Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where to Begin?

I am so far behind on my blogging, that I don't quite know where to start. I think I'll start from now and go backwards!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my parents' house filled with family,food, Rosa's Tortilla Cafe, family, black Friday shopping, a lost contact lens, a giant pile of leaves, food, old friends, picture taking, and some more food. Brandon's mission for the week was building a leaf pile bigger than our minivan. The boys spent hours jumping in the leaves, and I spent almost that much time attempting to get mud and leaf bits out of their noses and ears afterwards. Those pictures to come later this week. I looked at probably 800 pictures of various people jumping in leaves and the thought of editing them right now makes my hair hurt. The girls and I went Black Friday shopping starting at Target at 5am and were back home for some Rosa's fajitas for lunch that day. I finished my Christmas shopping (with the exception of my children).

Dear Rosa's Tortilla Cafe, Please come to Houston. That is all. Love, Mandy.

Harper played with her cousin Zane, and every year I mentally thank my brother and sister for marrying well because Andy and Brandy fit so well in our family.

That's right, all of us together are Brandon, Brandy, Andy, Mandy, Lindy, and John. It's kind of nice, because when my mom calls us by name from across the house to help peel potatoes, we can ignore it because we're never really sure who she's calling for.

We saw a lonely truck driver on I45 on Tuesday, who was lookin' for love in the form of yellow legal paper package-taped to the back of his load.

When Andy and Lindy walked in the door for the first time on Wednesday, they were immediately greeted by Aidan who proudly proclaimed, "Andy! Guess what? I pooped corn today!!" Not, "Hi Andy! Good to see you! Happy Thanksgiving!" Isn't there a Hallmark commercial that goes something like "When you can't find the words to say. say it with a Hallmark"? I think Aidan has a future writing for their Thanksgiving card division.

No trip to my parents' house is complete without approximately 1200 random pictures.

I know this post is heavy on the Harper pictures, but trust me when I say that I will make up for it later this week in the form of pictures of boys jumping in leaves. Doesn't that sound exciting? Up next week: paint drying!
Andy and Brandon have become the turkey carvers. This picture reminds me a bit of the one here from last Christmas.

We also attempted a sibling picture. Many of you will be seeing something like this soon in a mailbox near you. That is, your mailbox. Not your neighbor's.

Harper was much more infatuated with the leaves and the proximity of her brothers to bother with posing for a Christmas card picture.
I love this picture of Andy and Harper. Do men have a biological clock? If so, I think I can hear Andy's ticking through my computer screen.
Harper met her cousin Mason (actually, my cousin's son) for the first time, and they danced for a few seconds before Harper tried to beat him up. Let's just say it was painfully obvious to me that the girl has two big brothers.

Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sort of a Medley of Topics

Dane and Aidan love their baby sister. When I leave her on the floor, it takes every ounce of willpower they possess to leave Harper alone, already! Dane loves to get her and make her laugh.

She laughs and laughs at Dane, then Aidan wants to make her laugh, too. And since she's already tired of his rendition of "Go Tell It On The Mountain" over and over again, he just gets up in her face and says, "Harper! Harper! Don't you want to laugh at me??"

It looks like the mommy behind the camera has been discovered...
Mmmmm. Camera. I haven't eaten one of those in a while...
On a completely unrelated note, several people of late have asked me where we are in our adoption process, so I thought I would update the four of you that read this.

We have assembled the necessary paperwork and documents for our dossier (that's the thing that gets sent to China for people to go through and match us with a child). The only thing missing from our dossier is approval from USCIS, which is Immigration. USCIS received our application earlier this month, and we are waiting for a fingerprinting appointment. We expect to receive approval from USCIS within a few weeks after being fingerprinted. After we get that final piece for our dossier, we have to send the entire thing to the Secretary of State of Texas for certification, and then send it to the Chinese Consulate (I think?) for authentication. Then we send the dossier to our adoption agency for a final look-through before it gets sent to China. And then our "wait time" starts for our child. In the mean time, I have been working as much as I can stand it to try to save money for all of this!

If it sounds like I may not be completely clear on this process, it's because I'm not. It's very easy for this to get overwhelming for me, so I'm trying not to focus on anything other than "this step and the next one". China has a huge adoption program, and their process is a little different and more involved than it is for a lot of other countries.

Switching gears again--parents have been invited to Dane's school today for a PE Showcase. I had no idea what the PE Showcase would involve, since it didn't seem likely that they would have the parents watch their child run a mile in 19 minutes flat, so we had Dane give us a preview last night. Apparently a PE Showcase involves an intricate choreographed dance complete with props set to "Splish Splash I Was Taking A Bath", including the throwing in the air and subsequent spinning and catching of, a handkerchief. Dane is very excited about the whole thing. I'll let you know how it goes, if Brandon and I pass the background check and strip search that is required in the check-in process to enter the elementary school.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sharks and Fireballs

It was a great year for Aidan's team (the Sharks), and Dane's team (the Fireballs), and the boys had a great time playing for the YMCA again this year. Aidan won the award for "Most Likely to Fall Down" this year. Aidan likes to fall down A LOT. Sometimes he would knock into another player, other times he would just hit the ground and go into a dive roll all on his own. Like 15 times a game. Every time you would look up, the child would be on the ground.

Dane's team finished the season 6-1-1 with a win against the Super Fast Elephants (I cannot make these names up).
All the soccer playing did not interfere with Dane's flirting with a certain pig-tailed Super Fast Elephant:
In other news, Harper has graduated from army-crawl to official crawler, and I continue to dig all sorts of inappropriate small objects out of her mouth on a daily basis. Today she managed to work a pebble out of the bottom of one of my tennis shoes that was by the front door and attempt to eat it for dinner. She also ate her first cereal bar in her high chair in the 84 minutes I spent on the phone with the credit union. And 67 of those minutes was spent on hold.

Aidan's class at preschool will be dressing up as shepherds for the Christmas program and singing "Go Tell It On The Mountain", which means I have approximately 3 more weeks of listening to Aidan sing at the top of his lungs: "Go tell it on the mountain that JESUS CHWIST IS BONE!"

Dane got his school pictures back the other day.
He looks so big to me! He's still loving school, and every day he brings home papers that he has worked on with very intricate drawings of Star Wars battles on the back. And by "intricate", I mean the one today had 42 characters, men on horseback, the Alamo, multicolored Jedis and Darth Vader guys, a couple of helicopters, and several music notes. I have no idea what he is supposed to be doing when he is spending the better part of an hour drawing battle scenes at school, but he seems to be learning what he is supposed to be learning anyway.

I am getting very excited about Black Friday shopping. I am one of those people who gets up at 4am and is done shopping well before noon, and then heads back to bed for the better part of Friday afternoon. It's what Thanksgiving means to me. And if you're someone I'm buying gifts for this year, and I don't have your list yet, please get it to me soon so that I don't actually have to think up something I think you may like for a gift. Because that can be disastrous. You might end up with a first aid kit or a glittery cell phone pouch. Which is unfortunate, because my brother already has a glittery cell phone pouch.

Hope your week is sunny and bright and resplendent with all things you are thankful for, like the yummy soup I made a double batch of this morning and will be eating for dinner all week. Happy Monday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Early Reader

I was loading the dishwasher last night (yes, sometimes I do dishes), when I heard a bit of a ruckus in the next room. I went in to find this:


This child army-crawled over an entire room full of appropriate-to-chew-on toys to pull a couple of old books off the bookshelf and desecrate an entire title page. She passed up rattles, baby dolls, squeeky things, and even tupperware to get to these books.

I think the title of said book is very fitting:

Oh, and this face. When she is older and trying to get away with more than eating books, Brandon and I are in big trouble.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Garage Can Beat Up Your Garage

I apologize for the slack-blogging lately. Work has been keeping me busy, and on the rare days that I'm not at work and the laundry is sort-of caught up, I've been working on our adoption stuff. I worked on adoption stuff for about 15 hours this past weekend. But this week? I'm only working two days, so I am determined to get back in the habit of blogging more regularly. I guess I could be determined to clean up the house a bit, or head back to the gym, but I like to keep my goals realistic.

As promised, here (finally!) is a better picture of Harper as Princess Leia in her Halloween costume.

I didn't really get good pictures of the boys in their costumes, so just picture white one-piece polyester jumpsuits covered in dirt, mud, ketchup, and ground-in bits of candy, because that's pretty much what Captain Rex and Commander Cody looked like by the end of the night.

The weather here has been nothing short of perfection, so Brandon decided to reward the boys after a week of really good behavior with a backyard campout. After a "quick trip to WalMart for some hot dogs", Brandon came home Friday with a chiminea for our backyard. We have no patio furniture, but we now have a chiminea. Brandon inexplicably had a tent in the back of his car (it's not ours--anyone missing a tent?), so we were set for the backyard campout!

I sent the boys inside to change into "camping clothes", and here's what they came out wearing. So much about what is different about Dane and Aidan is in these pictures!

Doesn't everybody camp out in a long-sleeve polo shirt and mismatched pajamas?

Aidan also brought a few of his beloved stuffed animals.

We cooked hot dogs and s'mores (I'm pretty sure Aidan's dinner consisted of half a hot dog bun and 8 marshmallows), then Harper and I headed inside while the boys all headed into the tent for reading, flashlight shining, Bible stories, and cuddling in lots of blankets. Much to my surprise, all three of them slept the whole night in the tent, and by morning time Dane and Aidan had great stories to share of all the fun they had had on their big campout.

Saturday during Harper's nap time, the rest of us cleaned out the garage, and Brandon finally found a place for these gems:

Now our garage is horny and armed. Horned and armed, sorry. And clean.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween 4 Days Late

Hope your Halloween was a happy one. Our little family (and Val and Joel) spent an evening with 35 of our dearest friends for a night of chili, frito pie, and desserts followed up with 2+ hours of trick-or-treating.

Here was the group before all the sugar was consumed:
In case you're confused and looking for my children, Princess Leia is being held by Lady Gaga, and Captain Rex/Dane is beating Anakin Skywalker over the head with his giant blue gun. Commander Cody/Aidan is too busy admiring Princess Leia's striped tights to look at the camera. Joel/Nacho Libre is the red and blue blur to the upper left of the picture.

Here's a better picture of Harper as Princess Leia. Please excuse the ever-present giant blue gun. Brandon's Halloween was not going to be complete until Dane and Aidan were armed with Star-Wars-inaccurate firearms.

Brandon went as the popular social networking site "BookFace", and Val went as a pregnant lady dead on her feet after 2+ hours of trick-or-treating. I think I may have to pull our Harper's costume again just to get some better pictures.
Please excuse the mediocre pictures today. My auto-focus has taken an extended vacation and my camera has not wanted to cooperate with me at all lately. And photoshop has decided to forget everything he has ever known. Here's just a couple of random shots from last week.

Guess who's not fighting Aidan's wardrobe battle at soccer practice? (Which one of these doesn't belong?) Yeah, that's my kid playing soccer in plaid shorts.
Harper enjoyed several days of dressing up in Halloween clothes. Her shirt says "I Love My Mummy"
And though not actually crawling, the girl has been mobile for quite a while, and getting into more and more trouble everyday:
I'll try to get some better pictures of Harper in her costume this week. I didn't get any of the boys in their costumes, either, but theirs have been muddied up and sufficiently destroyed after their night of trick-or-treating. Have a great week!