Friday, December 26, 2014

Making Memories

A blessed Christmas! I say it every year, and it's true.
Memories Made!

Filled with Family Friends and Cookies

Watching my kids grow and mature... 

...becoming who they are. 
It's sometimes hard to see the progress we have made together when living day to day.
 But when we look back to Christmas' past, I can see the leaps in maturity, growth, and it's all by God's hand! 
Cookies and Milk for Santa... and carrots and celery for the raindeer

I think of the year 2011 specifically... WoW have things changed!

But there are some things that haven't changed. Good things.
Brad is still the love of my life...

We still do our family traditions, like lighting advent candles and our 
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Christmas morning.

We still try to spoil our kids, just a little, on Christmas morning. We can't always buy expensive gifts but we do what we can, when we can. They have been through a lot, at least the younger crew, and they deserve some spoiling sometimes.
 And I never get tired of their excited faces! NEVER!
 NEVER! Worth every minute of preparation.
 Our home feels smaller and smaller every year... this truly makes me cry happy tears every time I think about it. Surrounded by so much love. 
 So Much Love
 And even when I don't see the ones I love as much as I would like to, 
I know that on Christmas I will!

 And we all will spend a moment making memories.

 I'm often reminded when I watch the kids play with their new toys that little boys like dolls and little girls play with cars and teenagers are really just kids in almost grown-up bodies.

Love you Mom, thank you for bearing the brunt of holidays as a single mom and making Christmas magic!

Grandsons! Seeing them smile! Priceless.

Amy, Lauren, and Bradley... The original pose'. Oh how I wish there were online journals in those days...heck, we didn't even own a computer. Many of the traditions we still hold today began when you were little. Here's to new traditions and new family members!
Bradley and Melissa

Lauren and Mike
Here's to football :)
Amy and David(below) 

 ...even when you're not Eagles Fans!

Guess who the Eagles Fans are!
And never forgotten are all those who passed on before us. We miss you. Memories... it's those Christmas memories together that I remember the best. 

Things change. Onward and upward.

And Jesus is in the CENTER of it ALL... 

And, Lord willing, next year we will have even more to celebrate with! Yes, the house gets smaller every year! Love it!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Candles, Tree Lights, and random thoughts...

 Most years we put up two trees. One in the livingroom and this one in the family/school room. Last year we had three, including the demon tree! I wrote about in  this post lol! 

Last year I had very little time, and apparently I did not post about Christmas until Feburary! 

Our tree this year is the perfect size and shape. My hubby, Arielle, and Asher picked it out. But the branches are flimsy and won't hold our heavy ornaments. So every time an ornament falls off, I put it back in the box for next year.

All in all it's a nice tree.... what do you want for $30! I'm not complaining.

Evan put about 3 ornaments up. Like always.  Maybe it's because he knows I will just end up rearranging the decorations anyway. Actually, this year I left most of them where they were put. 

*note, it's time for you to get a haircut son!

And here she is readjusting the falling ornaments...

Next you have Daddy putting up his prize Eagles ornaments... a gift from Arielle last year. Brad has worked more OT these past few weeks than he has the past year. We are blessed to have the money right now but really would prefer to have daddy home with us.

 Our traditions are fun, and we aren't very strict about anything. We light Advent candles every year. We pray and sing and anticipate the coming of Jesus! We talk and spend time together laughing and just being together. I wouldn't trade it for the world!  We started lighting the candles when the oldest three where young... 

And yes, I realize there are 3 lit candles and we are not "technically" on week three for advent, But we were unsure if Brad would be working this weekend so we lit 3 candles this week... And we like them lit anyway :P 

This particular night, we lit the candles before dinner. Love Dinner By Candlelight!  

And because I am an avid online shopping (amazon prime is my best shopping buddy!) I have an abundance of boxes! Big, little, long and short... you name it, we have it. Asher would probably try and save them all and make something "new" out of each one. But I don't have a house big enough for ALL HIS RECYCLED ART. 

Tonight both boys got a hold of a large Target box and decided it would be a great race car...
 They both sat down with markers in hand and decorated. 
 Then once they were done they played for hours! Me and Arielle went to Big Lots and when we got back they were still racing!


These two are real buddies...

The silly bossy buddy, who likes to make sure everything is done right...

...and the artsy buddy who likes to make it up as he goes. The two of them are night and day. 

One day Evan called their need for one another

Symbiotic :) 

After I looked up that word (LOL!) I realized he was right.

They both have a very unique way of approaching life. 

More on the Christmas season coming up! Tomorrow I will be shopping with my sweet Daughter Daddy takes the littles to Breakfast with Santa!  ... can't wait! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Family update

November was here and now it's gone! 

This adoption is very different from our others. The days seem to be flying by since the beginning of November... I almost wish they would slow down just a little.  God's hand is all over this adoption.  He continues to reveal Himself again and again. 
Elizabeth - God is a Vow.

We are waiting for our Letter of Acceptance (LOA). Day 50 already! 


And I am hopeful that we will have it soon. Maybe this week. My FB friend is in match/review this week after 54 days! So I'm hopeful!

I wish that Liz were home already, but I know she will be in our Arms soon enough. Arielle is excited that she will be going to China with me. She is excited about a little sister. Next week we hope to get her passport. 

My prayer is that we will get our LOA soon so we can plan travel during Arielle's school spring break. Her minor surgery was rescheduled for January and she will most likely need about a week off. China is an exhausting 2 week trip. The Jet lag alone is terrible and couple that with a possible scared, crying, non-sleeping 6 year old and you have TIRED family members. We really have no idea what to expect. But I'm preparing her for a less-than-perfect senario.

Enjoy the November photo highlights :)
David and Asher's birthday... obviously David is not 8 and Asher is not 40 lol!

Micah felt left out and wanted to be part of the action.

Perler Beads are awesome and provide hours of quiet entertainment! Get some!
 If these boys will sit still for them, any child will.

Thanksgiving with family and friends... this is most of us.

Micah decided the stickers look better on him.

My son Bradley, DIL Melissa, and her Mom and Dad, Rick & Terry

Our Kids, Grands, and spouses

My beautiful Mother

All of us and My Mom and Step Dad <3

Now on to Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Every day is one day closer

I got photos and a video of Elizabeth last week- I posted them to the Jellybeans site (if you go there sign her guestbook!). I did post them on our FB page so you may have already seen them. She is beautiful, although looks tired and pale. She has her uniform shirt on for school so I'm guessing they pulled her out of class for the photo oop. I'm thankful that next year, she will be home for Thanksgiving!

Surely it can not be Thanksgiving tomorrow! I wish I had something "important" to post but I don't. I don't have anything deep, or outstanding either. No great insights. Nothing. Except...

I pray you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving. We are all waiting for something, well, most of us. And everyday that we are waiting, God is working. We may not see it right away, but He is at work. And each morning you wake up, you are one day closer to that miracle. 

It's true.

And not one ounce of worry will make it happen any sooner. So rest. Enjoy the moment and look at how blessed you are. Your life is an amazing gift from God. 

Your life is a gift.

Be thankful.

Friday, November 14, 2014

OOT - Out of Translation

We are officially OOT and now in progress. Now that our dossier is translated CCCWA (China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption) will review it and match us with Elizabeth. Next big stop is LOA. (so many Acronyms! Click HERE to find out what they mean.)
This Photo was probably taken sometime 2013

I'm so excited, and nervous, that we are at this point. And I think we could most likely have our LOA before Christmas. 

I am still looking at an early spring departure. And I want to take my daughter Arielle, who is now 17. Arielle was adopted in 2011 from China. We won't visit where she's from this time. It's up north and the plan is to fly into Guangzhou, And 12 or so days later, fly out. NO IN CHINA FLIGHTS. In fact, I want to fly out of LAX directly to Guangzhou. 

But she wants to go. And I want her to go. She still speaks fluent Mandarin and that may be a comfort to her new sister. It will make communication easier. As long as Liz speaks Mandarin. :) 

So I plan to contact the school. It's hard to pin down a date, but I'm sure it will be early spring.
Another 2013 photo!

Visit Elizabeth's Adoption site and sign the 
Guest Book!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Harvest!

So much fun! Happy to think there will be one more next year!

Very Blessed