Deck the Halls

and make it feel like Christmas...

Morgan and the boys and I did all of our Christmas decorating. Dan was home and did some supervision. He's not really into decorating but loves the end result, go figure... We had a great time, listened to festive music. This is the 1st year for us to use our big tree again (due to space constraints). This was my tree from home many years ago and it was packed with ornaments from childhood. I loved going thru them and remembering the reason behind the ornaments. Morgan even found and loved a couple of ornaments that my mom (her grandma, too) had made, so she kept those. We put up our small tree in the boys playroom and then decorated the outside a little, as well! I love this time of year, at home with the overhead lights off and the tree lights on at night. We enjoyed a snack of popcorn and watched Thomas Christmas. Lastly, Morgan and I spent the night out in the living room by the tree.


Articles and Referrals

We are famous. At least in our little town of 3500. That probably about as famous as it will get and that is fine with us! My SIL Shannon is a reporter for our local newspaper. In honor of National Adoption Month, she put together and article. It is a great article, and I would love to give you the link, but THE TRIBUNE is not on-line, YET of course, I am sure it is coming. She, having adopted my nephew from Russia, did a great job. It covered both domestic and international adoptions from costs to research, etc. We were a featured family with a photo and some quotes in the article. Great Job, Shannon!

And the brains behind the article, my friend Kristi A. received her referral of her beautiful baby boy, Eli on Wednesday. When the phone rang, I was hoping it was the call. He is a beautiful little man, with chocolate drop eyes. Eli was born in August in Ethopia and is healthy and happy. We will pray and wait with you Kristi. So glad adoption has brought us together as forever friends.

Our Turkey Day 08

We had a great Turkey Day 08. Although the pics are posted backwards, we actually celebrated in reverse order...

We ended the evening at my brother Will's for a chili supper. Jill made white and red chili and they were yummy. Poor Joe cried when I fed him the white chili, hey I thought Guate tots liked spicy stuff?!? Anyway we had an evening of laughs playing card games, dice games, and this game pictured below where you ask questions to guess which celebrity you are. We got a lot of laughs.
Cole was Dale Earnhart Jr. He quite possibly asked the best questions...great game Cole. Although your mama won..sorry about it!

Scott was Hannah Montana, he had no clue, but was funny. Other funny characters were Albert Pujols, Dora the Explorer, Sarah Palin, Michael Phelps...we laughed a lot.

We spent lunch at Grandma and Grandpa Grabers for smoked turkey and all the fixings. It was very good. The grandkids love to wrestle, although Dryce was pretending that Sam and Joe were his kids.

At Dryce's request the kids made cookies with Grandma.

Quite possibly the best part of the day was spent at home yesterday morning where daddy made us bacon and eggs. I love mornings all spent at home, we all enjoyed it!


He's Cute...

As I was changing Joe's diaper today, Sam came up close to his head and stroked his hair. Sam has been stuttering lately (I have been assured by my SIL, and speech-language pathologist that this is normal at this stage, pfew) and struggled to get his thought out.

He,he,he, He's Cute!

Yes Sam, Joe is cute...so are you.

Joe's haircut

Blake and Joe with their after looks. Blake came along and got "bangs". Don't look like my bangs from high school (LOL).

Joe is not a happy camper and he told us about it.

Sooooo, last Wednesday Joe had his first haircut (with us), third overall...
My SIL was here last night and said, why haven't you posted about Joe's haircut? Honestly, I think it is because I feel guilty and am traumatized that I don't have the cut hairs?!? Of course I have Sam's, placed proudly in his baby book...
Now it is obvious from the photos that Joe didn't love his haircut, let's just say he was crazy mad. But, I saved some hair...but I didn't pick it up.
Chris, trying to make me feel better, thinks back to all 3 of her teens...yep, she has their hair. I had already thought, could I steal some of Sam's and put it in Joe's book?...No, I would always know. Then, DH, bless his heart again...says, Why don't you just clip a few now...Hmmm, good solution, and it will make a funny story later. Good thing he is not as emotionally charged as me...Thanks DH.


Prayers and Getaways

Peggy is off the ventilator! The prayers were successful. Dan and I had planned a one night get-a-way for Friday night. We had thought about going to Brown Co., staying at Columbus, then shopping at the outlets in Edinburgh on Saturday. We left the boys with Blake afterschool, then Grandma and Grandpa picked them up for the night. We decided it was too cold for Brown Co, so we drove up to Methodist to visit Peggy instead. As soon as we got into ICU, my aunt Polly called our names. She was staying the night up there with Peggy. I was so glad we went. We went in to see Peg and she looked and responded better than I expected. She knew who I was and kept motioning to the tube. Polly told her the doctor hadn't been in yet today...so she didn't know. The nurse said it looked favorable for removal b/c they had it on the lowest setting possible. We let Peggy rest, visited with Polly for awhile, then headed to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. We woke up Sat and had the hotel breakfast (it was pretty yummy) and went to the outlet at Edinburgh. On the way we called to talk to the boys and found out that neither was feeling great. Joe had the flu bug and kept grandma up all night. We stayed to shop awhile, then headed home. When we got home last night, I realized that Sam has impetigo. We had a great night away...last night went good with the boys, too. I am home from church with them this morning, but I think they are both better. I called my brother Will, who went to see Peg yesterday and he said she was off the vent, sitting up in bed, chatting away...praise the Lord for answered prayer. Now let's get her recovered and home sweet home!



Joe is becoming more comfortable in our home. I notice it daily and am so thankful for this. I notice details that only a mama would, I guess. I mentioned these to my husband, who didn't seem to think they were as significant (bless his heart).
I am getting so many more of these precious, big cheesy grins. Just out of the blue, he will look at us and smile. He smiles so big his heart shines. So glad you are comfortable here.

And he is everywhere, exploring every nook and cranny of our home made for these kids. We love your curosity. So glad you are comfortable here.

Today I gave Sam a snack and had him sit at the dining room table, he can still see the TV. I placed Joe's on the kitchen floor. Sam sat and happily ate his chips. Joe would eat a chip, walk to the living room catch a glimpse of the cartoon, then return for a chip. He repeated this about 4 times, until on the last trip, he decided that he would take the bowl with him...aaaha! After almost spilling the snack, I helped him. As he sat to enjoy his snack, he took it out piece by piece and surrounded himself with it?!? Then onto the cartoon again, since big brother now blocked his view! I cannot help but think that 2-3 weeks ago, this situation would have resulted in a crying fit with a need for mama to fix it. So glad you are comfortable here.

More fun playdates

We have had a lot of fun playdates since Joe came home, but here are some more fun memories...

Good times with Kiersten, Patrick and Aaron and their mama - this mama's college roommate - Go Bulldogs!

A day with mama's BFF Toni who is gonna be a mama soon, too!

A fun playdate at Kyleigh and Breanna's house. Their cousins's Olivia and Chelsea were there,too.

Playing together...I can't say this happens all that often, so I better post it!

And just this week, our good friends Jessica and Jason came to visit, my boys were sacked out about the entire time. Believe it or not, the visit was great. Jason had a whole new set of toys and the mama's could gab it out!


Praying for Peg

A few weeks ago, I had the joy to share a party we had in honor of my Aunt Peggy. She has been an inspiration over the past 2.5 years dealing with terrible hip pain and failed hip replacements. Her positive attitude is contagious. So why does this happen??? She needs our prayers. Monday she went in for her much anticipated hip replacement, Tues all was well, she was up on the side of the bed. Wednesday things began to decline with her breathing, blood counts, and kidneys...by the end of the day she was unresponsive and on a ventilator. Unresponsive to everyone, that is, except her twin sister Polly (cold chills, eh??). Today her health is on the brink, and we are praying without ceasing...please join us.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray continually.


3 year checkup

Today we went for Sam's 3 year check up. Sam will be 3 on Christmas Day, it is nice to have this appt before the mad holiday rush! Dr. R says Sam is doing great. Sam sat right up on his lap and named all the shapes, letters, and colors that Dr. R wanted him to. We talked about motary skills, language skills, and behavior. Sam is doing great and was even referred to a very smart kid. Thanks Dr. R, made my day...
Dr. made a point to tell Sam about the importance of potty training and made a pinky swear with him. He also talked to him about treating Joe nicely all the time. Other topics were Sam's knee pain - he thinks this is due to his size. These are load bearing joints, with a big load. Dr. had to extend his chart well above the top to plot his curve. He is quite certain however that there is no need for concern as has been the case all along. His muscle tone is very strong, etc. We also talked about Sam's blood noses, one again last night. He gave me another suggestion, if this doesn't work it is off to ENT.

Sam's stats at 2 years 10&1/2 months: (so mama can remember)
Height 42.5 inches
Weight 53 lbs.
Knows all ABC and recognizes all capital letters
Sings many songs
Knows all shapes
Knows all colors (even got moon shape today, don't remember working on this one)
Knows numbers to 10 (in spanish too!) -recognizes most
Pedals tricycle
Is beginning to dress himself (although he much prefers not to change at all...)
Eats independently
Drinks from cup with no lid (if mama is in the mood for a possible accident)
Not potty trained, not even interested
Works puzzles
Reads most books on his own, gets most words right
Likes to color, not in lines
Loves scissors and playdough

So proud of Samuel George Cristian.


My Laundry Room

Seems to fit my theme of the Mountain O' Socks. I had fun with that post and so did my fellow bloggers, thanks for playing the game, loved all your answers.
Really, I post my laundry room, in light of the AWESOME women's conference that I attended yesterday with my friend Melissa. It was titled "Meet me in the Laundry Room" and it was great. Thanks to the ladies at Providence that worked so hard to make it all come together - Mandy from The Ash Family (on my sidebar) - great job. And a huge kudos, thanks and amazement at your gift for public speaking to Lauren at That Girl. Seriously, this girl has an real knack for taking a big topic and making it work for everyone in the room. She pulled in scripture, made it relevant to each of us, and in true 'that girl' fashion even very funny at times. I feel like I have watched Lauren grow up since she was little, the Lord chose right when he led her into ministry. She has overcome a lot and truly lives to glorify God, I am still praying for the pants snap...

The focus for the day was that God will meet you anywhere you seek him, even the Laundry Room.
Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

I took a lot of notes, and hope to go over them again as the week goes on. Many things from the day struck me, but the challenge that remained stemmed from an illustration that Lauren chose. She told the story of a monk (from a book she'd read, no reference, sorry)who was struggling to find his strength in the place where he lived. He wasn't called to preach, couldn't sing, and didn't enjoy teaching. What he did enjoy was doing dishes, he enjoyed it so much that he did this for every meal. After awhile he began to recognize which plate belong to which monk and God encouraged him to pray for those people - and he obeyed. He took his calling and made to most of it. Now, I can surely do this. As I rinse the boys' plates for the dishwasher, calling them by name and lift them up in prayer. So I resolve to do so...

One of my big challenges that I face is at work. It is often hard to know when it is acceptable to share my faith. Most of the people I care for are not complete strangers, for I have come to know and care for them. I know the name of the people I serve, I should pray for them by name. Now over a day's time, that is a lot of prayer sometimes upwards of 400 prescriptions a day. But, what could happen if I resolved to pray for these people, even if I catch a portion???

Now onto My Laundry Room. I left my house on Thursday morning full well intending to finish this mess, but the day had better things in store. Since I worked Friday, I went to the women's conference knowing that my laundry room looked like this. I learned this from my mom, she said make sure your laundry room has a door on it so that you can shut it! I am so glad I left that silly laundry, it will be there until Tuesday now because I had fun with my family Saturday afternoon, don't work much on the Lord's day, and I work again tomorrow. I returned from the conference and the laundry room beckoned me. As I looked straight ahead I realized that while God has closed (infertility) doors for us, he has also opened(adoption) others. The big mountain of clothes or problems can be a neatly folded pile if we meet the Lord in the middle of that counter. And as for the dirty laundry still laying on the floor, well let's just say I am a work in progress! So with the Lord's help I will tackle my laundry room...Tuesday! Let me know if you went to the conference and enjoyed yourself, or if you didn't and you read this whole post, you deserve some kudos too, leave me a note!


Mountain O' Socks

We did it...we tackled the socks! You know the socks that never get matched after they go 'missing' in laundry. Everybody has a pile, the biggest one I know of is my friend Hanna's. They actually have movie and sock matching party night, isn't that great! Now, this was no ordinary pile of socks, this mismatched sock pile moved here with us and kept growing...yikes. I thought it might provide a great game for Sam and I to play matching socks. First we seperated into light and dark, then by size. Even Joe ended up with some socks from the deal, they were in there so long that Sam outgrew them. We played keep away from Joe and he traveled around the entire bed, he thought it was a game, too.
Since my boys are getting up at the crack of dawn, we had this and some laundry done by 9 am. We took grandma and met daddy for lunch, ordered a new front door, came back to Grandma's and she made us some new curtains and an apron for mama. It is 4pm, the boys are back home and taking a nap. We are going to Morgan's cheerleading game tonight at 7pm while daddy go to praise group practice for the drums.
Mama works tomorrow, but is gearing up for a fun weekend. Saturday morning is a women's retreat with friend Melissa - really looking forward to this!

Sam and the Mountain O' Socks

Playing keep away from Joe

Mama's sock drawer, uuhhh I love it. And now, no one needs socks in the house, we have plenty..

So that brings me to the question. How do you fold your socks?
I honestly never knew there was more than one way. I grew up folding the top of one over the other and making a ball of sorts. My husband pairs the two together and knots them??? Others just fold them together...what's your style?


Remembering Joe's 1st visit

On this very day, one year ago, we had Joe in our arms. But this time, I knew it was only for a short while. How lucky we are today that it is forever. I love remembering this visit, it was a magical time for our family. Dan and I had been so busy with work and redoing our future home, it was a time for our family of 3 to reconnect and realize that we were a family of 4! We loved playing with Sam and Joe together, lazy days by the pool, going to McDonalds, walking to the handicraft markets, and just watching the boys interact and even take naps.

Joe, today in his bedroom.

Joe, one year ago today, in Dan's arms

Sam's first glance.


Look Who's Walking

Look out mama, I am really on the move now!

Joe started walking about 2 days ago -this is just after I took him out of his highchair after breakfast this morning. He is so proud of himself and so steady, so glad we got to see his 1st steps. 11/8/08


Work Day One - Done

My first day back to work is over and it was just fine. Fine because of all my faithful blog friends and their uplifting, supportive comments - thanks to all over you for your encouraging words. I left a little extra time for drop off this morning, but it wasn't needed. I called to check on the boys in the morning, but it wasn't needed, either! They headed in the front door, straight to the toys, and never looked back this morning. I am so glad!
It was good to be back at work with my co-workers, to share my joy of 2 little boys. I love this group of people, although Monday's in a pharmacy aren't really the best time to chat. I went non-stop from 8a-8p. Daddy brought the boys around 5, Joe was practically leaping off the counter to get to me, it was precious. So all my fears are calmed and relieved!
And what's the best treat a blogger could ask for...her blog all bound into a book and on her doorstep after a long day! Well, hubby had already opened it, tried to pull a fast one on me as I started to look at it. He says, did you know it was black and white, looks like it is on recycled paper or something - my heart sank. Images of a cheap comic book ran thru my head...but take a look - I love it! That hubby always trying to pull a fast one on me!
Go on and get yourself one at:
http://sharedbook.com/ - click on the Blog 2 Print link...mine is 142 pages, all color and hardback. The price was around $90. Very happy with quality and as I stated in previous post-from logging on to website to ordering the book it took 1.5 hours tops! Have a good evening...


Does is have to be tomorrow?

Tomorrow is the day that I don't wish would come, not this time. Tomorrow mama has to go back to work. Back to work for 12 hours. That is a lot of hours to be away from Baby Joe, when my most so far is 2. There are so many what ifs running thru my mind, but simply put, what if Baby Joe needs me. What if the thought enters his mind, even for a moment, that we are not coming back to get him.
There is no better place for Joe to be, our babysitters are grand. I wouldn't want to leave them anywhere else. And Sam will be there, he will still torment Joe just like always. Sam may even show him around. I just want to be sure that he know we will be there to get him, I will hug him extra tight before I leave, and call often. I know it will be alright, after all, they are God's children and I am simply entrusted to care for them, right?
In essence tommorrow is a normal day for our family and I will thank God for a normal day. While I cannot be with my children all day tomorrow, I am confident that I have given them enough of my love over this past wonderful month to sustain them for a few hours. What a glorious day Tuesday will be, when we are together again!

Normal day let me be aware of the treasure you are. -M. Iron


One month


It has been one month since you came home. One month since you entered our lives forever. One month of pure joy for us. You bring so much to our household, more than I could have ever imagined! I certainly knew that God had a plan when he planted the seed to adopt a brother for Sam, but living his plan has been magical! We have had our times of transition and there are more to come.

We have learned that:
you can play trains only when Sam is sleeping to keep the peace
that you take all but one ounce of your bottle no matter how much we start with
you like to sleep alone (good thing, you are a mover and a shaker)
you love to eat
to change your diaper after breakfast, because it is your favorite time to fill it
you love to be held or at least in the midst of the action
you know how to let us know what you want, we love your little voice
you could walk but prefer to crawl
you can destroy a room in minutes
you have opened every door/drawer that we own
you can feed yourself, but not with silverware
you like books, but not reading them
you love things with wheels
you love to be outside
you love push chairs across a room
you are different from Sam in so many ways
you are small but mighty (size 12mo-size 3 diapers)
you were so loved in Guate, because you receive our love so well
you like it here
you need us to show you that you are loved
you are curious and you need to explore your surroundings
you have a smile that lights up the room

Most of all, we know that you are a Child of God, given to us thru his Grace and we were the one chosen to be your forever family. We will treasure you as our gift, and give you all the love we can offer.


I never want to forget...

when you fit perfectly underneath our kitchen cabinets.

120 seconds

Yep, that is all it took. And that sweet little face, the new arrival to our home, is the sole culprit. Good thing he is so stinkin' cute!

A perfect park day

#1 friend Kia was off on vacation this week, so we took the kids to the park. We swung throught McD and got kids meals and then off the the park. It was a beautiful park (Petersburg for locals) with lots for the kids to do. They played on the 'castle' for a long time, then we fed the ducks and walked around the park and played on the 'castle' again! It was the perfect thing to do on and Indian summer day. I remember my mom loved "Indian summer days"

Of course, Kia wanted a picture by the Lake - named what else but Lake Ashley! Me, not so excited about anything so large being named the same as me... Great photo, though! I love how Joe is pointing at the sign!

Kia and ML loving the merry-go-round. Kia was acting like different animals as the kids came around - barking, baahing, snorting, licking the kids as they spun around - they loved it. Come to think of it, she wasn't acting at all...that's just her! Pretty sure I have heard her do all of those in a normal day's time! LOL

Sam and Joe loving the merry-go-round.

ML loving the slide - she loves to pose for the camera!

Sam and Joe playing by the castle. Sam had a kitchen set up. Kia asked for pancakes, he said "All I have is rocks..."