Monday, June 28, 2010

Let's go fly a kite!

Another catch up post! Back in early May my parents called up wanting to take Claire out to fly a really cool kite they picked up. What better to fly a kite with your grandparents?! It wasn't the most successful of runs but Claire had fun =) There was a sweet little girl who desperately wanted to play with us so she ran right beside Claire. Claire later found a ladybug and was so sweet sharing her find with her new friend!
Isn't this a neat kite?


Grandpa trying to catch some wind!
Claire tried holding it too =)
Love that face! Such wonder and little ladybug feet are so ticklish!
Sharing with her friend
We are so blessed to have our parents around the corner to build such memories! I didn't have that growing up so I cherish each and every moment.

Finger painting

Gotta love some messy fun! This was Eden's first experience with finger paint and she wasn't very sure at first but once she saw Claire dive in, she caught on fast! I love to watch them create their masterpieces =) (playing catch up! This was back on May 13th!)




Sunday, June 27, 2010

Piano

About a month ago we were blessed with this piano!! A friend of my mom's was going to give it to us to sell for our garage sale fundraiser and she asked if we could keep it. She told them it'd be such a wonderful thing to have a working piano in our house so that I could possibly teach some lessons from home. I was just overwhelmed! It needs some work and a definite tuning but nothing was stopping these girls! They love it as much as I do and I love to hear them "play" on it. I did try to solicit for some in-home lessons up at the middle school I will be additionally teaching next year but no takers thus far. A blessing though because I just feel swamped this summer and the day I planned to have my lessons is now the day I have to go to my physical therapy appointments. Just glad to be able to play at home now!
Sisters


Our living room was getting really crowded with both pianos (our HUGE non-working one was still in there). We tried selling our other one on craigslist but we got so desperate to get it out that we gave it away for free! They came and moved it all away and what a relief! We have so much more room to play now!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A date kind of day

I am WAY behind on this post but don't want to forget to write about this day =) Back in late May Claire had her end of the year program at her MDO. She was more than excited to get all dressed up - picking out her dress and pearls herself. Unfortunately, Eden was super sick that day so we asked Claire who she wanted to go with her. She said "Daddy because he has to go to work and doesn't get to see his girls as much!" Too sweet-a date with daddy! So off they went to the program and later shared a Sonic picnic lunch. What a treat!

Her she is! Don't worry - I've cut her bangs since!! These pictures are so sweet but I can't believe I let her hair grow into her eyes that far!


She's so funny! She practices all around the house but doesn't really sing when she's there. Honestly, the programs are nothing to brag about but they do the best they can with what they have - makes me kind of sad as a music educator. Can't wait for Claire to be with her new MDO next year!
Claire was so excited about her Sonic stuffed tots!
Love this Girl!
That evening it was date night with mommy! Claire LOVES to go to any choir concert or recital with me so off we went to the Stevenson concert (where I went to middle school). I'm trying to get on teaching there once a week next year since it's so close by so we went to go check out the program. Wasn't the best concert to attend to check out vocal technique as they were doing all pop numbers but we still had fun!

Claire had to bring her baby who matched her dress for the evening. Everyone thought she was beyond precious carrying around her baby in her carseat! She got this 2 1/2 years ago and still plays with it =) Notice her matching necklace, bracelets and headband - all her choice!
Me and my girl!
We love doing special dates with our girls so that they get one on one time with us. Tomorrow Claire and I are off to see Toy Story with some friends!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our first home study!

Talk about a lot of unnecessary stress!! We spent so much time getting everything ready for our home study on Monday. I was nervous but the instant Mary walked through the door, God put me at ease. There was just something about her that made us click and I felt like I was getting to know an old friend. Claire was her talkative self and took Mary right away to her room to show her everything. Mary was able to spend some good time with her before she and I sat down together for the more formal interview. Over our yummy pizza and salad I had to talk about my family, my childhood, my schooling, my career, etc. Nothing too hard! Neil was watching the girl's but we all spent time together as well which was great for her to see how we interact.


Mary will be back on July 9th to interview Neil by himself and us together. After she prepares everything she will give it to us to review. The completion of our home study will be HUGE because you can't apply for any grant or loan without it. She will also be doing our post-placement visits when our boy is home after 3,6 and 12 month so she will get to know us well!


Thank you for all your kind words and prayers =) God's peace was overwhelming yesterday and even through the weekend as we prepared. Even though I got a bit stressed it was nowhere near what I would've been without HIM and your prayers. We're so blessed by you all!


On another note, Neil and I celebrated our anniversary after Mary left by sharing some wine and watching "Blind Side" in our newly cleaned and organized room. We felt like we were staying in a hotel! How sad is that?! Now to keep it that way!

7 years

I can't believe how fast time goes by! 7 years ago today I married my best friend and I can't even believe how much more in love we are today!


Our marriage has truly surpassed all my dreams with God being our center - it isn't always easy but we've learned how the other "works" which has been invaluable. We know each other's love language and strive to build each other up daily. We know when to say "I'm sorry" and how to get to the real issue. We know how to take each moment in and strive to make every day together last; we don't ever want to take our time together for granted. Growing together these past years has been amazing and I can't wait for the rest of our years together.

I've been listening to this song by Revive the past couple of weeks and LOVE it! Here is the video - it encourages us to live in the moments and how fast life can fly by. Love the "Slow down" bridge!

"I don't want to miss even just a second more of this - it happens in a blink, it happens in a flash" - I love you Neil!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I must say I am amazed by Neil everyday. He is the most loving and selfless father around. He would do ANYTHING for his girls and we are so blessed to have him leading our family. Thank you Neil for everything you do for us! We love you!

This picture was taken after some sprinkler fun on Saturday and after forgetting to get a picture actually on Father's Day - this is our official picture. And it's great! Neil's feathery hair, Eden trying to get away, Claire's cheesy grin. Priceless!

Sunday we spent lunch with Neil's family and I forgot to put my memory chip in my camera -UH! I was so disappointed! After a good nap, we met my parents and Billy at the pool - one of my dad's favorite things to do with the girls. We enjoyed the water and Subway. So relaxing and fun before Neil and I had to get to the grind getting ready for our home visit (we were up till 1:30 a.m.!)

Claire is in LOVE with the pool this year! We've spent a lot of time there already =) Eden showing Grandpa she can blow bubbles!

Grandma feeding Eden avocado - one of her favorite things!
LOVE this picture - look at Eden's squishy smiley face! It's it cute? So enamored by her daddy!
My dad with 2 of his 4 kiddos (plus a very cute grandbaby - the other one wouldn't get out of the pool!_
Daddy - Happy Father's Day to you! I love you so much and am so blessed to have you as my dad. Thank you for your giving spirit!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Easy Father's Day Craft

Just had to share this fingerprint art in case any of you are in a bind for Father's Day! We made it in about 10 minutes and the girl's loved getting their fingers all colored. I used their pinkie twice for the caterpillars because they looked short. Just used a sharp black pen/marker for the detail. I might paint some grass too!





You might want to make sure you use washable ink =) The blue was from my scrapbooking and NOT washable so off we went to the pool for a good soaking after Claire put her entire hand on the ink pad! The girls loved it and we went back today. We will be having a lot of time at the pool this summer without Sea World passes!

If you missed my preious post, we are getting ready for our first home study on Monday! Please pray as we make our preparations!

Home Visit

Just got a call today from our social worker and we are having our first home visit MONDAY!! YIKES! I have a lot to do before then! I'm hoping to just get it done fast so that I don't have to think and mull over getting ready for it. They aren't looking for a spotless house but I do have lots of things to work on. If we couldn't do it Monday we were going to have to wait till July and the sooner the better =) Monday is our 7th year wedding anniversary too! Big day to remember!

Please pray that this weekend is productive and that I don't have unnecessary anxiety!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lucy and Tweety

I'd like you all to meet the newest critters of our home - Lucy and Tweety! Aren't they beautiful?!
Uncle Mike and Aunt Heather were in town last night so we all got together at mom and dad's for a Father's Day dinner. These little guys were found on the parsley in the garden. Mike was so excited to show the girls!
Eden had to be very gentle and loved them =) She did quickly lose interest and moved to climbing and moving chairs!
You can guess who has become obsessed?! Miss Claire is of course the one who named the caterpillars and was so thankful that Mike let her take them home. She is fascinated by how fast they eat and how often they poop - I'd say I am too! These things poop a lot and it's much bigger than I'd expect.
After spending the night in Claire's room, they were stared at for hours this morning and moved around the whole house. We searched online and found out that they will turn into Black Swallowtail butterflies and we can't wait. Couldn't find how long they will be caterpillars or how long they will be in their cocoon but don't worry - I'll be documenting it for us and for Mike who wasn't too sure about giving these guys up. (Just got a text that Heather found Mike two of his own in their garden!)


Lucy and Tweety even made an appearance at HEB today. They were on their way to playgroup when I had to stop to pick up some things for lunch. It's so darn hot here already that they got a prime spot in the cart right by the colored goldfish. They got a lot of attention!

A huge thanks to Mike for letting Claire keep the caterpillars. I'm so excited to watch them and use it as an opportunity to teach Claire and Eden about the whole process. We've read and learned all about it but to watch it actually happen will be quite memorable! And just like the caterpillars, how we become a new creation through Jesus as our Lord. We transform into HIS image everyday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

VBS

The VBS theme this year was "Son Harvest" and spending time each day on a fruit of the spirit. Super cute!! The halls were covered in farm scenes - wish I would've gotten a picture. The shirts were going "Hog Wild" at VBS =) Claire talks about VBS all year long and so glad she enjoyed her week. Eden did well in the nursery and the helpers just loved on her so much. Didn't get but a couple of pictures! Here is Claire and Leyna - could my child look any more excited?


Hague Training

Wow - this week has been IN-SANE!! We were at VBS all morning everyday and everyone is pooped =) Claire and Eden had a great time and my video room was great! I'll share some pictures of Claire sometime soon. On top of VBS, I had two other nights up at the church for worship committee and worship support ministry. Lots of driving but well worth the trips!


Last weekend we were up in Austin again getting our required 10 hours of Hague Training for our home agency. We will also have to do mandatory Hague hours through AGCI but that will be a workbook and online classes. For those who are wondering what Hague Accreditation means click and read. It meant a lot to us to use an agency that was Hague accredited so we were assured that everything was being done ethically and legally correct.


The training was really great! We learned a ton and some of the key points they talked about were the stages of grief for everyone involved in adopting - very eye opening and interesting. No matter what age these kids or babies are they all go through a grienving process that we need to be aware of. They lose everything they know as home, caretakers, friends, surroundings, language, country, etc. I'd love to talk more about this with anyone who is interested! We also spoke about how to integrate our baby's culture into our home and how we will now be a multicultural family, what to expect for medical issues when traveling and upon return, attachment and bonding (we're going to have to do a lot of things differently than we did with the girls!), saw video of some orphanages, child development and SO much more. So glad we got some much info - it was certainly overwhelming trying to remember everything!


One of the other greatest parts was meeting so many different families. We met a couple who are adopting from China and have been in process for 5 years, a single mid-30's woman who was waiting to travel for her court date to Ethiopia for her 26 month old son, another single woman adopting from India, an older couple adopting from Ethiopia, a family adopting their second baby from Korea and a handful of families hosting older kids from Columbia through Kids Save. There was one family there who lives about 10 minutes away from us and I'm so excited to get together with them. They have a 3 and 2 year old and are adopting their third from Thailand. They spent a number of years there as missionaries by running a workout gym. I really clicked with Julie and look forward to connceting with them soon!

A HUGE thank you to Aunt Heather for keeping Eden for us during the day. She had a blast with you! Thank you also for letting us stay with you and the yummy dinner. Our training was only 10 minutes from Mike and Heather's house so we were able to spend time in the evening and Sunday am with Heather. Also, a HUGE thank you to Aunt Shannon and Uncle Steve for letting Claire come stay. She is still talking about her time with her cousins! We couldn't do all this without our families!

OK - off to work more on the garage sale for Saturday. Please pray for a big success and for people to come! We live in a little inlet of our neigborhood so I'm nervous about people not showing up. I've advertised on Craig's list 3 times already and we're putting our signs up tonight to catch people in the area!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Austin IS weird!

HA! We had a fabulous time in Austin visiting with friends and being tourists for a little bit on Saturday. That's where the title comes from... it's amazing how Austin is it's own little culture in itself (much like New Orleans). We saw some crazy things but the winner was when we were at a light on South Congress and I saw a very tan man riding his bike with only a thong on. WOW - wasn't expecting that but I must say he had a very even tan =) Apparently he's well known around town and everyone knows him by name. Tell Lesley "hi" next time you're in A-town.

We got up to Mike and Heather's just in time for dinner. They took us to a well known place called Max's Wine Dive. Super good! No kids! A double date =)

Mike and Heather love their gardens! They have this one and another one next to it.

Jalapenos!

A baby eggplant!

Saturday morning we spent a quiet time reading, Neil played video games, enjoyed our coffee and I mean, it was QUIET! What a wonderful morning! Then we headed to South Congress to take in some tourist action. I ate at the Mighty Cone Trailer - a yummy fried avocado taco!




Neil grabbed a slice of pizza and then we walked around the shops. Such unique places! My favorite was the costume store - I'm thinking we should have a summer costume party =)

Then we were off to Mozart's Coffee shop on the lakefront to meet our friends Julie and Charlie Johanson. We knew them from church before they moved about 5 years ago and just recently got back in touch via facebook! They are adopting too so we had a ton to catch up on. We talked for 2 1/2 hours! Can't wait to see them again and hear about when they get matched up with their little one.

For dinner we met Heather, my childhood friend, at Z-Tejas. Heather and I met in the 4th grade in math class. We lived around the corner from each other and walked our baby dolls (yes, we still liked dolls!) back and forth to our houses. She is an AMAZING NICU nurse!

Kisses after dinner =)

Sunday morning we got up bright and early to get to UUMC for Homes for Haiti. I didn't have my camera while we worked but got a few shots after everything was completed and cleaned up. We worked with a great group and met a really nice, young guy. He had melanoma, three kiddos and was adopted himself so we had A LOT to talk about. Hoping to run into them again while we are visiting my parents. We also met up with a former student of Neil's, Kassandra. She randomly found our blog the day after we worked and left the sweetest message for us =) Thanks Kassandra!

Here are parts of the houses that had been bound and were ready to be shipped off. It was a great experience and they actually ended up building 70 houses rather than only 50! God is good!

Here is a finished one. They also had something like bunk beds inside.
After cleaning up at home we headed downtown for our free night at Hotel Valencia. We love it there! So modern and such a special place from our wedding night =) We ate at Michaelino's - excellent food and a great view from our river side table.
Can you believe the size of this chicken parmesan? Gotta love Neil's face!
A shot of the happy couple!

Cheers to our wonderful 7 years!
We took this very same picture on our fourth anniversary. Valenica is in the back!
Neil talking to the girls before bed time! They were having a great time at Mimi and Poppa's.
One last shot before our camera battery died!
Monday morning we took it easy and walked a little more on the river. We went to the Quarry for a movie and then to Mencius for a late lunch. Oh, our time together was WONDERFUL! Already can't wait for next time! We had the best time but we were anxious to get back to our girls that afternoon. They had so much fun with their grandparents swimming, eating out, playing outside, getting spoiled, etc. Thanks for letting us have our weekend getaway!
It took the whole week to get back into the swing of things and now we're back off to Austin tomorrow for an adoption Hague Training with our home agency! We're also super busy getting ready for our next garage sale, preparing for VBS next week, setting things up for me to start teaching my summer lessons on Monday, finding babysitters, coordinating other activites for fundraising, getting my application and resume in for NISD to teach privately, etc. Always seems to be something on our plates but we love it!
Thanks to Sara, Tara and Cindi for leaving a comment on my last post. A girl can dream can't she?! Well, I left a long list of our thrifty vacay advice on my last post if you're interested in reading.
Hope yall had a great week! I have so much more to post! Hope to get caught up when we get back into town.