Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meet Seung Joo

I've been a mom of boys for almost 10 years and have my fair share of knowledge on pokemon, power rangers, ninjas, star wars, sports, boy jokes, burps (and other "things"), cars etc....I can definitely hold my own in a conversation on many things I never thought I would know about and how fun it is!!

But when I hear that our sweet daughter, Seung Joo, loves dresses and skirts, bags, hair accessories, necklaces and rings and dolls I can't help but feel EXCITED!

Meet Seung Joo - our DAUGHTER! 

She is four years old and is a tiny little peanut who just now fits into size 3T! Love love that!!  This picture was taken on her 4th birthday.

We pray we have her home while she is still four.  We likely have a wait ahead of us, but no one really knows for sure. It's all in the Korea side of things.  Our steps will be done on the US side of things in maybe 6ish weeks? 

Long (Loooooooong) story short, Korea's government limits the number of international adoptions each year and this year they cut the number by 10%.  Apparently they've run out of exit permits for the year already, so it's likely that Seung Joo will come home early next year.  But, there are some cases apparently where special "EP"'s are given, so my prayer request from you is specifically that Seung Joo would qualify for one of these because of her age.

A wonderfully sweet family I've met online brought their almost 3-yr old daughter home in only 7 weeks just a month ago before the "EP's" ran out.  We aren't expecting the same thing to happen, but gosh would it be amazing if we could get her home earlier than we're thinking it might be.

So the gathering of girly stuff begins and our heart continues to grow with love! We give the glory to God who led Seung Joo right to our family.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Finding the Way to our Daughter - Part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 

So then came the talk with the kids, because they are 9 1/2 and 6 1/2 and honestly, it's a family decision more than an individual decision. We sat them down individually and talked openly and honestly about how our lives would change.  Their lives would change.  And what that talk showed me is that many times, we should just live our lives with child-like excitement.

There was nothing but, Yes! Yes! Yes! Especially when we showed them video and pictures.  Double especially when they saw her playing with a Pikachu toy. ;)  They were head-over-heels in love instantly.  And we were, too.

AHHHH! Are we in love!!!

So what's she like?  She's a total girl.  (Yay!) From what we can see in the videos of her, she's as cute as a button with pig-tails and braids all of the time.  She loves jewelry and singing and coloring and tea parties. (Tea parties, people!) 

She's gone through one year of preschool so far and can do puzzles and coloring and even knows her A-B-C's.  She's a Hello Kitty fan, and if you've been in Target lately, you'll see just how big Hello Kitty is getting here, which is perfect timing, because we'll decorate her room in Hello Kitty style as a familiar fun for her.

And what I find so neat about this whole thing is how my heart has already started growing for her.  We've never even met, but I've memorized her laugh.  I've never held her hand, but I've stared at her sweet fingers enough to imagine what they feel like.  I've never combed her hair or braided it, but the shine that I see and the blackest of black hair -- I can't wait to be responsible for it.

In one video, she says in English, "I love you, I love you, I love you"  (to Hello Kitty) and I can only imagine hearing her say that to any member of our family.

The love has sprouted and it is growing so fast. We likely have a wait ahead of us, and that's another post for another time, but today we're celebrating the acceptance paperwork in the hands of the UPS people tonight heading over to the agency so they can get what they need off to Korea.  Soon we'll be packing up our first care package to her, introducing us to her.

We can not wait to start this ride to bring home our daughter.

Finding the Way to our Daughter - Part 3

Finding the Way to our Daughter - Part 1
Finding the Way to our Daughter - Part 2

Korea, as a whole in today's day and age rarely refers "Older Children" for adoption.  There are cases, but it's not common.  Typically the children are referred around at 5-7 months.  As a law, babies are only allowed for adoption for families in country for the babies first 5 months.  Once they hit 5 months, if they are not chosen by a Korean family, they are referred to a family waiting in another country.

If there is not a family open to whatever needs this child may have, they are put on a Waiting Child list - otherwise known as WIC.  Our agency has a few older children on their Korea WIC list, and I do remember asking our social worker about them way back when we decided to go with Korea's program.  She didn't know much other than they had been waiting for a long time and we were still so moved by her 'older child talk' that we figured there was a really big reason why they hadn't been adopted already.

But since we had come full circle in our inner debate on whether we wanted to go the traditional route and be referred a child the referral way or find an older child the WIC way, I found out who to call and just inquire.

Every inquiry I kept thinking...."What harm can it do, we're just waiting on a list anyway!"

After talking to the WIC lady, we narrowed down one of the girls that we'd like more info on and she said she had a BOOK of info on her.  (She wasn't lying.)  When you're talking about a country whose medical care is very similar to ours, you're sure to get up-to-date info and all the tests you could ever imagine.

After taking a few days to just digest it, Dave and I, we decided it was time to get some professional opinions, something that one always should do in adoption, regardless of the referral.  We started with one International Adoption Pediatrician who gave us a huge thorough review that was wonderful.  But, this little peanut did have some preemie birth concerns, so we wanted to do talk to more professionals.

The last month we've been digging, digging, digging -- talking to doctors in our local clinic, our local Children's Hospital and even UCLA -- just because they have an awesome adoption clinic there.  We talked to staff at our children's school, too!  Just because we wanted to make a fact-based decision.  (Though, can I be honest, it's almost impossible for me to make a fact-based opinion on something that his so heart-filled.)

My prayer was, "If this isn't right - close the door. Any door."  And can I just tell you that those doors just kept flying open! Open, open open!

We got some video of her multiple times in the past month and one other adoptive parent said to me, "When you watch them, do you feel like she's your daughter? Are you proud of the things she's doing? Do you get excited about them?"  And the honest answer is, yes! 100% yes!

But I also know that my heart can make everything OK, so I needed Dave's head to be OK, so after we get all of the info we could, we went out for Korean food ;) and just talked about everything.  Our family of 4 - our family of maybe 5 - the challenges ahead with possibly adopting an older child - what would the children think? How would she adjust to all of the changes in life?  Because she's not a baby or a toddler...she's 4 years old. Exactly 2 years 3 months younger than Miles and 5 years 5 months younger than Logan.

And then I started to see how what we were hoping for all along, a little girl around the age of 4 was suddenly at our reach.  One that we know about her past - her parents past - her medical care...there's nothing unknown.

Making a decision to permanently alter your family by adding a child - by adoption OR birth - is a hard decision sometimes.  And we didn't take it lightly, as I'm sure you didn't when you added another child to your family.

But after much (much!!) deliberation, we couldn't help but see that this sweet little girl was ours.  She was our daughter and our boy's sister.  And she was just waiting for us to realize it.  She has been waiting far too long, getting wonderfully cared for and loved where she is currently living, but it's time for her to come home!  And once we came to that final decision, all the indecisiveness has gone away.

We are 100% absolutely positively in love with this sweet little girl whom we haven't even met yet, but let me tell you, if we could hop on the first plane out of here to meet her, we'd be on it in a second.

Go to Part 4

Find the Way to our Daughter - Part 2

Did you see, we've been matched with a beautiful little girl!  Before you read this, head over to part 1 of our journey to finding our daughter.

So when you've already invested so much of your heart to adoption and realize that the options are so few and far between for who you thought was going to joining your family, it's not a good feeling.

But adoption has always been on our hearts and we knew we wanted to do it.  But did we want to do it so much so that we'd compromise what we thought best for our family?  That's where we were struggling.

I did research on older child adoptions (anything over 3 is considered "Older Child")  I looked at just about EVERY single waiting child photolisting website possible.  I said to Dave, "I think we need to just consider that our initial feelings of an older child IS best for us.  I think we need to consider that our social worker was talking broad term.  She doesn't KNOW us, know us.  She talked about older child adoptions and parents getting divorced - parents going on anti-depressants...lots of icky things.

But she doesn't know that we've been through a lot already in life and we've hung on.  She doesn't know that you were like rock-star dad for MONTHS when I was healing from Hellp.  She doesn't know that we survived like 3-4 years of Miles waking up 4+ times a night.  She doesn't know that we literally survived thee hardest baby/toddler/little kid in the world!  And surgeries, job changes, deaths, kids surgeries....we've not new to this sticking together through it all thing.

"We just need to consider that we know more about what's best for our family that the general assumptions."

And so, I spent the last month of the kid's school year with my nose in the computer and my ear to the phone.  I researched every single (and I mean EVERY single) country that was an option - even those that weren't options.

I watched "Rainbow Kids" (huge photolisting of waiting children) and inquired about a few children that were not from Korea.  I talked in depth to people working in the Haiti program, Uganda program, Congo program, Taiwan program, China program...I bet more, even, if I sat and made a list. I'm pretty much thinking that I could work in an agency today and answer all of the newbie questions I had. ;)

I was ready to jump the Korea ship if the right child with the right needs came along and we felt right about it.  Because I just knew in my heart of hearts that there was a child waiting for us.  And she wasn't going to be a baby.  And her birth year was going to be 2008 or 2007.  I just had to find her.

Who knew that God placed us in the Korea program for a reason....She was THERE! Waiting for US all along!

Go to Part 3

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Finding the Way to our Daughter - Part 1

I'm just going to preface that I'm not sure how many parts this will be. :)

When we started out on the adoption path, we were looking to adopt a little girl, no younger than 3.  We figured, with Logan being 9 and Miles 6, a 3-4-5 yr old would be perfect!
  • We wouldn't have to start buying diapers all over again. Um, hello! I don't think there is more to add.
  • One could pretty much assume that after a while for transition, the child could reasonably sleep through the night.  I need sleep. You know how you're one of those people who either needs a lot or a little?  I'm a 'it's past my bedtime if it's past 10:30' kind of people. Waking up at all hours is just hard on me.  I don't bounce back as good as my husband does.
  • I wouldn't have to join a play group again. And I  mean no disrespect to playgroup addicts, I promise. I was never good at them, myself.  All of the kids in one little living room always stressed me out.  ;)  And who, honestly, likes hosting them and having 12 little people trash their house?
  • Big plastic toys.  'nuff said.
  • But more importantly, the age difference between the kids.  I know there are SO many people who have spaced their kids far apart and are so happy doing so.  Back before we realized just how hard it was going to be to get pregnant, we wanted 2 children really close in age.  We got pregnant when Miles was 9 months, but we lost it, and it took us another 20 months to get pregnant again.  It was a bummer for us. (Silly, I know, but honest.)  We want our kids to be closer so they can grow up at the same level and go through relatively the same things together at the same time in life.
So, our unknowing selves marched into or social worker's office with a plan.  And she listened, did a lot of "huh's" and then knocked the wind out of us with her "older child adoption" talk.  Knocked.The.Wind.Out.Of.Us.  I can't even remember what she all said, but we left with full minds and a pretty silent car ride home.

The conversation almost made us change our mind on adoption in general.  She said we should consider the Korea program because the children come home as babies and have a much easier transition time.  (Just to note, with recent changes, babies do not come home as babies.  Many are coming home at 1 1/2 yrs old.)  We decided that we *could* change our life plan.  It *would* be OK.  I cried on the phone and in person to many of my friends in my careful consideration - would it be ok?  Should we adopt a baby?  Do we even want to do this if the only way is a baby?

But in the end, we decided we did, it would be OK and not only OK, but probably amazing.  Our boys would know love in a whole new light and they were over the moon with the idea of a baby.  Their joy in the baby idea helped my fear to go away and joy to set in, but no matter what I did, there was just this overwhelming thought if, "This isn't right."  and "This isn't right" turned into "This isn't going to happen."

Go to Part 2

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Family of 4 is Officially a Family of 5

Full details to come, but let's just say we're pretty much speechless over here and can't wait to welcome home our little girl!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Little Ugandan Silas

 Remember when I posted about my little Silas who we sponsor in Uganda?
(Who's name on his info has oddly now changed to Sylus? I'm thinking maybe they spelled it wrong to begin with and now that he's old enough to know better, he corrected them? Who knows?)

This first picture is the picture we picked off o the website.  Though thousands of miles away, he's a part of our family.  We rejoice when we get letters from him. (Like, "Woo-hoo!! Silas wrote us!! *skip, skip, jump jump* all before leaving the mail box.)

His picture is framed on our wall.  We feel lucky to have our little Silas (Sylus!) (And encourage you to find a little "Sylus" of your own!)  The change we saw in only half a year was incredible.  Our vacant-eyed, seemingly little 6 year old boy turned into a plump, smiley 7 year old.  I mean, for real? Is he not the cutest kid ever?

I got this silly sense of security knowing that he was getting cared for, going to school, learning about Jesus.  I knew his family was getting some extra assistance, and his siblings, though not able to be sponsored like Silas (typically only one per family) were still reaping some of the benefits of Silas' new life.  I sort of forgot just how Silas lived.  Lives.

But then, our newest picture of Silas arrived.  Silas is now 8.  If you think I jump and skip when he writes me, imagine what it's like when we get his yearly picture.  I was estatic.  How had my plump child changed?  Would he have some hair in this picture?  How about his smile?  What crazy outfit would he be wearing.  I yelled to Dave and the kids as my finger was opening the envelope, "We got Silas' new picture!!!"

And then I opened it.  And It wasn't excitement and oohing and ahhing, it was hard to see.  Sure, maybe he was just having an off day or a bad picture.  (I certainly have my fair share of those!)  But in my heart, I think it's more. 

I mean, look at his eyes.
Apparently you have to turn your head. Blogger won't let me turn this.

Sylus is in Uganda.  The reality of Uganda and being a child in Uganda is stomach-churning hard to read about. Here are some quick facts I found.
  • 40% of kids under age 5 are underweight including mild to severe
  • 38% of kids under age 5 have stunted growth due to malnourishment
  •  36% of kids are being used in child labor
  • 1 in 35 women die in child birth
  • Average life expectancy: 53
Aids is a big problem in Uganda. 
  • 1.2 Million people live with Aids
  • 150,000 of those are children
  • 64,000 people died of aids in 2009 alone
  • 1.2 million children have been orphaned by aids
I won't share Silas' personal life story, but it's a rough one.  And I think, looking at those eyes, he's not in this happy Compassion school 24-7! His life is full of hardness.  And I'm afraid for him.  I look at the picture and I see not the young child in the middle picture who is drunk with the newness of attention, both with food and love of the staff and the ability to be a kid in a tough world, but one that has seen more than I can fathom, likely, sitting on my cushy green couch imagining in.

But the one thing that scares me so much is the LRA: Lord's Resistance Army.  It's a terrorist group that kidnaps Ugandan children and turns them into child soldiers, keeping them purely by fear.  They steal these kids, some SO very very young, (I think I read age 5 and up) murder in front of them, make THEM murder their friends etc...and really, what happens to these children literally makes me sick.

It is reported that approximately 66,000 children have been kidnapped by the LRA.

I wonder, Silas is 8. Prime age for the LRA. Might he know someone who has been taken at night?  I pray Silas is safe each night and he feels the love that we send him from so far away.

I urge you to watch the documentary called: Invisible Children.  It's on You Tube and my computer is acting up, but here is the link to Part 1.  There are 6 parts, so if you search "Invisible Children Part 2" can watch the entire thing.  I was SHOCKED when I watched this.  I really think everyone should watch it.

And if you watch it, or if you have seen it before, put a comment in and tell me what you thought.  Specifically of the sleeping arrangements.  That footage is pretty much ingrained in my head forever.

And then, one more plea if you're not sponsoring a child.  Consider one in Uganda.  I know, there are many deserving kids ALL OVER that you could sponsor, but my little Silas' eyes are speaking to me.  I hope they are speaking to you, too.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Big day on Wednesday - our Fingerprinting Biometrics appointment at USCIS.  Here's a snapshot of the building's sign.  That's about as much as we could get because there are NO phones/camera/electronics allowed in the building.

You walk through security like the airport and and instructed to turn off anything (before you walk through), so here is the picture we got before we walked in the doors.

Our appointment was at 9am, and we got there at 8:40 or so.  We were given a form and a buzzer and were told to head upstairs to wait for the buzzer to buzz. There were about 20 or so people upstairs waiting, and the conversations in different languages were so neat to listen to. 

There is a security guard sitting at a desk in the corner watching everyone.  Framed pictures of the flag and Obama on the walls.  In walks the woman who starts knocking on a door on one side of the room and the security guard starts asking her (loudly) to stop and come seem him.  She lost it!  She started yelling at him explaining "she had a job to do" and was being held back from that.  He slowly walked towards her, but their conversation was loud and caught everyone.

I think she was a translator or something and she was looking for her client, but he didn't see the clients name on any record for the day.  She was RUDE and he said, "You don't need to interrupt everyone else with your antics" and then told her to SIT.DOWN. ha! She did! And was still grumbling.  She got up and walked over to the suggestion/comment box and Dave was so tempted to go too, writing, "Whatever that crazy lady said is just not true." ;) 

Our buzzers went off at exactly 9am.  We walked downstairs and I was sent to one machine and Dave to another.  They scanned my four fingers at once and then my thumb.  Then they did rolling prints of all of the fingers.  I have to say, it was really neat to see your prints so close!  Dave's technician was a talker...mine, not a word.  Not a word.  There's me, chatting, "So neat! Wow...check those out...yada yada" and he just went to work and ignored me. haha! 

After one print was denied, we redid it and off we went, done!  I saw this sign on the door when we left and thought it was pretty cool.

So not exiting, except for the yelling lady.  In and out!  Now we wait to hear that they passed and we're offically I600a approved.  That means that our country has approved us an a pre-adoptive family.  Lots of hoops to jump through to get that approval, so it's a celebration when it happens!

Then, we wait for our referral and start the next phase...I600, which approves the CHILD for adoption.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My brownie's secret ingredient

Miles has been talking about dessert for the longest time.  "Mom, you neeeeeeever let me have dessert!"  Apparently Popsicles don't count.  And I tell him that I never make dessert because after day one, I am the only one who eats it. (And eats it, and eats it.)  And these thighs don't need any more desserts.

I can have a bowl full of candy on my desk all day and won't be tempted.  But throw something cake-y or chocolately anywhere in my home and I'll make a million excuses why it's OK to just eat another...and another...and...well, you get it. (Slivers don't count, do they? Or dry corners?)

After seeing the Nutella commercial a bunch of times, my kids were dying to try it.  But when I brought home the tub and they saw it, they wanted nothing to do with it. Miles, the dessert loving boy after my own heart took a tiny lick off a spoon and about spit it out of his mouth.  Crazy kid!  Logan wouldn't even think about it after that. And because I'm not really sure what one does with Nutella, it has been sitting in my cupboard for a few months. (I am not seeing the yum-factor of Nutella on toast.)

A recipe for Nutella brownies was circling my facebook page last week and it only calls for three ingredients: Nutella (1/2 Cup), 1 egg and flour (5 Tablespoons). (And hazelnuts, if you'd like, for the top.)  While I was making supper last night, I thought, what the heck! Nutella brownies it is!  And I whipped them up and put them into a mini cupcake pan (makes 12) and into the oven in no time flat (350 - 10-11 minutes). 

Imagine Miles' surprise to get fresh, warm, oooy-gooy brownies after dinner.

But, knowing that the main ingredient was nutella, I was so curious of what they were going to think of them.  I need not have feared. There were no complaints.

This is a PERFECT recipe for kids to help with. In fact, next time, I may let Logan make them all by himself.  Though, he'd know there was Nutella in them....hmm...

And I wanted to thank those who commented and left me emails or phone calls after my post of adoption thoughts.  It all makes so much sense.  I remember finding out I was pregnant with Logan only 4 months after getting married and thought, "Noo! Too soon!" But it was perfect timing. I remember sitting there with Logan, just 3 and looked at my very pregnant belly and thought, "Noo! I don't want change! Life is SO good right now!"  And, again, it was perfect timing.  It's hard to look at the unknown and embrace it, but I'm going to try my hardest to do so. 

Blessed by caring friends, I very much am...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

If I only knew the risks...a reflection on adoption to date.

Can I be honest right now.  The past week or so, I've been having cold feet about the entire adoption process.  This is a total "spill it all" post, so you're going to read a bit of our honest fears and thoughts, which isn't easy, but necessary for me to just get it out there.  Especially when the question is always, "How's the adoption going?" 

Did you know that international adoption isn't easy. (well, I'd be willing to bet domestic, too) And when I say "isn't easy", I don't mean that lightly.  The process isn't hugely difficult.  You have to be open to having your life gone through with a fine-tooth comb, which we didn't entirely enjoy.  You have to fill out a million forms and ask people to support you.  Visit your bank, your insurance provider and your HR rep to verify you're in good standings and write out a bunch of checks.  Homeland Security has to ensure you're a "good person", too.

All of that is understandable, but here's my issue - all programs...I'm pretty much thinking everyone not the right one for us.  In fact, many (many!) countries are closed currently.  I say we missed our opportunity by a few years.  The countries that are open are mainly open for special needs. 

Special needs can be anything from a missing finger or limb to spinal bifida to autism to blindness or deafness to well, so many things.  There are some really major needs and some pretty minor needs, but needs none the less. And thank God for those families with hearts wide open to those needs! I've been so blessed to read so many amazing families with open hearts to the biggest range of needs available!

And if you find a country that is open to adoption on NON-special needs kids (which right now, isn't easy to find.)  you're also looking at other issues - prenatal exposure to alcohol, for example.  And then, you have to worry about what life is like currently for that child and if that child will be able to attach to you.

And attachment is a whole topic in and of itself.  There are so many things people look at, like was the child in foster or an orphanage, did they bond once before? Were they moved around so many times that they never got the chance to bond, was their orphanage short on care takers so much that they didn't ever get the chance to know what it was to bond to an adult.

Add in the fears of older child adoption, where SOOOOO many online things say that the child is never going to be happy or adjust and he/she is going to eventually hate you. (my words). It's enough to scare you right out of the game instantly!!

And then, there's timeframe.  We're in the S. Korea program, and we'd most likely be getting a referral of a 5-7mo old. (Which has been a big compromise for me because I"m not certain about the age difference between Logan and Miles and the new child.)  Korea is trying to encourage domestic adoption and stop international adoption, so they've put a quota on the number of kids that will be able to leave Korea each year.  It's already been hit for the year.  So, people are looking now at 14 months post referral to travel for the one that used to be 11 months, and remember the one that said 2-4 months? Now at 9-10 months.  So that baby...not going to be a baby. Though we're open to an older child adoption from S. Korea as well. 

And then I add in the fact that I am blessed currently. HAPPY and blessed and have wonderful kids.  Do I really want to wait until 2013 to add to my family?  And what will it be like when I have an 8 and 11 year old?  Life will be even easier.

And so I'm acknowledging these feelings and if you've been down the road, I'd appreciate encouragement, but not the "adoption isn't for the feint of heart, because my heart is something I'm struggling with already...." I'll be honest and say it would be easy to just chalk up the time and $$ already spent as personal growth for Dave and my marriage. (Cause it has been!) and move out of this role.

But then, while doing some research, I came across this wonderful statement from someone that touched on the fears...

  • If I would have only known the risks that could have come out of marriage, would I have gotten married?
  • If I would have only known when I was 16 how many people die each year from car accidents, would I have gotten my liscense?
  • If I would have only known how many medical issues my kids could have had, would I have even had kids?
  • Or if I would have known how many women die giving birth, would I have risked my life?
  • What about every time I get on an airplane? 
And so, we keep walking ahead, admitting our fears and talking about them. Something that Dave and I are acknowledging as a couple:
  • Just because you want to get pregnant does not mean you will be able to get pregnant. 
  • Just because you get pregnant does not mean you will have a baby. 
  • Just because you want to adopt does not mean that there will be a child adopted into your family.
And that's just something that we're being honest about.  And I'll touch on my faith side of this, too.  I know that doors will open that God wants to open and doors will close that God wants to close.  I don't know if adoption is God's goal in all of this. But I know He's directing the show and we're following His lead, faithfully.


I think it's so good that I was honest and put this post up, and guess what? Your posts back to me were so beneficial.  I can tell you it was a moment of cold feet.  A being honest and admitting my fear.  And as Brett so perfectly put, I over it already!!  I'm not afraid - I think I needed to just purge these feelings so I could move on to the next feelings.

I'm still not 100% positive what the outcome of this process will be - where will this road take us, but I do know that every part of it has been beneficial to date.  Our marriage, though always strong, has gotten stronger.  I feel now more than ever that my husband has "got my back", so to say.  Our adoption circle in real life is so small that I don't have anyone in real life to talk about these fears, and so, I wrote them, and the amazing internet responded.  Thank you, to those of you who did.

Now, let's get on with this adoption process, shall we!? ;)

Family Fun!

Last weekend we had so much family fun. The weather finally warmed up and we were able to just connect. Dave and I were able to go out and have a nice dinner and alone time without the kids. We were home before 10pm, but that's ok. ;)

Weren't the ducks so nice to pose for us? ;)
We went downtown and visited lots of cute stores.  We stepped into this amazing bookstore and we were only in for 2 minutes before the employee hung the closed sign. Big bummer.
If Dave sees this, he'll be all, "Really? You put a picture of me from the bookstore up?" yes Dave, yes I did. ;)
Then we had our first family bonfire of the year.  The kids had so much fun making s'mores and just burning down their sticks. It's the little things - I truly believe that.
And this picture, the kids couldn't stop laughing at.  Their 'inner evil' showing through in their eyes.
Working on some potentially exciting things in the adoption world.  Positive thoughts and prayers are welcomed as we keep putting one foot in front of another!