Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Gathering

We gathered our clothes and painted our toes
 Snuggled with teddy so we'd be rested and ready
 Took over a wing at the Embassy Suites so there was plenty of room for the four families meet and greets!
We shopped ourselves silly and left in disguise then wondered just how we'd pack our fabulous buys!
Game time and bedtime all rolled up in one, the cruise hadn't started but we were having so much fun! 
In our sunday best we gathered our girls, they were so cute, all smiles and twirls
 We headed to church our boys hoping to "mingle" but we ended up at a branch of only adults who are single!
Orlando was cool but we were ready to bail, on Monday the Carnival Ecstasy was setting sail!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Let this be fair warning to any and all readers: You are about to be sick of seeing these faces!
We got back Sunday from cruising the Bahamian Islands with these four families and had an absolute blast.  I will be posting one million pictures shortly.
 We decided it was more of a trip than a vacation and that we definitely still need to do some adults only trips, but there was nothing better than seeing my kids experience so many fun things and enjoy themselves so thoroughly!
 Get ready to set sail on the photo overload express!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Little Adventure

 One Friday morning not too long ago the five of us headed off to Yosemite for a little adventure. 
While Kirsten and I have done this trip a few times, we were clearly not paying enough attention. Turns  out that finding things like the right parking lot, restrooms, and even the trail head can be a bit of an adventure. 
 We were ready for something challenging, so hiking in the blazing hot sun up the switchbacks to Yosemite Point was totally no big deal.  So was staying ahead of the sweet stinking Austrians who were half our age.
Charisse says we needed a little bit of danger to keep things exciting, so we totally disregarded this sign and decided that counts.
 And if it didn't then me scrambling down the rocks underneath this bridge to retrieve my camera battery seemed to fall under the dangerous category as far as my friends were concerned, so we definitely had that base covered.
 So what that Kirsten and I led our group right past our super cool favorite lunch spot thinking that it was at the end of the trail when it totally wasn't. It was that one we passed a little over a mile back, but really it was better because those young Austrians finally caught up with us again.  This worked to our advantage because they were completely willing to be our paparazzi for a minute.  It was also good because we were probably making them feel bad that a bunch of women maybe almost twice their age were totally beating them up the hill.  If they felt bad about this they might not look back at their time here very fondly and may never want to come back.  This just wouldn't be good for US tourism, so we decided to take one for the team and go ahead and let them beat us down the hill. At least that's our story and we're sticking to it!
 Besides we still needed to stop at our super cool lunch spot even though we had already eaten our lunch on the top of the world.  
 It might have looked a bit sketchy coming down and may or may not have had some people a little nervous and considering not coming, but in the end we made it. The view would have been way better if all that darn smoke from a nearby fire wasn't in the way, but still everyone agreed, it was super cool.
 We all also agreed that Tiff's dad probably shouldn't see this picture of his daughter sitting on the edge of this cliff with just a few metal bars to stop her from falling.  She was already living dangerously just coming on the hike!
And the danger continued as she spotted a blond bear as we were leaving the park.  At least she was pretty sure it was a blond bear. Sure enough to climb up on her seat and clap her hands like a little monkey.  Not that any of us could verify the sighting, our research was a bit inconclusive.   
There were a few other things that might have required verification as well. Like whether or not you can feel someone lick the back of your elbow, the 12 miles we for sure hiked and whether or not El Sids sour cream really is delicate. But whatever, we wore our dirt tans on our ankles proudly and called the day a complete success!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Chaos That is My Life

Last weekend all these kids and a few adults just showed up at the house ready to work.  I was ready for the help! We had just 2 more days to pack up the house.
Jeff had been working on a trial for the three weeks that we were moving and he had been working until late into the night every night. He was hardly home and definitely didn't have time to help with the move.
We had two huge yard sales two Saturdays in a row and sold SO MUCH STUFF!
It was crazy and exhausting but totally worth it.
Monday morning I walked through the rooms of our home for the last time and then locked the door.  It was a little difficult to close it knowing I wouldn't ever be there again. I don't know why I was so sentimental over it. We are ready for this next chapter.
It was really nice to know though that all of our stuff would be under one roof again. The previous week when we had moved just furniture and everything else including clothes was still at the other house, Garrett got out of the shower early one morning only to realize he had nothing to put on! He came in to my room and asked for a ride to the old house. I stumbled out of bed followed him out the door.  When we were in the front yard finally I noticed he wasn't wearing anything but a towel! I snapped a picture of him because I thought it was so funny. He didn't know what was taking me so long and gave me an exasperated hurry up, "Mom...hello...naked...?" 
The house is coming along nicely. All the granite counter tops in the kitchen laundry room and bathrooms are in.
My kitchen sink arrived even better in person than what I could see online
I found a copper hood that would work above the stove, and was even able to choose a different pattern for the design on the front of it.  It's on its way still.
My mom and dad's bathroom isn't quite done yet. the showers are almost done, then the floor goes in, then they can put in the toilet, and then all the workers will be done traipsing in and out of the room and my mom will be okay to bring in all of her furniture and belongings.
The other bathroom downs stairs is just waiting on the shower to be finished as well, but the floors are already in.
My sunroom that was once a balcony was just a little further along than this last saturday but they put that project on hold because I had a more pressing matter.
We finally figured out a solution to the small closet space in the master bedroom and they guys started construction on the new closet last Saturday.
Right above the entry on the same day as we were trying to wrap up our move. It was nuts but couldn't really be avoided.
With of all these rooms being in various stages of construction and all of the things that belong in the rooms being displaced and scattered around the house, there was nowhere to put the stuff from the old house.  I don't think I could have gotten the move done without all the help I had on Friday night, but with that many helping hands there was no way to really direct where to put everything.
 The result was pure chaos. Boxes covering almost every inch of flooring in most rooms.  There was still no water anywhere downstairs and no stove no dishwasher, so we were on week three of strictly  eating out.
 The back patio was covered in projects from various subs plus all of the furniture my mom still needs to stain.
 My moms clothes were still in her old closet up stairs because her closet wasn't quite finished as well as all of her stuff in the bathroom because that isn't working yet either.  My stuff covered the game room .
 And by the time we finished, I had just a small walkway through my bedroom.  Things stayed like this most of the week as we have all been pulled in various directions.  Anyone who really knows me knows what torture this was for me.  I'm the girl who doesn't go bed with a dish still in the sink or socks on the floor.  I just can't relax when I know there's a mess I'll be responsible for later.  I hate starting the next day off behind.  But I lived through this mess for several days! Pretty much a miracle.  My room looks much better now. The kitchen looks even worse because we've been trying to get through all the boxes.  The showers were grouted today, and my closet will be completely finished by the weekend and my sunroom by next week.  We now have sinks that work downstairs and a stove and dishwasher.  We can function and there is light at the end of the tunnel.  But I'm not gonna lie, its sooooo nice to be sleeping in a hotel bed in a spotlessly clean room in St George Utah tonight!  I'll be back to the mess on Sunday.  Until then I'm going to relish in this empty room!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jens and Moms

There is something infinite and incredible about the love between a mother and a child.
It doesn't matter if your job is to give them life or raise them or both, that love is the same.  There is also  a different kind of infinite love and gratitude between birth mothers and adoptive mothers. Gratitude for the gift of a child, and blessing of a family. There are no words to define the love I have for Nancy and the for the mother she is to my son. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the bond that they share and knowing that the sacrifice was worth it.  There are also no words to describe to gratitude I feel for the opportunity to know my son and to be so much a part of his life now.  It has been almost three years since I got to hold that boy in my arms for the first time after 18 years of separation, yet I still marvel at times that it's real.  That I really get to know him and love him.  I have Nan to thank for that.  For the way she raised him for the way she loves him, for her security in her relationship with him,  and for her love for me. They are some of the greatest blessings in my life.
 This weekend Devany invited me to come be a part of her first time meeting her birth mom. Her name is Jenn and she is beautiful. I know it shouldn't come as a total surprise how much these two look a like but still, it gave me goosebumps! Jenn is smart and determined with a dry sense of humor. She is so real and down to earth.  She brought her 4 month old daughter Meghan, who is almost an exact replica of Devany at that age, and her 6 year old daughter who just happens to be named Devan! They are the cutest little bugs. But the coolest thing was watching Devany with her little sisters, and with her birth mom and remembering so well my first couple of days with Carter.  My heart is soo full for both of them and the journey they are starting on as they get to know each other.  
I was honored to be a part of this special time for them. I am grateful for my connection to them. My life has been so richly blessed through the sacrifice and gift of adoption.