Thursday, April 29, 2010


Harper became a Big Cousin this past Monday.

Welcome to the family, Uriah Edward. At 8 lbs, 2 oz, and lookin' a whole lot like your brother when he was born.

You have about 12 months to get into wrestling shape, because your cousins and your brother cannot wait to play with you!

And Aidan and Joel? T-R-O-U-B-L-E together. Someday these three big boys will be 18, 16, and 15. Please start praying for me now.
Don't worry, Aunt Val. You've got an experienced baby holder at your service.
And Harper says she's sorry for trying to whack you earlier today. Please don't take it personally. She hasn't acquired her "Gentle Hands" yet.

Congrats, Val and Izzy and Big Brother Joel! We are so excited to have this sweet new addition in our family!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Show Us Your Life

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

I'm playing along with Kelly this morning (mainly because I've already written all of these posts, and just had myself a grand time re-reading them!). If you have a minute or 30, here's a series of posts explaining "How Brandon Became The Happiest Husband I Know":


Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Hot Brandon

Our adoption agency celebrated my hubby's birthday today by sending us some new pictures and updated information about Miss Emerson. After much debating and compromising, she has a name. Meet Emerson JingLong:

I cannot wait to kiss those squishy cheeks!

And from what I can see, she has more hair than the other three kids put together.

They also sent us a little bit more information that we had requested, like vaccine records (she's the only one of my children to have been vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis!) and updated development information. And she looks a bit solemn in the picture because the pediatrician had requested a picture of her with her mouth closed.

It's so hard to know that she is far away, and that we won't be able to get her for several more months. Some of you have asked, and the wait time until we travel involves several factors, and right now we are waiting for the first of two approval notices to come from USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration). We are expecting to wait about another month for this first approval, then we will immediately apply for the second approval that we need.

We miss you sweet Emerson, and we can't wait to meet you. Your brothers pray for you, they pray that you are safe and healthy, and that there is someone there who shows you that they love you. We pray that somehow you know that you are loved by your family who lives halfway around the world.

Just a few more months, sweet girl.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What I Would Have Missed...

...on Friday if my charge nurse hadn't called and asked me to come to work in the afternoon instead of the morning:

Dane getting ready for Career Day at school. Who's my favorite 6 year old youth minister?
...and Aidan determined to get in the picture with him.

Aidan's art show at his preschool. I have never seen a child more proud of his creations.
He made a treasure box filled with scripture cards.

This one says "Control your anger". I have a feeling he hears that scripture repeated multiple times during his school days.

His Class Prayer:
"Protect us God the whole day through
In everything we say and do
Thank you for the friends that care
Thank you for the food we share

...Harper wandering around at the art show, eventually finding a lady's lap to sit in and some cherry tomatoes to eat off her plate. This wouldn't have been so bad if we had actually known the sweet lady. She washed down her cherry tomato with a swig of lemonade from an abandoned cup she found on the floor. This all happened in a five-second span when I put Harper down to talk to Aidan's teacher. Harper also became rather fascinated with another mom's prairie-style skirt, and spent the better part of the morning trying to pull it off. My children have an issue with boundaries.

Thank you sweet charge nurse for my morning.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Baby Doll

The other day at our play group, one of the little girls had her doll with her. A sweet, squishy baby doll that Harper instantly latched on to. She followed her friend around gazing longingly at the little doll.

Y'all, Harper has never had a doll. She plays with Wii remotes, animals, and her noisy baby toys, but no baby doll. I waited an entire day after the play group until my mommy-guilt got the best of me and Harper and I took a trip to the Target in search of the perfect baby doll for Harper girl.

After searching several aisles, I saw her. Smaller than her friend's doll, it was just the perfect size for a little 1-year old to hold and love. Her body was soft, and her face was drool-proof, and she was the last little baby doll left on the shelf. Harper saw that baby doll and could not keep her eyes off of her. Into the cart she went, and into Harper's arms she stayed once she had been purchased.

I know what you're thinking when you see this picture.

"Is that little pink bow a choking hazard?"

Later that evening, Dane saw Harper proudly holding her new baby and said sweetly, "Harper, you looked just like this when you were born!"

Now if only this baby had a name...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh, weekend.

I'm going to need another weekend to recover from my weekend!

Friday after an 8 hour shift (7am-3pm, aka the "princess shift") Brandon and I, along with a couple of buddies, left the kiddos with a sitter and loaded up in the van to head out to a wedding. The three Minivan Ladies (not to be confused with the Pink Ladies from Grease) found ourselves all matchy-matchy wearing black and white print outfits and carrying red purses. I would love to say that no one at the wedding noticed. And I would love to say that I had my camera and was able to properly document the moment, but we didn't think to take a picture until 12:30 that night, after the wedding and music and buffet and pie and it was dark outside and we resorted to snapping a quick picture with a camera phone while we stood in front of the van headlights for light in a parking lot. Nope, we're way better planners than that.

It's still a little strange for me when our youth group kids get married. Especially when they're marrying each other. I just have to remember that they are grown ups now, and not 15 anymore, even though Brandon and I have not aged a bit. We had a great time crying at the beautiful ceremony, then laughing till we cried while catching up with old friends at the reception. And did I mention pie? When we had wedding-ed ourselves out, we headed a mere 5 minutes away to House of Pies and squished all 6 of our (non-tiny) selves into a booth and enjoyed some of Houston's best comfort food.

Our 1 am return to our house would not have been an issue Friday night had I been able to sleep past 7am Saturday morning. And not had a 12 hour shift to work on Saturday. Fortunately, my shift was 11am-11pm at my new favorite place to work. Unfortunately, that put me to bed after midnight again. Only to get up pre-7am on Sunday morning. Ugh. I am just not someone who can function well without being overly cranky on this kind of sleep schedule. Sunday brought a full day of church, a couple of meetings, and youth group Sunday night. My kids ate two meals of Little Ceasar's Pizza for lunch and dinner at church, and they got to play with their church buddies quite a bit. One of their friends, a little girl a couple of years older than Dane, had a birthday Saturday and had some new play-makeup to show my boys. I picked them up, and Dane informed me that "whoever invented lipstick is a genius, mom. A genius."

Indeed, Dane.

Monday finds me catching up on all the housework that I haven't done these past few days. I took whatever free time I had yesterday to "Sabbath", looked around at the dishes in the sink, the clean laundry waiting to be put away, and the toothpaste all over the boys' bathroom, and decided that it would all still be there today. And unfortunately, it was. I'm enjoying spending today at home, because tomorrow will be spent on errands and more of the never ending adoption paperwork.

The travel documents I overnighted to Oregon last week are being returned to us because I forgot to initial 2 pages, and I am sending papers to Immigration tomorrow requesting to adopt a 3 year old, instead of the younger child that they gave us permission to adopt last fall.

All while my daughter sits in an orphanage halfway around the world, without her mommy and daddy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, April 5, 2010

Up From the Gravy and Rolls

I hope everyone had a great Easter. Thanks, John, for letting me steal this title. (Hey, John, can I steal this title?) I tried explaining "Up From the Gravy and Rolls" to Brandon, only to find out that he has never heard this song before. Hello? "Up From The Grave He Arose"?? Seriously?

Easter Sunday started bright and early for Brandon, who spent 7 hours at the church Sunday morning. I love our church. We added an extra service on Sunday, we went to service, and then I got to spend a little while cuddling babies in the nursery. The boys had a great time in their classes, made some new friends, and learned some new songs. Harper ate her weight in Cheerios in the nursery, and the wonderful volunteers made sure her dress stayed clean for Easter pictures!

We went home from church and enjoyed lunch that had cooked in the crock pot all morning, and I felt a little bit like my mom with all the lunch-cookin-while-we're-at-church. (Sidenote: we NEVER ate out Sunday lunch after church growing up. Mom ALWAYS had lunch cookin', and we always had plenty to share with whatever friends we wanted to have over. Fun times.)

The Easter Bunny (which my children know doesn't exist anyway) never visits our house until after church, and this year, didn't even come until after Harper's afternoon nap. He conveniently knew that baby sister wouldn't be very cooperative for pictures and egg hunting until she had a good nap. The boys got a new pair of shoes, and some other goodies that the Easter Bunny found at Walgreens and the dollar spot at Target. And some of those mini-Whopper eggs that I'm secretly hoping Aidan forgets about.

What the Easter Bunny didn't count on, was Harper feeling completely jipped by the contents of her own Easter basket (Hello, baby Cheetos and bubbles, anyone?) and interested only in the pencils, candy, and doo-dads in her brothers' baskets. The boys' Easter-basket favorite (what they're playing with above) was this horrible candy-tube thing that makes the most annoying noise you have ever heard when the trigger is pulled. Easter Bunny has learned her lesson in regards to Things That Make Awful Noises.

I was determined to get a picture of the kids on the love seat, and only managed to confirm my hatred of my camera's flash. Harper face-planted at the playground last week, and scratched her face right in-between her eyes. Then Friday, taking a cue from her brothers, picked at the scratch until it bled down her face, and by Easter Sunday sported a yucky scab right in the middle of her face. I left it in most of the pictures, but edited it out of this one:

I'm not so good at editing out flash-glares on little boys' glasses.

The boys hunted eggs in the backyard,

while the Easter Bunny marveled at how green the grass is right now, and thanked Mr. Easter Bunny for working in the yard the day before.
Harper wandered aimlessly around the backyard in her cute Easter dress...

...and then cracked open an egg while her mommy snapped pictures of her and the choking-hazard jelly beans.

She managed to survive the harrowing encounter with the jelly beans to enjoy the fruits, (er, chocolate) of her brothers' labor.

So, how was your Easter?