Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learning to just enjoy

So this holiday season has all the makings to be just plain stressful.  We are in the midst of moving!  We have bought a house in town and we close on December 21st...and yes my plan is to have Christmas morning in the new place!  So that means we have to amend our homestudy (our adoption paperwork) to reflect the new address, and then in turn have to update our paperwork with USCIS (US immigration).  And on top of that a bunch of our adoption paperwork is nearing the one year mark and has to be updated/redone so we're in the middle of that right now too.  Not to mention the normal hustle and bustle of buying gifts and parties and holiday travel.  Well, I found myself lying awake at night stressing out over the most incredible time of the year literally slipping by without Max getting to really experience all the things I wanted him to.  Max knows that we celebrate Christmas only because we were given the most incredible gift over 2000 years ago.  He knows its not all about the presents (although he does enjoy those!)  But there were so many fun things I wanted to do as a family this year that I was worried (I do that way too much...worrying) those things might get forgotten about or pushed aside amidst all the other "stuff".

So this year we made a Christmas count down chain (courtesy of our church's children's program who passed all the supplies out to the kids in class) and each day is marked with a fun activity or service project to make sure our family purposefully takes time out of each day to focus on showing Christ's love to as many people as we can while making awesome memories!  I was also sure to stick some things on there that are just fun traditions that I didn't want to miss.....if they're on the chain, then they HAVE to be done right??

I haven't laid awake one night since the chain went up :)  How ridiculous is that?!  But that's just the type of person I am, I stress about things I shouldn't stress about.  But, I'm so thankful to be making such incredible memories with my family, all while still accomplishing everything on my to-do list!!  Here's just a couple pictures from some of our fun events!
 We even have the 21st listed as "Moving Day!"
 Our annual ornament!  A family of four!!!

 This day's activity said to "Make a special Christmas picture".  Max chose to paint snowflakes!
 Skating Christmas party with our Family Life group at church!

 "Make a Christmas present for someone special".  Max painting an "E" to hang in Ellie's bedroom.  He is SO proud to be a big brother!!

Some of the other great things we've gotten to do "Make a donation to a charity", "Pray that this Christmas season would be all about Jesus", "Read a Christmas story before bed", "Have breakfast for dinner"

Some of the fun stuff coming up, "Have a picnic dinner in front of the Christmas tree", "Sing carols in the living room", "make hot chocolate and stir with candy canes", "Make a special treat for someone" (we are doing our mail carrier and our local fire/police department), and "decorate Christmas cookies."

This Saturday the three of us are also going to be bell ringers for the Salvation Army.  Max is SUPER excited.  He always LOVES to put change in the bucket but now he can hardly believe he gets to be the one to ring the bell and say "Merry Christmas!"  Hopefully it will be a great teaching opportunity on serving too!

I pray you all are having an awesome Christmas season.  We are busy, but still enjoying every minute of it!  And this crazy stressful move.....well its taking us to the home where we will make a room for the most beautiful little girl!!  So I really can't complain about that!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A whole lot of Thanks to be giving!!!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving in North Carolina this year!  We had a great time with Stephen's parents (as always!) and all daydreamed of next year when our sweet girl will be here with us!!! 

Last year when we were there at Christmas, Max planted his very own tree and he was soooo excited to see how much it had grown in the last year!

One thing Max had been talking about the last couple of weeks was how badly he wanted to bake an apple pie.  Not sure where he came up with this little idea, but anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not much of a pie maker :)  I'm great at keeping a clean house, I'm organized and always on time....but boy oh boy, my strength is NOT in the baking/cooking department!!!  So, grandma to the rescue!!!

On Friday, we went to an AMAZING place in Ashville called The Grove Park Inn to see a "ginger bread" display.  I put it in quotes because despite being reassured that everything in these creations was edible, I still can't quite believe it!!  These things were amazing!!! 

Just like when we were here last year at Christmas, Max made sure Grandpa marked the beam in the basement to show how much he's grown.  I know my little man isn't quite so little anymore, but holy moly, I didn't realize he had grown this much!

Hard to tell by the picture maybe, but its seriously like 4-5 inches!  He's getting so big!!!

And Max's face in this last picture sums up the whole weekend!

And now for the BEST time of the year!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A whole lot of fun!!

Well between a certain someone turning thirty around here and Halloween, we've been having all kinds of fun!!!  Max and Stephen whisked me off to Chicago this past weekend for all kinds of surprises!!  I was treated to shopping, a massage and pedicure, and a SUPER fancy night out on the town (Max stayed with his cousins) followed by an equally fancy brunch the next morning.  It was CRAZY!!!  If this is what turning thirty is like...I'll gladly do it a few more times :) 

  View from our room!!
 Heading out on the town!!
 Meson Sabika, the awesome place we had brunch!
Oh how I love this goof!

And of course I have to share picks of our cute little trick-or-treater!!  Max wanted to be a Texas A&M football player this year.  Pretty darn cute don't you think!?
Max is already soooo excited about taking Ellie out with us next year.  He's already declared that she will be a ballerina!  I kinda love that idea, so hopefully she'll be ok with it!! 

Can't believe its November 1st!  Thanksgiving in three weeks?!?!  Is that right???  I LOVE this time of year.  I am always a bit sad about how quickly it seems to fly by though.  I've already started making some of my Christmas gift in hopes of not feeling so stressed and just being able to enjoy my family and this AMAZING season!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2 years of awesomeness!!

I seriously remember October 15, 2010 with the most precise of detail, its crazy.  I remember the details of the room we waited in, I remember wiping the tears away as we watched Max walk across the parking lot of Pakkred Babies home towards us, I remember the sounds of the children playing as we toured the amazing place he had called home for three years.  I remember so clearly the feeling of finally holding my son in my arms.....of knowing that I would never have to let him go.  It was the most amazing day and in many ways it feels like I have blinked and two years have passed! 

But in these two years, our son has grown and changed in so many extraordinary ways!  He is still the same loving, tender-hearted, shy with strangers boy that he was that first day we met.  But he has also grown into a super goofy, crazy smart, energetic, sports obsessed five year old that we are head over heels for! 

We celebrated our forever family day with dinner out and bowling (something Max LOVES) and had a blast just being together.  Can't wait till we're celebrating our "Forever Days" as a family of four!!

Professional bowlers we are not :(

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Our new love....

Our hearts have been stolen!!  We have "met" our sweet Ellie Renee' and our heads are still spinning!  Max has been carrying her picture in his pocket since the morning we received the phone call!

Our sweet Ellie will be two on 2/2/13 and we should be traveling to bring her home in just 6 short months!.  She is perfect in every way and to say the three of us are in love is an under statement!  We sent her a care package as soon as we could with clothes, and a picture book we had made so she can start to get to know our faces.  We also got her this ridiculously cute stuffed bunny that let you record a message that plays every time she hugs it.  Well all kissed it as we placed it in the box :)

I haven't stopped smiling since we opened the email.....just like the day we first saw Max's picture!  This adoption journey is pretty amazing!  We are again so humbled that our great God has chosen us to be the parents of this incredible little girl.  We cannot wait to hold her in our arms!  Thank you all for your prayers and support through the first phase of waiting....and now as we journey to bringing our sweet girl home!!!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Celebrating Dad!

We have had SUCH a fun day celebrating Stephen's birthday!  Max LOVES birthdays....he loves his birthday, and he loves getting to be part of the surprise of other people's  birthdays.  He did a great job of picking out gifts, wrapping them, helping me make the cake, and then of course decorating it!  All the while, keeping everything a secret!

We woke Stephen up this morning with our customary "Hey its your birthday!" song, gave him his gifts and sent him on his way to work.  Max and I used the day to pack things up and then sprung him early and headed to Nashville!  We are treating him to a fun family weekend and its going to be great! We even kept it SUPER classy tonight....brought his cake with us and ate it straight out of the 9x13 in our hotel room :)  Making memories! Yay for an awesome Dad, and yay for birthdays!!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

E-I-U Go Big Blue!!!

Football season is in full swing on campus and we are loving it!  Fall is here and this is our favorite time of year!  At the game yesterday, Stephen's department was recognized during halftime for their super awesome hard work in raising $63,696,747 during their recent capital campaign.  Max kept saying "Dad's on the field Mom, Dad's on the field!!"  Afterwards, Max got to go down and run around as well.  Just another perk of living in a smaller college community and having a Dad who works for the school!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pre-k fun!!!

Why does this boy have to keep growing up?!?! Wednesday was his first day of pre-k and he was just a little but excited!!! Stephen and I are just thankful we have him home one more year before kindergarten! We had a great day and is already asking when he can go back!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The big 5!

Oh my, he's five folks!  What a day we had!  We got up early to make sure we got to wake Max up singing at the top of our lungs!
We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then Stephen had to head to work.  Max and I spent the morning doing fun things here at the house and then headed to lunch with dad!  We had lunch on campus with him (he works for Eastern Illinois University) which Max thinks is just the coolest place and then Max got a backstage tour of the football stadium from one of Stephen's friends who just so happens to be one of the coaches.  When we were walking in Max quietly asked "are we allowed to be here Mom ?!"  He got to go into the locker room and weight room and up into the victory suite.  He felt pretty important!
We had a Wii marathon in the afternoon (Max totally kicked my booty) and then Stephen cut out early from work to spend the evening with his boy.  Max picked his all time fave restaurant for his birthday dinner (Buffalo Wild Wings) so he could catch all the sports fun while he ate.
Then it was home for presents and cake and ice cream!!!  Max got to skype with Grandpa and Grandma while he opened his gifts from them and then he opened ours.

The bike is called a "co-pilot" and we're pretty excited about it.  Max is too big for a traditional children's bike seat or pull behind trailor, but he's not quite big enough to keep up with us on a long bike ride.  So this is the perfect solution!  He gets to "ride" his own bike but if he gets tired, he can stop pedaling and it doesn't affect Stephen's riding at all.  We're pumped to try it out!  The last picture is the present that Max is most excited about.  Of has to do with baseball!  Its a practice net for pitching and catching.  Perfect indoor/basement solution for a long winter without baseball!!!  Great idea dad!!

And then it was time for cake.  You guessed it...this year we went with a baseball theme!  Surprise, surprise!

It was SUCH a fun day!  Max kept saying "this is such a fun birthday guys!"  That makes a mama's heart glad!

I also wanted to post pictures from last week.  Max got a package in the mail all the way from Thailand, and to say he was excited would be a bit of an understatement :)  Max LOVES getting mail from Lek and Edmond, and Stephen and I LOVE that he gets to have such a special relationship with the two people that loved and cared for him so strongly for the three years before we were able to.  Lek and Edmond, you are amazing, and we are so blessed to have you in our lives!!!

Oh Max, I can't believe you're five!  You were supposed to stay little forever!  But, you are growing into an amazing young man and your dad and I are so proud!!!  Happy Birthday Max!!!