - not to closed but also not too open.  
It's the way we must sing "You are My Sunshine" every single night as I rock you before bed.
It's the way you love shoes and the color pink and all things sparkly. 

I just don't know how I will ever see beyond the beauty of today. You're my little girl and you will always be my little girl. I know there are so many more wonderful memories we will make in life together and I do look forward to them.  But there's just nothing I would change about the way I see you right now and sweetie you better just be prepared, because in my eyes you will always be this precious 2 year old little girl!  




Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hopes for 2015

This is a post that makes me excited! I love the freshness that a new year brings.  It's also fun to look back at the end of the year and see all of my dreams from last year and where they actually went in the new year. I encourage everyone to do this. It's fun to have direction and hopes and dreams for the year ahead!

Marriage: 
Things are going great for us.  We've definitely grown closer through some growing pains this year.  I hope that we can continue to communicate honestly with one another and show each other love.  We REALLY need to utilize date nights this year as that time together is so valuable!   I also look forward to accompanying Peter on a trip to Ireland sometime this year and also hopefully will get away at least one more time during the year for a weekend away! 


Children:
   The kids are also doing well. They are very busy and a lot of work, but we're getting through the toddler years. I hope to grow in compassion and patience with them this year.  We've had a really great year of preschool with the 3 oldest and I look forward to finishing that up and starting a new year as Malachi moves into Kindergarten and the others move into 3 and 4 year preschool! 


House:
The house is still a work in progress but we're getting there.  I want to continue with the small things inside  to decorate it.  We've been here almost 2 years so it's time to prioritize all that. Our top priority outside will be a new fence and we're ready to get a garden planted this year! Inside, we're going to focus on renovating the playroom/schoolroom and setting up some really cool workstations for the kids to do their school.    

Health:
Health is still a work in progress. We'd both love to lose a few pounds but our primary focus is on being healthy. Peter needs to get back into running. I hope to focus more on 4-8 miles runs this year and might even contemplate training for a half marathon by the end of the year.  I'm also getting into yoga and we finally have the garage cleared out to start using our workout equipment again.  

Trips:
  We have some fun trips planned for the coming year!  I'm just waiting on word from Peter to book a trip to Ireland.  We're thinking spring but it might be the fall.  We've also booked a trip to Eagle Crest in August and we're hopeful that we will be taking all the kids to Disneyland in December!   

Finances:
   Finances always remain the thorn in our side.   This year we hope to pay off our adoption debt and replenish our savings that was depleted from our adoption.  We did end up taking a few steps back on our Total Money Makeover this year, but it was totally worth it to add LB to the family!  I think by the end of the year we should be back on track!  


Work:
   Peter has had a challenging year as he learns a whole new aspect of tax.  He joined a team and kind of got thrown in the deep end when 2 of the 3 members of his team ended up having babies and are on maternity leave for a year (gotta love Ireland!).  So he's had a crash course in the world of International Tax and has steadily worked 55+ hour weeks.  We're hoping things will settle down this year and he'll get a bit more comfortable with what he's doing.  We're also hoping there will be some career advancement this year!  Getting his Master's in Tax is always something we're discussing but that's just not a realistic possibility if his hours remain as high as they've been.   


Another exciting year ahead!  This APPEARS to be a pretty calm year ahead for us.  No big, exciting life changing PLANS for us. But who knows. We love living in chaos so you just never know........