slide show

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day!

Angel started without Lovebug this morning. She patiently waited and *waited* for Lovebug to wake up but he just didn't. LOL. So we let her get a head start.

Angel LOVED her new "big girl" bike ... DH made the training wheels a bit more loose so that she can learn to control it more.
When Lovebug woke up, he had no problem diving right in and Angel was happy to help him along.
I'm so glad Lovebug loved his Boogaloo! I got them for *all* of the kids - Angel and Sunshine got the same one. I'm planning on taking one to China with us :-)

We were a little worried about how Angel would react to all of the "Tangled" stuff because she was kind of scared when we saw the movie.
Fortunately, being scared at the movie didn't seem to bother her - she ADORED these gifts!
A perfect Christmas morning ends with jumping on all of the bubble wrap, of course!
The kids had a blast opening their gifts, it was such a great morning for them! After a lazy few hours, we drove over to my Grandmother's house to celebrate again. It was an early night though - we got home, got the kids to bed and started packing up for our trip to visit the cousins!

The calm before the storm

I just love Christmas Day. It's my *favorite* day of the year. After the kids open their gifts from us and Santa (the 4 sitting in front), our families roll in at about 10am with lots of yummy brunch casseroles and breakfast foods. We open gifts, hang out, chat, and drink LOTS of coffee.

This is what the family room looked like after "Santa" had visited right before DH and I were heading to bed ... the calm before the storm!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours!

Our first "family of 5" shot! Sunshine may not be *physically* here, but she is definitely sharing this day with us! Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!

PS - Sorry, I blurred/covered Sunshine's picture until we get PA - after that I'll fix it! :-)
PPS - UPDATE 12.28.10 - we received PA this morning so I "unblurred" Sunshine's face!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cousins. LOL.

Ok, all I can do here is laugh. LOL. How typical is this of group cousins shots?!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Too many blessings to count

DH and I have always felt so very blessed ... we have an incredible family always willing to support us, amazing friends and we are surrounded by so much love. More importantly though, we have always been able to feel God's love in our lives ... EVERYday ... and it's from Him that we know all of our blessings come from. Always.  When we felt God leading us to add to our family through adoption earlier this year, we knew we had to follow. We had no idea what was in store for our family, but we just knew it was God's plan for us ... so we went. Well God definitely had a plan ... our baby girl was born in China and God marked her FOR US. For us to bring home, care for, love and most importantly, fill her with God's love and teach her about His Grace.

We received a referral for our 7-month-old precious baby girl on Monday night (12.17.10). DH and I were out to dinner with his team from work. I saw the email come through on my phone from our social worker and I knew that I shouldn't open it then but the anticipation took over and I just couldn't stop myself. I saw pictures of a stunning baby girl dressed in layers and layers of clothes with a tiny fluff of dark hair.  I tried to focus on dinner and the friends that surrounded us, but it was impossible to take my mind off of her. (I am not able to share pictures through my blog ... so as much as it pains me, there are no pictures in this post.)

Once we got in the car, it seemed as if we couldn't get the attachment opened fast enough on my phone! LOL. It was difficult to read in the car on my phone, but we were able to get the gist. She was a perfect baby girl who was born with a cleft lip & palate that had not been repaired.  The next 2 days were kind of a whirlwind ... trying to get answers from doctors, making sure DH and I were on the same page, etc. We also now knew there was a baby girl in China with our name marked for her ... WOW! Additionally, we were preparing for Christmas, I was still working AND I got sick! LOL.

While waiting to hear back from the doctor who reviewed her information, DH and I both came to the conclusion that she was our daughter.  We heard from the doctor and he confirmed what we already knew.  We submitted our formal application to adopt our little Sunshine earlier this morning! We will probably travel to China to get her in April or May :-)

It has been truly amazing to watch God work through this process ... we followed the signs He gave us and He provided the way. Although the world is broken and painful, he is a redeeming God and is shepherding one of his little lambs home to us and ... well ... that's just cool.  She is absolutely perfect and everything we had ever prayed for along this journey.

She. Is. Definitely. Ours.

If you read all the way to the end of this long post, you rock!  THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for supporting us through our journey to our daughter. It is far from over, but we can finally see her gorgeous little face. Now we wait on several approvals before we can go get her and BRING HER HOME! This was THE BEST Christmas gift God could have given to us.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

LOG-IN DATE!!!!!!!!!!! (& Christmas pics!)

I have been HORRIBLE about blogging recently! Yikes! It's my crazy busy work season but I have had some really stunning newborn sessions recently!

Anywho, back to the personal stuff. We got our LID on Friday - we were officially logged-in on 12.7.10! I was so happy when I saw the social worker's email that I wanted to cry ... I felt like I did when I found out I was pregnant both times. It was a very surreal feeling because we have been working toward these last few goals for *so* long. I finally feel like we're almost there.

For those of you that aren't a part of the adoption world - our LID is notification that our dossier has been received in China. It hasn't been "approved," but it's there. This is a huge milestone for us because it means we can finally start receiving files to look at! A new shared list comes out once a month - this is a list of new orphans added to the special needs program that all adoption agencies share. Files are pulled from the new list for adoptive parents to look at. Only one file can be "locked" at a time for a family - we'll have 72 hours to review any given file and decide whether the little one in that file is our daughter. Fortunately we received our LID just in time for the next shared list release, which is this coming Monday night! Our adoption social workers will stay through the night because that's when the new kiddos are added to the list - as new children are added, they will work on locking files for the families that are currently waiting with their adoption agency. They will have our special needs checklist to refer to ... and will hopefully lock-in a file for us that meets what we're looking for. I hope that super-long-winded explanation made sense. LOL.

Soooooo ... the bottom line is that we are *very* hopeful that we may have a file of a baby girl to review on Tuesday morning. What an amazing Christmas gift that would be .... wow.

I have been praying around the clock (or it seems so anyway) that God directs our adoption social workers to our daughter. I would love for us to be led to her before Christmas but also understand that this will happen in God's time. Please, please keep us in your prayers! Pray for guidance for our social workers - pray that they are led to our daughter - and please pray that everything can fall into place so that we can bring her home as quickly as possible! This is such an exciting time ... sooooooo close to our family of 5!

Last little note - these were our Christmas portraits of the kids. I shot a *ton* to get a few winners, but I really LOVE the first 3. I already have them printed and framed, just need to get them back up on the walls. They look really beautiful! It gets easier and easier to get pictures of them together, although I am really happy to say that it will most likely be quite difficult next Christmas! LOL.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Good times

We were so lucky today - we spent lots of time with our cousins! After a fun Christmas outing, we all went our separate ways to grab lunches and naps and then everyone came back over to our house to celebrate Thanksgiving. I caught Angel and her cousin reading a book together after everything had calmed down a bit. This site is somewhat amazing because the kids *never* stop moving when they are together - I can't believe they sat down for a few minutes *together* to read a book. Precious, precious.

A fun Christmas outing

Aunt A. took us to her work's Christmas festival today - the kids had so much fun! I think the highlight was the petting zoo and humongous train for the boys. They also really liked the train ride (unfortunately I didn't get any good shots of that). Angel was super-excited about going shopping and being able to pick out something on her own. I told her she could pick out 1 thing to buy - anything she wanted. She had such a hard time deciding! It was adorable to watch - I could see she was really laboring over her final pick. She ultimately decided on a stuffed dog that came in a carry purse - so cute :-)

Go Fish

It warms my heart to see them playing together like this ... even if they aren't actually "playing" the game ... they are still playing and learning how to be together and love each other. I love these days.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WE ARE DTC!!!!!!!!!! (& Small Group Thanksgiving)

We are finally DTC (Dossier to China)!
It seems like we've been working toward this goal FOR-EV-ER! But finally today, November 24, 2010, our paperwork is heading to China! Woohoo! Next up is waiting for our LID (login date), telling us that our dossier has made it's way to China and been logged into the queue. We'll probably be logged in about a week(ish) from now but won't actually get word of our LID until several weeks later. So I'm hoping we'll have our LID by Christmas? After that, it will be time to start searching for our special girl. Please keep her in your prayers - our little girl halfway across the world, whomever she may be. Please also keep her birth mom in your prayers too ... she probably very recently had to make the most difficult decision to give her daughter up. I can't even imagine.

You're probably wondering about the picture. LOL. This is our Thanksgiving group - we started our Thanksgiving dinner tradition 4 years ago, shortly after we had formed our small group at church. I'm so thrilled that we are still doing this ... it's so wonderful to get together with everyone and enjoy the fellowship and all of the delicious concoctions. We took this picture at the end of the night - AFTER we had eaten and the kids had played themselves silly. We were tired but I'm so glad we did this - thank goodness for tripods and self-timers!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Stage

The kids will despise me one day for posting this online but I just couldn't help myself! This video embodies everything that their relationship is and well ... the video is just plain funny. I totally love it and I don't think much more of a caption is needed. LOL.

PS - There is not normally a sofa in the dining room - I was set up for my Christmas mini-sessions :-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Helping Mommy with her coffee :-)

Both of the kids know that morning hasn't really started until I get my coffee going. LOL. Lovebug helped me this morning :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Farm field trip

Check out the diva on her field trip :-) LOL. I love seeing what she comes up with when she picks out her own clothes! This was a very cold re-re-reschedule of our farm field trip with Angel's Kindergarten class. The kids got to walk through the veggie fields and pick out lots of goodies. Unfortunately it was a bit too cold to really enjoy it for the adults, but I'm sure the kids had a good time.

Monday, November 1, 2010


My little Superheros, Violet & Dash!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Budding photographer

Seriously, how adorable is this kid?!

The first one is my old Rebel XT but the 2nd is my 5D MkII ... LOL. I took the lens hood off to make it a littler easier for her. It's such a heavy camera that unless I'm helping her hold it, it's just too tough for her to do. So the floor worked well :-) The quality is not great from the 2nd shot because I took it with the Rebel and used the pop-up flash ... but it works :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We can't take credit for this idea ... it came from Angel's teacher. But the execution was ALL DH's :-) Of course then I took the picture. The original had stickers all over it, so I cloned them out because I felt it made the shot a lot stronger. I think it's cool to take a very NON-faith-based holiday and try to work Jesus into it. We got several compliments on Halloween night :-)

Pumpkin Carving!