Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Little Graduate (Sunday Snapshot)

Miss Reagan finished preschool this week....which is crazy, because I swear she just started.

It's amazing how quickly this year has gone by. And it's even more amazing to think that her first day of preschool last year, was the day before we left to go get Rylie from China. It just reminds me that really, Rylie hasn't been home all that long.

But I digress....

Here's Reagan on her first day, back in September......

....and her last day, earlier this week.

And then ready for her graduation ceremony.....

She had a great time, a great class, and a great teacher (who also taught Jonah).

She and her 3 BFF's have been together for the past 2 years. One of them she's known since infancy. Unfortunately, only one of them will join her at the same school next year. I know she will miss them so much. In fact, when they played a little video of the year's events at their graduation ceremony, she cried. I did too, thanks to Taylor Swift's song that accompanied the video. should be illegal to play those types of songs at sentimental events with moms present.

Anyway, Kindergarten is right around the corner for my girl. It looks like, despite my best efforts and earnest pleas, she's just continuing to grow up. And I don't like it one bit.

Ni Hao Yall

These pics were taken with a mix of settings...and different lenses. The first ones were with my 50mm, ISO 100, and a mix of shutter/aperture settings. The last 3 were just with my 18-55mm....admittedly on auto just out of ease due to the craziness of the graduation.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Statistically speaking...

A post from Rush...

Admittedly math and I have never mixed real well.  Growing up if it didn't involve a hitter's batting average or a quarterback's completion percentage I didn't give it much thought.  I trudged through math classes each year praying that the solar panel in my TI-81 calculator didn't somehow malfunction and leave me stranded in a crowded classroom to do long division in my head.   And can you really trust numbers?  They can be manipulated and twisted just like words.  All you have to do is look at any political poll during this election cycle to see why I don't like statistics outside of the world of sports.  When I completed my Linear Algebra (Algebra in a line? What's does that even mean?) final exam in college it seemed like the sun was a little brighter, the sky a little bluer and the world a little sweeter.  I was officially done with math forever.  Well at least I thought I was until my son started bringing home second grade math homework and the nightmare began all over again.

Earlier this week we ran into some of that nasty mathematics stuff again.  We spent the morning at what is commonly referred to as the Cleft Clinic at MCV.  Basically it's a round-robin style doctor's visit where they shuffle you from one doctor the to next while poking and prodding at your child's palate, checking on their speech and social development, examining their teeth and a host of other items on a checklist.  It's a rather exhausting process but better than the alternative of having to bounce around multiple doctor and dentist offices across Richmond.  We are beyond blessed to have the talented and caring team from MCV to care for our kids.  We visit the clinic every 6 months or so and this was our first trip with both Rylie and Jude.  Doubling the cleft palates in the house certainly creates more questions, more tests, more surgeries, but overall it was a pretty non-eventful day at the clinic.

All but for the math.

Rylie's speech isn't coming along nearly as quickly as we had hoped.  She is incredibly hard working during speech therapy and she wants to talk like it's her job.  It's rare to find a 3 year old work with as much determination and with the kind of spunk that Rylie has.  However, despite her efforts in weekly therapy and the reconstruction of her palate, things just don't seem to be progressing.  It's frustrating for her and for everyone who loves her.

While meeting with the surgeon she informed us that it appeared that Rylie's palate isn't working.  And then she threw some math right in our face.  Stuff we already knew, but didn't want to hear.  About 50% of palate reconstructions don't work.  Of the 50% that don't work about 50% of those kids can "figure out" how to speak pretty clearly in spite of their disability.  More surgeries could help, but they may not.  More speech therapy could help, but it may not.  50% of 50% figure it out? What about the other 50% of that 50%?  What about them? And why must there be math? 

It's still early in the game.  Rylie has a long way to go and there are plenty of options and strategies that we will be pursuing to help her find her voice in the coming years.  The reality is that God did not bring Rylie to us so we could repair her palate or "fix" her speech.  He matched us together so we could love her.  So we could marvel at His creation and His love for us.  So our eyes would be opened to His truth that family is not defined by blood alone.

I still really hate math.  I still don't like percentages.  But no matter what my little girl's words sound like today or in ten years, the only numbers that really matter are that I am 100% her dad.  She is 100% my girl.  And together as a family we will love her 100% of her days. 

And those are statistics that don't lie.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reagan's Cowgirl Party

Before I talk about Reagan's party, you'll probably notice the blog looks a little (or a lot) different. Thought it was time for a change....I might still tweak it some.


...Reagan's birthday was 2 days after we got home from China. Not an ideal time to have a party. Being that she was turning the big FIVE....and that she's never had a party with her friends, I promised she could have one, but it had to wait a bit until we got settled with Jude. We finally found a day she didn't have a soccer game to schedule it. And then, she chose the theme....cowgirls!

I had so much fun planning this party for her! Thank goodness for Pinterest and Etsy! There are so many great ideas to be found there!

This was the general set up....I didn't get a chance to take a picture when the table was all arranged before the girls got there.

Also, her grandfather and his connections hooked us up with a horse! It was awesome!!!

The bad part.....her party was on a Saturday. I worked overnight Friday night. Came home and slept for 2 hours. Went to Jonah's baseball game. Frantically tried to decorate and get everything ready. And run the party. And take pictures. Did I mention that Rush did something to his neck/back so that he could barely move? Regardless, the party was so much fun. I didn't get to take half the pictures I wanted or put up all of my decorations, but the girls had fun, and most importantly, Reagan loved it. It was totally worth all the work and craziness of that day for her!

Making cowgirl necklaces
Of course, everyone was in costume! 
Jude even got a ride!
A little can shootin'
The Birthday Girl!
This picture absolutely cracks me up! Rylie was the only girl who wanted to wear a mustache, and she totally rocked it! 
Reagan and her best girls!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sink Bath (Sunday Snapshot)

Jude has recently discovered our sand table on the deck....which he loves. And entertains him for a long time.

But every time he gets near it, the sand. Gets. Everywhere.

Even if he just plays for a minute, the first move is generally a big dump. Right on his head.

So, he's also been visiting the bathtub.

A lot.

Fortunately, he loves that too.

The other day, we were in a rush, so, being that he is still quite small, it was into the kitchen sink he went.

I don't yet have any pics of him at the sand table....but I did get a few of him getting cleaned up.

He's pretty much the cutest thing that's been near my sink in a while, if I do say so myself.

The afternoon sun in my kitchen is blinding by the sink, so given you pretty much need sunglasses, I think these turned out ok.

Ni Hao Yall

These were taken with my Canon Rebel T3 and my plain ol' 18-55mm kit lens. My settings were ISO 100, f 5.0, and shutter speed of 1/60. (Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a rush and would probably have changed these had I been thinking a little more clearly. Oh and learn. My picture-taking has so far to go.) I edited with a combination of Florabella's Clean Color and CoffeeShop's Velvet Peach.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jude's Adoption Video

I finally got around to making Jude's adoption video. Maybe one day I'll get around to adding him to the blog header!

Sorry the airport video at the end is pretty's the best I had!

Check it out!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


There's no theme to my blog post today....just a review of some of our week. We've spent a lot of time out in the yard. After neglecting it for quite some time in lieu of putting our time and money into our adoptions, it's been nice trying to get thing back in shape.

It's been hard work. 

The "big" kids have seemed to be at each other's throats. But there were a few moments of cooperation.

This kiddo still is rocking my socks off with his awesomeness. We've been home 4 weeks now, but it feels like he's always been here.

And today, Reagan scored her first goal!! Hooray! She was so proud!

That's about it! Like I said....random!