Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday fun!

We are LOVING Ellie's first Christmas season home!  We've created a "Countdown to Christmas" that began the day after Thanksgiving and each day we've had a fun family activity!  We've been making cookies, putting up and decorating the tree, looking at lights around town, donating toys, surprising neighbors and strangers with small Christmas gifts...its been great!  We even got a TON of snow to really make it feel like Christmas :)  Ellie was hesitant for the first few minutes but quickly saw how much fun Max was having!  Her favorite thing by far is the sled! 

Our girl is growing in so many ways!  She is so full of joy and seems so secure these days.  Its an amazing things to witness...your child really finding their place in your family.  What an incredible blessing God chose us to walk this amazing journey of adoption....twice!

 All bundled up for the first time :)

The cutest tree helpers!

 More icing covered fingers were licked then the actual house decorated, but we had a great time!

Her smile says it all!

Our annual ornaments!  This year, Ellie picked out her own...the way it SHOULD be!!

The kids retelling the nativity story using their own manger scene.  Ellie plays with it all day long, she loves it!

 The best cookie bakers ever!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rock star patient!

I am a couple weeks late in posting this :(  but I wanted to be sure to get it down for posterity!  Ellie had her surgery on her eye muscles on November 7th and she did amazing!  Her poor little eyes looked HORRIBLE for a good week, but other than that she bounced back the next day as if nothing ever happened!  The doctor says it will take about three months to really know if the surgery "worked" so we'll see.  We've notice her eyes aren't crossing like they used to, but we also notice she's still having a difficult time seeing certain things.  Hopefully as the weeks pass her vision will get better and better, that's our prayer!!

Seriously, the cutest patient EVER!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

3 years of awesomeness!!

I LOVE Forever Family Days!  Yesterday we celebrated Max's third!!  In years past we spent the whole day celebrating, but this year with Max being in school it kinda cramped our style a bit :)  Max (of course!) chose Thai for dinner and originally or plans were to head over to a carnival that EIU was hosting for homecoming week....unfortunately little sister had other plans and just couldn't get a handle on her tantrums :(  Max was so gracious and opted for ice cream sundaes and a Wii tournament at home instead.  I love how understanding and adaptable he is.  So few things bother him, he's just a chill guy!  I could use to take a few pointers from him :)

These last three years have flown by and I still can't believe how blessed we are to be a part of Max's life.  He is the most amazing (not so) little guy and we are so excited to see what his future holds.  God has already begun some amazing work in his heart and we pray he continues to run hard after Him as he grows up!

Yummy Thai food!!

Yeah, we're pretty goofy around here!

LOVE this boy sooo much!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Life in pictures

Ugh, I hate how crummy I've become about blogging.  You know its bad when your hubby asks if you've given up on it completely :(  I just can't believe how quickly each day passes lately.  Ellie has been home three months today!  How did that happen?  So, to achieve maximum "catching up-ness" I present "our life in pictures"!  Enjoy!

 Anyone experienced the craziness of colored bubbles?  Ellie kept saying "uh-oh!" each time they popped on her, but as you can see....she LOVED it!!

First EIU home football game of the season.  Ellie LOVED her first game! 

Keeping in touch with Daddy while he's on the road for work!

And then welcoming him home!!

Max in his studly new glasses.  Ugh, he's growing up too fast!

Fun at the park!

E's first haircut at home....done by mommy!

Ok, I feel a little better :)  Now back to our busy life!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Birthday boy!

Our handsome boy turned 6 yesterday!  SIX!  What in the world is going on?!  Its as if time is flying by faster by the day!  The last six months have really brought a change in Max....I think bringing Ellie home has a lot to do with that.  He's more responsible, patient, compassionate....so much like a young man rather a little boy.  His face is changing too...and his legs are so long!  He's carrying on conversations with Stephen and I that sometimes blow me away! 

Kindergarten is going SO well, he loves being there!  I volunteered in his classroom this week and we are so blessed Max has the teacher he does.  She's wonderful and I think he's in for a fantastic year!

Now, onto the birthday fun!

 Early morning birthday breakfast before school....donuts!! 

 Stephen surprised Max at school and brought cupcakes to celebrate!!

Time for presents!

 Lek and Edmond gave Max a Nintendo DS when we celebrated his birthday with them in Thailand.  He LOVES playing it and new games were top on his wish list!

Four wheeled scooter!!

Trying it out!

Birthday dinner!

 Time for cake!

Max approves!

It was a great day, celebrating an incredible boy.  Praying for lots of opportunities to slow down and enjoy each moment of this next year!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Catching up

So turns out having two kiddos running around the house can keep a mama pretty busy!!  I was browsing through some blogs that I love to follow when it occurred to me that I haven't posted in forever! 

Ellie is doing really well.  Every day brings new things to learn and love about her and she is bonding really well with all of us.  She's super adventurous and keeps up with her big brother just fine :)  They have started playing together more and more and Max is super patient explaining to her how to "play pretend".  Ellie's not big on sitting in one place for more than a second or two so seeing the two of them sitting playing "store" with the toy cash register last night for 15 minutes was a sweet moment!

Here's our recent family fun in pictures!

 A fun family day at the Children's Museum in Normal, IL

School close shopping!  My word, this little man is growing up WAY too fast!!

Ellie is a CRAZY sleeper!  She ends up everywhere except the place she started in the night before :)

Ellie's first go kart ride!  Despite the initial look of terror on the first lap, she LOVED it! 

 Max is so big, he got to drive his own go kart!  Isn't he just the cutest thing!

 Bowling for the first time!!

Picture from our first Sunday back at church!  It was SO great to worship with our church family holding onto my baby girl!

Having fun with the cousins!  E's dress is just a tad too big :)

Bumming around Home Depot

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Just hanging out

Well we've been home a week and its been quiet.  Ellie is certainly feeling more comfortable with everything and we've settled into a great routine.  So far we've kept things just the four of us but I think this week we'll try a small play date or two and see how things go.  I'm missing my wonderful friends and I'm sure Ellie will love getting to know some more kiddos.  Here are some pics from our lazy week.

Getting all checked out at the doctor's!

 Playing at the park!

SO in love with these two!

Playing dress up!

 "Baking" cookies

Ellie loves to play with this pie/sorting toy she got!

Today Max and I got some special time together and went to the movies and Ellie and Daddy got to hang out.  It was great for all four of us and I'm sure we'll have many more "date days" in our future!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Welcome home!!!

Just like with Max, our small gathering of family and closest friends welcoming Ellie home was something I was most looking forward to!!!  We took the Amtrak down from Chicago and they were all there to greet us at the train station!  It was so emotional to see everyone there (well almost everyone, we were missing Uncle Ryan and Aunt 'Ginia but we were able to face time with them and we felt there love 100%)!  Even the man from Amtrak who helped us with our bags off the train got teary eyed!!

Ellie was quiet and took it all in, just like her brother almost three years ago.  Our sweet friend Joey (who has an amazing talent and a photography business) took pictures for us and once I get those I'll be sure to post them.  These great photos are from Stephen's dad who also has quiet a talent.

The back of everyone's shirt said something (Mom, Aunt Rae Rae, Grandma, etc).  Hattie and Ellie are the only girls on my side so her shirt said "future BFF" on the back :)

After the train station we headed back to the house for lunch and a little "welcome home/belated birthday" party.

 Ellie's Aunt Rae Rae is so crazy talented!  She whipped this up with just some paper and a couple markers!

 Holly, the sweet girl who watches Max for us made these DELICIOUS cupcakes for the party!

Ellie got the hang of opening presents real quick :)  And she LOVED the wings Max picked out for her!

It was a perfect day and the perfect way to welcome Ellie home!  Now we are slowly making our way back into reality....back into laundry and dishes and the mundane to-do's of daily life.  But there's a new peace in it.  She's here....she's finally here!  As I'm typing this post she's munching on her breakfast across from me making silly faces and things just feel right!  God has blessed us SO abundantly!!!