Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful for a GREAT Thanksgiving

We had a great time in Baker celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. It is so nice to be with in driving distance of family so we can be together on important days such as this. Until moving to Boise I had not been home for Thanksgiving since High School. I love my family's Thanksgiving traditions. We always start out the day with a huge and delicious brunch. This is often followed by watching football, playing games, visiting, watching movies, etc. In the afternoon we break out all of our favorite appetizers (7 layer dip, Texas Caviar, brie cheese and crackers). Then it is back to more of whatever we were doing. We finally eat dinner around 7, or whenever everything is cooked to perfection. It is a little crazy getting everything done at the same time even with a double oven and a roaster. My mom makes the best homemade rolls, corn casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy, brussle sprouts, stuffing, salad, and of course prime rib and turkey. Dessert doest not happen until at least 9 or so.
I have always helped my mom prepare the meal, but this year I decided I was going to learn how to do the turkey myself. My family members are not big turkey eaters as they always cook a huge prime rib and a tiny turkey. So, I decided to do an Emeril turkey, and it turned out great. I brined it all night and then totally rubbed and stuffed butter and herbs everywhere possible. I had to flip it and baste it- what fun! I think I could even cook a turkey with out my mom, now I just have to master the prime rib next year!
My kids enjoyed time with their cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great grandfather. They also LOVED going up into the mountains and 4-wheeling. We even squeezed in a couple of games of Uno Attack and baked a ton of Christmas cookies. It was so nice to have a few days off and be able to enjoy some time together before the holiday rush begins!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Grandparent's Day

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Grandparent's Day at school. My kiddos are so excited as my parents are driving over from Baker to be here for this 30 minute event. I tried to talk them out of coming, but they totally insisted on making the trip even on such a busy travel day.
So, this post is dedicated to my parents known as "Grandma Kiki" and "Papa". I am so thankful for them and all that they do for our family. The are the best grandparents to my children that I could ask for. They truly love my children unconditionally, and for that I am thankful. More than anything that I appreciate about them is the way they both love the Lord and exhibit that love to my children. It is obvious in everything that they both do that they are true servants of Christ. If ever I or someone in the family have a problem or struggle the first person I call is my mom. I know that she and my dad will be down on their knees in prayer.
I appreciate the fact that my parents have their priorities straight. They both have very full plates with a teenage son they are doing a fabulous job of raising, full time jobs, and my Grandfather to care for. Thank you for always making our family a priority! Thank you for the sacrifices that you make for us!
My kids are also very blessed to have another set of wonderful grandparents. The miles keep us apart, but I am also very thankful they care for my kids as well.

Monday, November 5, 2007

And We Became Family

About this time three years ago we became a family! It is so crazy that it has only been three years-it seems like we have been together forever! It is so awesome how God brought us together!
So here is our adoptions story:
After a long road of unsuccessful infertility Doug and I decided to go the adoption route. We were both pretty ignorant in the area of adoption so it was pretty scary at first. The only adoptions we were really familiar with were international adoptions, so of course that is what we were going for at first. So, Doug started getting info. from a million agencies online. One night we just spread them out on our living room floor and prayed that God would show us what agency to use. We chose a little agency in Akron, Ohio called A Child's Waiting, because they did all types of adoptions and we still weren't sure what we were doing.
So, a few weeks later we had to travel to Akron for two weekends for an adoption seminar. As we drove the two and a half hour drive we were still unsure if we picked the right agency, but our God is so good! Barbara Walters was there doing a special on our little agency. The training was pretty eye opening to say the least. We were now pretty sure we were going to do the type of adoption where the birth mother (usually a teenager) picks the family. On the last day of our training they showed a video of siblings and how they are often separated. Needless to say our hearts were broken. As we walked to the parking garage that afternoon we didn't say much, but we both knew exactly what kind of adoption we were going to do-SIBLING!
So, the process started a Home study-Whew that was fun! A 25 page document about Doug and I! After a couple of months all of our paper work was done and they started sending our Home study out on different sib. groups we were interested in. They would call us and say you have two hours to make a decision on this group and we wouldn't hear anything for weeks! It was really hard! We said no many times to sib. groups, and got our hearts broken a few times in the process. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster!
During one of those really down and broken hearted times I remember our agency contacting us and having us look at a picture of three little ones in Oregon. (It was so crazy that they were in OR as I was born and raised there!) They were 3 year old twin boy, girl, and their 6 year old brother. The minute I saw the picture of all three of them sitting in an old rocking chair I fell in love with them. We talked to the foster mom that they they had been with since the twins were born and she had nothing but great things to say about them. They were much older then what we were interested in, but I just couldn't get them off my mind. Doug was still very cautious, but I was totally into them! We were one of a thousand people that put our Home study in on this group. After what seemed like an eternity we were selected to be part of the final group of three families. During this whole process our agency was still sending our info. out so we had to keep deciding if we wanted to be in the process for other kids-it was crazy!
So, the big day Oct. 5th came, and of course Doug had a meeting so I sat at home waiting for the phone to ring. It finally did AND we found out we were going to be parents!!!!!! I can not tell you the excitement and thankfulness that Doug and I felt!
The next 20 days were filled with a lot of planning and shopping! Imagine going from 0 to 3! I can remember going to Target the first time and our total was over $800! That was just one of our trips! The kids received our scrapbook and video and were told we were their forever family. (Their Foster Mom told us they watched the video about 20 times a day. We also were able to talk to them on the phone everyday. We were "Mom" and "Dad" from the beginning.
On Oct. 25th we flew from our home in Ohio to Oregon to meet our babies! I can remember driving up to Sandy's house (foster mom) and seeing two little noses stuck to the window. I guess they had been standing their forever waiting for us. This may sound crazy but the minute I held them in my arms it just felt right, natural, and like we'd always been together. About an hour later Trev's bus arrived, and he jumped right off the bus into my arms yelling, "Mom!" It was amazing!
We spent the next week in Portland getting to know each other and having a BLAST! We were able to experience so many "firsts" together. We were then able to take the kids to Baker, OR where my family lives and spend 4 days with them. The kids again experienced so many firsts like 4-wheeling, horseback riding, sporting activities, etc. My whole family absolutely fell head over heals in love with them. When we left Baker my mom, "Grandma Kiki" asked Trev what was the best part of the week? He answered, "Best part of the week this is the best week of my life!"
Well, the rest is history! God truly put us together to be a Forever Family! It is so obvious everyday that we were meant to be together. I honestly feel like the most blessed woman ever to have three such amazing kids! They are truly my precious gifts from God, and I honestly thank Him everyday for allowing me to be their mother. Every painful minute of infertility and adoption was erased the minute we were together!
Oh yeah- their Dad is not too bad himself! I am not sure if we would recommend the 0 to 3 thing to anyone, but we would definitely do it all over again! Even though Doug almost died in the adjustment process. We became a family in November and in January Doug got mono REALLY bad. He was extremely ill for nearly 6 months. I guess this is when God showed me what being a single mother was all about. Parenting is much easier and enjoyable as a team!
Whew! That was a long and emotional post!!!