Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Diner Delights & Dive-in Movie

We have been incredibly blessed by many in our church family through our adoption process. The heartfelt support, prayers, inquiries, donations... God has truly moved people's hearts to be PART of our journey and not just spectators. We are so humbled.

The latest endeavor came from Karen and Rob Anderson who asked if they could host and prepare a gourmet dinner with a fun twist for a fundraiser. The evening included 5 couples (in addition to us) eating a 5 course meal and then watching "Blind Side" outside while swimming. They got the college age bible class involved to help with decorating, serving and babysitting. Did I mention babysitting?! What could get better than that?!

A huge thank you to everyone who came to enjoy the evening - The Craftons, Gibbins, Richardsons, Kneibs and Schraeders. Also a HUGE thank you to those who helped put this together - Rob and Karen (chef) Anderson, Mark Dye (sous chef), Marissa Anderson, Taylor Tucker, John Banton, Meghin Morris, Tyler Allen, Kiersten Ramey, Ranae Jenkins, Karen Gordon-Cummings, John and there's one more babysitter I can't think of! If I missed anyone I'm sorry! Here are a few pics of the fun:

The Craftons, Kneibs, Gibbins, Richardsons and Schraeders - thank you for sharing this evening and supporting us in so many ways - not just financially but with your friendship, prayers and genuine hearts for our journey!
Shelly and Craig Schraeder
Tara and Dan Richardson
Troy and Lauren Gibbins (we watched the movie on the screen behind Troy)

Stacia and Stefan Crafton - thank you to Stacia for most of the food pics and the group pic! Stacia and Stefan are also adopting from Ethiopia and we are ELATED to be attending the same congregation as another family who is going through what we are going through. They are in the paperwork phase. Praying there will be more joining us - not just from Ethiopia but adoption from anywhere they are led!

Allison and Greg Kneib

The tables were beautifully decorated!

Each table was set for two couples so after each course we switched tables so we could visit with everyone there. Isn't that fun?!

1st course - play off of diner favorite of grilled cheese with soup - garlic buttered bread grilled with fontina cheese and prosciutto served with tomato basil soup
2nd course - a play off the diner favorite of burger and fries - amazing slider topped with crab meat, cheese, avocado on a sweet roll served with roasted rosemary sweet potatoes
3rd course - Sorbet with a wine reduction sauce - a palate cleanser =)
4th course - a play off of the diner favorite Tuna Melt and coleslaw - amazing marinaded tuna on a fish shaped pastry with jicama coleslaw (cabbage, red pepper and cabbage) - This was my favorite!
5th course - Troy Gibbins made this AMAZING chocolate mousse for dessert
Neil and I on cloud nine - humbled by everything that had gone into making the night special for our family!

Taylor and Tyler - some of our wonderful servers!
My prince =) Karen - the chef - in the background - didn't get a picture of her =(

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! Such a fun evening and the girls were ready to party when we picked them up at 10:45 p.m. They had a great time with all the other 7 kiddos!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Family Time

Had a special gathering for my dad Father's Day weekend - what a joy it is to have us all together! We missed Billy but everyone else was able to make it. This isn't the best picture but it was the only group shot we got!
The best three dads!!
Isn't this the cutest?

Aunt Jenny with the three little ones!

Just can't get enough of this family time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

8 year Anniversary

8 years of marriage... only 12 more before we get on the big screen at church!! Woo hoo!! Every month at church we celebrate the couples who have been married 20+ years and I just love seeing the old wedding pictures of couples. It's so fun to see how young people look, what the style was and how much has changed. What an awesome way to celebrate marriages when sadly 8 years is a long time these days. As many of those couples would say (including us at 8 years), it's not always easy but life just wouldn't be the same without your "helper", friend and lover. How I want to be thankful for EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. that Neil and I have together.

Here we are on that wonderful day!!

And here we are 8 years later on our way to dinner!!
The girls stayed a couple hours with my parents so we could go out to dinner (Zio's) and get some coffee. Amazing what a big deal that can be. I do remember our first two and a half years together when going out was no big deal. We could go and do whatever we want, whenever we want!! Looking back, it wasn't like we were dating at all but NOW... now we have to plan, look forward to and anticipate our dates which makes dating more exciting than ever! We might even put some perfume and cologne on =)

Some time this summer we will use our amazing groupon we got to a cute little place out in Castroville for a night away!! Can't WAIT for us to be able to celebrate again!! (btw, we are unofficially #28 on the waitlist!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

To the most wonderful father and husband! Our girls are so blessed to be given such an amazing example of God's love and how they should be loved and cherished!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Remember when...

If you know us, you know that Neil and I are very nostalgic people. Thank God He brought us together or we'd be driving someone else crazy with "remember when..." and our shoe boxes full of notes from people =) We like to remember when things happened to us, what we were doing, what we were wearing, where we went, what we ate... you get the picture. Well, we're at it again! Tonight we talked about the significance of this time of year. As June rolls around, we remember a lot that has happened to us as a couple so come with me down memory lane if you'd like to learn a little more about us!

Today, 6 years ago on June 16th 2005, we closed on our house and moved in! We just can't believe we've been in our home for 6 years and what an amazing place of memories for us. The most significant being bringing Claire and Eden home and having their first memories here - first steps, sleepless nights, playing in the back, learning the three stairs and so on. The best thing about having a home is watching our family grow as we now anticipate bringing our son here for his first memories too. I know we won't be in this home forever but I dread the day we decide to move. There's just something about your first house that you we will always cherish.

In June 2004, 7 years ago, Neil was diagnosed with skin cancer, melanoma. He was only 27. Talk about scary as we were celebrating our first year of marriage. It was on his face and the dr.'s were so surprised by the results that they retested the sample a couple of times before calling us to come in (3 weeks later so we were pretty much shocked and a little irritated). That was a day we will never forget along with the day we actually had to go into the office so they could personally tell us "you have skin cancer". We had just gotten the news, went to Ruthie's for breakfast and Neil got the call for an interview for a full time teaching position. We didn't know how to feel - one minute you're so low and the next you're up. Neil had mohs surgery and had to go back three times (all in one day) before the margins were clear. PRAISE HIM for allowing us to find it early enough that it hadn't grown deep and that his Mom noticed that the mole on his face had grown. We know there are others who weren't as blessed so we certainly thank Him for protecting Neil. Looking back we are amazed at how calm we were and how we just felt the peace of God's mighty hand working. (Once the surgery was completed, we were off to China to teach for three weeks. That's a whole other post in itself!)

March 2004 before surgery

After surgery

PLEASE watch this video that's been floating around facebook. SO powerful and reminds us we need to be careful with the sun and take care of our skin. Melanoma is growing in numbers you wouldn't believe. Pass it along to anyone you think needs to hear it!
And finally, June 21st we will be celebrating 8 years of marriage. The best 8 years of my life. Not that it's all been roses but I wouldn't want to go through the peaks and valleys with anyone else by my side. My best friend. I'll be writing more when that special day comes =)

On our honeymoon cruise

July is full of birthday celebrations for both Neil and I and we love any reason to celebrate. I know some people who don't do anything for anniversaries and birthdays but not us!! Even if it's just an ice cream date or sitting at the coffee shop, we take these times to truly celebrate what we have EVERYDAY!

July 2006 with 4 month old Claire
OK enough reminiscing but wanted the write about things before blog world happened!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Official June Number

Yup - you read that right - 30. Not the number we were expecting when we were having a party over here about two weeks ago when we unofficially entered the 20's. Anything can happen! Some of you are asking what? how? Well, there were some families on the girl and sibling lists who opened their parameters to the boys list. When that happens families are placed on the waitlist according to paperwork date so if they had their dossier in before us, their placement affects our waitlist number. Although hearing we are higher than we thought, we praise God He is opening others hearts to more children!

The latest we've heard from our agency is that although the MOWA is said to be only preparing 5 letters a day, they aren't seeing the affects of it yet. The families who have gone to court since the March 8th change in policy with MOWA have continued to pass court at the same rate (this is where the delay would happen). AGCI has been amazing with communicating with us and encouraging us to wait to see how this policy is changing the timelines before we estimate or even jump to conclusions. They have really helped put our minds and hearts at ease with the continued talk of things slowing down.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Hair-Do

Claire's been asking for a few weeks now for a short hair cut "like Leyna" so we took the plunge! It looks super cute but in our eyes, aged her greatly... she just looks like such a big girl now. The first thing she said to me after she got it cut was "Mom, my other hair was so hot" so I think this will be great for our 100 degree weather.

This whole event brought on good conversations about how God has made us special the way we are and we don't need to try and be like others. Such a hard thing to teach because it's a fine line - it's ok to like someone else's hair but I just don't want her to be so easily influenced and for it to lead to wanting what others have. To be happy with YOU and be content. And on the other hand it also gave me an opportunity to teach her that it's just hair, it grows back and what's most important is our heart... not our cute haircut! Amazing how something so simple can turn into so many different life and heart lessons.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Catching up

What we've been up to the past three weeks...

Hanging with Bruce Bowen (former Spurs) at the Arms of Hope dinner! Well, maybe not hanging out but got to hear him speak as well as some incredible kids and women who have been blessed by Arms of Hope. Thanks to Josh for the free tickets! Excited to use our family fun day package we won at the silent auction =)
Hanging out with the fam! Mike, Heather, Pierce and Jenny came into town in mid-May so we got together for dinner. Love these moments...

Claire captured this one
Claire's t-ball season ended and she finally got her trophy - the whole reason I think she wanted to play in the first place! I think going to Chuckie Cheese for the team party would've convinced her to play too =) She did well and enjoyed being part of a team. I think it was a great experience for her before she goes to school! Here she is with Coach Joel:
Claire and Victoria - these trophy's set a pretty high standard
The whole team
One of the daily to-do's around here has been to stay cool! Memorial Day we went to a graduation party and got to swim. We've also taken some time in the sprinklers while hand watering the grass. It's only going to get hotter =( The only down side to living in San Antonio (well, the Texas education budget cuts too). Here is Claire sporting her new hair wrap that I put in for the swim party. She loved it even though she had to stay still for almost 40 minutes!
Daddy and his girls getting lathered in sun screen!!

Looking forward to a fun filled summer!! I'm only teaching 2 kids this summer and keeping it really low key. Can't wait to live it up with my girls especially with Neil having Fridays off =)