Sunday, June 29, 2008

Roasting Marshmallows and "Camping" In

The night before Jonah's birthday last year, we built a small fire in the backyard, roasted marshmallows, and then Rush and Jonah camped out in a tent in the backyard. Jonah's photographic memory recalled this information and of course, he wanted to do it again this year, and supposedly every year he "turns a new number." Unfortunately, because Rush went out of town the day after J-man's birthday, we weren't able to do all of this until last night. So, Rush built the fire (I have no idea if this is legal in our county, by the way, and neither did my police officer husband. I figured if he didn't know, then my ignorance would certainly be forgiven!) and the marshmallow roasting began. Jonah's favorite part was watching any marshmallows that happened to fall into the fire get all big and bubbly. We enjoyed watching the lightning bugs and getting sugared-up before the camping part of the evening began. It was so stinking hot, that Rush decided camping in would be a better idea for all parties involved. So the tent was pitched, not in the backyard, but in the living room. Jonah didn't care...he had just as much fun shining his flashlight in the dark living room as he would have outside. And, more than anything else, he had some boys-only time with Rush. He was in heaven. Rush didn't get much sleep....Jonah, on the other hand, was out like a light. The tent made for some good playtime after church too. But, now it's time for it to come down. And so another memory goes in the books....
Starting the fire

Let the roasting begin!

Yum!

Fun after church (in the living room!)!

On a different subject....Rush FedEx'ed all of our stuff to immigration yesterday!! Now, we wait for approval. This is the last BIG step before the rest of our dossier can be compiled and sent to China! It could take 1-3 months though for approval so please pray for our patience!

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's here!

Just got our home study!!!! Three beautiful notarized copies in a FedEx envelope! It says that we are suitable adoptive parents...boy did we put on a good act! :) Now to get it ready to ship off to immigration tomorrow hopefully. They need the home study, immigration application (I800A form), our birth certificates, marriage license and a lot of money! Yea! I can't express the relief I am feeling right now. I'm sure it will be even more so when our dossier is complete and registered in China, but for now, I'm going to enjoy this moment. I think I'll go do a little dance! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Done!!! (well....almost)

Jonah's big birthday present from us was a re-do of his room. He had still been in a toddler bed so we really needed to move him on up to a real big-boy bed. And, his room was in desperate need of painting. We decided to go with a baseball theme....something that could last for quite a few years to come. So...the painting began along with lots of other stuff. Rush reminded me of a headboard I had from college that was in the attic...I painted it red and it worked out great! I just got my last photo print in the mail yesterday (some shots I took at Glen Allen Little League) so I ran out and bought a frame this morning. The only thing left to do is paint his new closet doors and frame....just gotta wait for Rush to take them off the hinges. My original plan was to paint a few red/blue horizontal stripes about 3/4 of the way up the wall, but I ran out of steam. We'll see, maybe I'll get motivated again and do it. For now though....this is it!

Above/Outside his door

I made these from stuff I found at Michaels....pinstripes to go along with the baseball theme.

I LOVE this quilt....it has all the different players labeled and is
really good quality. Not too baby-ish either.


In other news.....I hard from our home study agency that our home study is complete and they should be Fed-Exing it to us today!!! HOORAY!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hanging out with my girl.....and a little bike riding

Rush has been in Dallas this week at a physical training for law enforcement class (http://www.cooperinst.org the guy that founded this place invented, that's right, invented aerobics and is President Bush's personal physician....He was personally teaching one of their classes today) so I have been by myself with the kiddos. It's really gone well so far. It has helped that Jonah has been in YMCA camp every morning because that has given me some nice time with Reagan. I wanted to try to make a concerted effort to spend some good time with her since I rarely have time with just the two of us....and we all know what happened last week when I did (see the previous tantrum post!). Anyway, it wasn't much, but this morning after we dropped Jonah off, we watched part of a Signing Time video together and then once the playset was in the shade,we went into the backyard. She loves to swing so we did that for a while and then went and got on the hammock....definitely the highlight of my day so far (yes I know it's only 10am). Anyway, it was so awesome to just hang out with her, looking at the trees and sky above us and just laughing. She makes some funny faces and noises and loves to imitate so that was mostly what we did....hard to quantify really, but it rocked. She still takes a morning nap, so our time together didn't last long, but it was enough to fill my cup! It's easy to try to fly through the day (weeks, months...) and focus on the never-ending to-do list, but I'm going to start trying to remember that those things can always wait....and they'll always be around. My kids on the other hand, are already getting too big, and these times will be over before long.

Ok....now that I've depressed everyone, I'll share some pics of Jonah trying out his new bike! He got it for his birthday this weekend and this was his first time on it. We went to Rush's parents for dinner so I took the bike with us. Grandpa mostly tried to teach him how to steer (an important thing!)....the pedaling didn't go so well, but we'll keep practicing. If you're wondering what the heck is on his helmet...yes, it is fur. The helmet has animals on it and the lions have real furry manes. Weird in my opinion...but he likes it!



And now for a little video....

video

Monday, June 23, 2008

The rules keep changing!

So, I heard today from our adoption agency and home study agency that lots more paperwork is needed for our files all of a sudden. Great. Just when I thought it had really subsided! Apparently Immigration has decided to get picky over needing proof of all of your assets and liabilities that you claim. Why? I have no idea. I can understand the Chinese government asking for proof of these things, because they want to make sure they are sending a child into an environment that can appropriately care for them from a financial standpoint. But why on earth does US Immigration want to know about this stuff? It's frustrating. One minute you think you know the plan and the rules to play by, but as I am quickly learning in this adoption game, the rules never stay constant for long. So tonight, as I attempt to backtrack through piles of account statements, mortgages, insurance, loans, credit cards, car values, IRA's and retirement plans, I am trying to remember this: regardless of what happens to speed up or slow down this process, regardless of the number of times the rules change, regardless of how frustrated I get by the paperwork and red tape, there is already a little girl picked out for our family. And even though she hasn't even been born yet, the timing of every step of this process is perfect for her to come into our family. If the timing changes, we might miss her....so this too, is for a purpose. I am trying to remember that!

".....pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need." Colossians 1:11

The WONDERFUL good news: none of this stuff has to be notarized!!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Jonah!!

It's hard to believe that 4 years ago, we had a brand new little baby boy and we were just starting down the parenting road without a clue what was ahead. Jonah has made the past 4 years awesome beyond our wildest dreams...he is perfect in every way for us and our family and we love him so much!!

This year, he got to have his birthday party on his actual birthday (June 21) and it was the first party he's had with other kids. We all had a blast. We set up a bunch of pools, sprinklers, and a slip and slide in the backyard and Rush's coworker brought over a moonbounce! We finished things off with a water balloon fight. The weather was great and the kids seemed to have a great time....what more could we ask for?


He got a Kyle Busch truck

A little breakfast fun...

Most of the set-up

Moonbouncing with Bryson


The 2 J's: Jonah and Joshua on a lunch break

Jonah said he wanted to sit on the bench "with my buddies!"

Lightning McQueen bike!

Blowing out the candles

Jonah and cousin Bella

Yum!

Waterballoon fight!

She's got a balloon and isn't afraid to use it!

Sometimes an irrigation system comes in really handy!

Grandpa gets in on the action

Plotting his next move....

Reagan showing off those baby blues....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm not ready for this.....

Well, here we are at only 14 months, and Reagan had her first true, no holds barred tantrum this morning. This is pretty new territory for me because Jonah, while at times difficult just like any kid, never really had tantrums. Let me set the scene for you....

Rush's sister Sharon took Jonah out for a while today to have some fun so Rush and I could do some work in the backyard before he went to work. After Reagan's nap this morning, I fed her lunch and then we started to play for a while which was great because we rarely have uninterrupted playtime, just the 2 of us. Anyway, all was good and she was cracking me up until a green football came into the picture. She was playing with it, gave it to me and then started fussing. "You gave it to me," I'm thinking, "so why are you fussing?" Anyway, like we did with Jonah, we've been teaching her some signs to use before she really starts speaking well. So, I told her to "say" please if she wanted it back...not to make her angry, just to make her say it since she knows how. Well....this totally set her off. I mean, the trauma associated with having to say please is mind-blowing. She was bound and determined she wasn't going to say please. She started throwing herself on the floor, kicking, screaming, etc. Imagine the typical picture of a tantrum and this was it. Wow. I didn't expect that. She's pitched her share of fits before and has always been much feistier than Jonah, but now I think we're really in for it.

Little did she know that I can be pretty darn stubborn, myself. I didn't give in. I still have the football....and I'm still waiting on a "please." She, on the other hand, is in her bed. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vacation Part 2: The Mountains!

After we left the beach, we stopped back home for a bit to exchange some packing items and then headed to Gordonsville, a little town outside of Charlottesville to the Shenandoah Crossing Resort. It seems like it used to be a farm but it has been converted to a resort with a bunch of cabins and "chalets." We stayed in a 2 bedroom cabin in the woods which was actually really nice for a "rustic" cabin. Day # 1 mostly consisted of us unpacking and heading into "town" to get groceries. The town literally consisted of a Food Lion and Family Dollar along with a Chinese Restaurant simply called "China." Interesting.... Well, Rush quickly declared the highlight of this day was what he dubbed "The most exciting 2 minutes in vacation history." Included in this 2 minute time period was the following: seeing people wearing shirts for South of the Border, Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy, and No Shirt No Shoes No Problem all in the same parking lot, followed by entering Family Dollar and witnessing a child running around stark naked with nothing but a diaper (no shoes either), and finally a hit and run in the parking lot which included the woman hitting another car initially and then again while backing up. It rocked.... The highlight for me was Jonah saying he wanted to see some "stinkin' horses." Where do they come up with this stuff??

Our second day didn't consist of much since it was so hot outside....we went out to the playground in the morning and roasted so for the most part, we hung out in the cabin for the day. Very relaxing.... Then we headed into Charlottesville for a bit and got some ice cream. No big highlights worth mentioning for this day but there were 2 for the day before so that's ok.

Day 3 was a little cooler so we went to the stables and let Jonah ride a pony named Brownie. He loved it. Then Rush took him on a paddleboat ride on the lake while I took Reagan back to the cabin for a nap. Poor baby wasn't feeling so hot because of teething so we took it easy. I even was able to read a whole book while we were gone for the week! That evening we went back to the playground....Jonah unfortunately has his entire world revolve around the movie "Cars" so he always wants to play "Lightning McQueen" and make other kids "Chick Hicks (aka the bad guy from the movie)." He mostly harassed a little girl on the playground by calling her Chick the whole time. I don't think her mom was thrilled.....what are you going to do? :) Rush and I had a tetherball match which was pretty pitiful and that was about it....

Today was our last day....we went on a wagon ride and the driver let Jonah sit up front and steer the horses. He thought he was hot stuff for this....very cute. Then we packed up after lunch and drove home. We came back a bit earlier than we planned but we were all done and ready to come home....plus Rush and I have to work the next 2 days so there's lots to do before that.

Anyway, it wasn't a vacation full of thrills and excitement, but with as much as we've had going on recently and as little family time as we have had, it was just what the doctor ordered. Anyway, we're glad to be home.....

Our cabin

Reagan loves to swing

Jen actually makes it in a picture!! (usually I'm the photographer)

Mr Excavator

You gotta be kidding me....

Taking Brownie out for a spin

Hollywood


Jonah steering the horses and wagon!


Bye-bye cabin! Home, here we come!

Vacation Part 1: The Beach!

We started our vacation with a trip to Va Beach with our friends Lisa and Adam. Their 2 boys are close in age to Jonah and Reagan so it worked out perfectly! We stayed at Lisa's parents' beach house and had a great relaxing time. Of course, it was like the hottest weekend of the year but although we were completely melting, it was a blast. Jonah and Nathan had a great time digging and playing in the waves while Reagan enjoyed relaxing in the shade in a little baby pool. The highlight of day #1 occurred when Jonah decided out of the blue to strip down naked on the beach! We still have no idea why that occurred but it sure was funny! Adam and Rush did a little fishing from the shore and caught a few fish, a ray and a little shark! Of course, the boys loved seeing those! Day #2 involved more of the same followed by Lisa insisting that Rush and I go out to dinner alone while she watched the kids.....she rocks!! We went down to the boardwalk and had a great dinner kid-free! That was our day #2 highlight for sure! Overall, we had a wonderful time with friends....and I think we definitely won the award for "palest family on the beach." Oh well.....here are some pics!

Jonah doing some "fishing"

Just taking it all in....

Jonah and Nathan digging a sand pit

More sand pit...

N&J still smiling after a long day!

Waves!

Still happy as a clam!

Making hand prints